The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is reminding pet owners to keep their pets healthy and safe this spring. If there are ever any concerns about your pets’ health now or beyond the spring holiday season, please talk to your veterinarian. Keep pets safe this spring holiday season by following these five easy tips:


  • Happy tummies: Avoid feeding pets people foods. Foods not specifically formulated for pets should be avoided as they could cause pancreatitis, even when consumed in small amounts. Also, keep candy and other sweets containing chocolate, raisins and/or xylitol (an artificial sweetener found in many candies and gum) away from pets as these ingredients can be hazardous.


  • Go natural: As a reminder, in Michigan, it is illegal to sell baby chicks, rabbits, ducklings, or other fowl or game that have been dyed or artificially colored. Violating this law is a misdemeanor.


  • Search no more: Make sure pets have proper identification — pets can easily sneak out and get lost. Make sure pets have identification tags and microchips updated with your current contact information to ensure they can be returned home.


  • Destress and decompress: Have a quiet space for your pets. It is important to have a quiet space set aside for your pet to go if they are getting too stressed. Also, have the room stocked with their food and water in case they want to maintain their distance for an extended period of time.


  • More than novelties: Bunnies and chicks are fur-ever pets. While it may be tempting to surprise someone with a real bunny, chick or duckling this spring, it is important to remember these animals are long-term pets, often requiring specialized care and feed. Many people feel unprepared to properly care for one of these animals and hand them over to local animal control or an animal shelter. Opt for gifting someone a stuffed or chocolate animal instead.