NEW PARIS — Royal Canin has been spreading holiday cheer and pet safety tips over the past several weeks, going to all the local elementary schools to teach the children more about their pets and how they might behave over the holidays.
The traveling pet experts visited National Trail Elementary School on Wednesday, Dec. 20. Jill Cline, Ryan Eyre, Beth Forsthoefel, Courtney Hamilton, and Josephine Johnson — plus two retreivers — stood in front of the third and fourth graders providing them some tips to surviving the holidays with their furry best friend by their side.
Cline opened the presentation by introducing her two dogs, whom she would use for demonstrations throughout the presentation.
She started by speaking about animal behavior, both cat and dog.
Cline asked the students how they know if cats are friendly? If they’re relaxed, purring, or come up to you, the kids responded. She reviewed body language of cats — since that is how they tell humans if they are friendly. Stressed cats will be hunched up with their tails wrapped around their body with their ears down. When a cat is not happy they will whip their tail around quickly.
Both retrievers were a little anxious in front of all the children. Cline said both stressed and happy dogs will pant, but stressed dogs will look a bit like they are smiling and their ears will be down. They may also squint their eyes. Dogs also need space occasionally. They will back up and try to get away from you if they need space.
Never approach a dog or cat without asking the owner. That is the best way to know if they are friendly or not. It is then best to approach slowly and on their level, as to not scare or startle them. Give the animal space, so you are not crowding it. Understand that if the pet does not know you, it probably does not want you to hug it or hang on it.
Those are all basic tips the group gave the children, but looking specifically at animals during the holiday season, Johnson advised the kids to keep an eye on holiday plants, as mistletoe and poinsettia can be toxic to pets. Holiday food — such as chocolate — is also very toxic to both cats and dogs.
If given a treat, it should be an animal treat approved by the owner.
Other holiday tips include: giving animals space when people are over, always asking to pet or play with an animal, do not run if being chased by a dog, do not approach an animal that looks stressed, make sure the Christmas tree is secure and the animal cannot drink tree water, and do not feed the animal human food.
“National Trail was just one of the schools that we presented at. We went to National Trail, Eaton, Twin Valley South, Tri-County North, and Preble Shawnee. We wanted to reach as many kids as we could in the area to speak about Pet Safety,” Amy Ehler, Royal Canin Facilities Director, explained.
“This is part of our MVP, which stands for Mars Volunteer Program. We get all of our associates involved in a community event throughout the year to ensure all associates are a part of reaching out to the community. We had 100 percent participation in 2017 with community events.
“The Royal Canin school pet safety program was new for us this year and I feel it was a great success,” Ehler said.