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Tips for Easter and springtime for you and your pet

This spring, as people prepare to celebrate Easter or go on spring vacation, The Humane Society of the United States offers tips to keep pets safe and happy

Baby chicks and rabbits aren’t Easter gifts

Rabbit and Dog White With BrownBringing a new pet into your home is a serious commitment that should only be made if your family is prepared to provide lifelong care for the animal. Some local and state laws regulate the ownership of animals such as chickens and ducks, and those animals aren’t always appropriate pets.

If you are sure about making this Easter the time to get a new family pet, consider adopting from your local animal shelter. Animal shelters are full of pets looking for homes, including rabbits and other animals.

Another consideration would be giving children a plush toy or a dark chocolate rabbit.

“Unless your entire family is committed to a pet who will need proper socialization, care, and companionship for many years, think twice before adding a baby animal to your Easter celebrations,” said KC Theisen, the society’s director of pet care issues.

After cats and dogs, rabbits are the animals most frequently surrendered to animal shelters, often because people acquire them as youngsters but aren’t prepared for the long-term commitment involved. Others are released into backyards by people who mistakenly believe they’ll be able to fend for themselves.

Unlike wild rabbits, domestic pet rabbits can’t survive on their own outdoors. Chickens also need dedicated, consistent care and far too many of them end up in shelters, rescues and sanctuaries. 

TheShelterPetProject.org lists rabbits, chickens, and other pets already in local shelters and rescues waiting for a new home.

The society’s resources on rabbit care and adopting and caring for backyard chickens can help you decide whether a rabbit or a chicken is the right pet for you. 

Air travel with your pets for your spring vacation should be avoided

The society encourages everyone to consider his or her pets’ travel needs carefully before departure day arrives. If at all possible, drive with your pets on your spring adventures or leave them at home with a trusted caretaker, as air travel can be dangerous for pets. Cargo space in an airplane isn’t designed to meet the needs of a dog, and many pets are lost or injured annually during air travel.

If you must take your pet with you in the air, consult the Department of Transportation’s “2015 Airline Consumer Complaints Up From Previous Year” for detailed information. Pets traveling in the airplane cabin must be screened through TSA outside of their carrier, so cats and dogs should wear a metal-free harness and leash during the security process. Passengers can also request secondary screening in a room with a door to reduce the risk of accidental escape.

Make travel easier by practicing with your pet’s accessories before you leave. Whether driving or flying, introduce the leash, carrier, and other new items well in advance, using lots of praise and treats. Practice putting the harness and leash on at home and walk around. This can reduce anxiety and make travel day much less stressful for both pets and their people.

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