As the Holiday season approaches, we wanted to revisit this very important topic. The holidays can be a stressful time and nothing adds to your stress like a sick pet and an unplanned visit to the vet! Many people know some of the information in this post, but we hope that you find at least one helpful tidbit for the coming weeks.
As we take some time to relax and enjoy this holiday season with our families, we need to keep in mind that our furry family members may not be able to celebrate in the same way. Many of the foods served at your table are rich and higher in fat than what your pet is used to eating on a daily basis. Even just a bite or two of ham or turkey and gravy can be enough to cause a major problem with your pet. This may trigger a bout of intestinal upset or even a more serious condition, called pancreatitis. These conditions can cause vomiting and/or diarrhea, which can quickly lead to dehydration and more serious illness. If you would like to include your dog in the celebration, offer a low-calorie treat (like carrots, green beans or a commercial dog treat). Your dog may stare longingly at the wishbone; however you want to avoid allowing your dog to chew on turkey bones. They can easily splinter or break, which can wreak havoc on the stomach and intestines. If a large piece is swallowed, a life-threatening intestinal obstruction can occur. This would require surgery to remove the piece of bone that is stuck!
As the temperature continues to drop, make sure that your outdoor pet has access to shelter from the wind and precipitation. An electric water bowl is also a handy tool to keep the fresh drinking water from freezing over. When taking your pet for a walk this winter, watch out for any sharp/icy areas which may leave cuts on the footpads. Older pets can easily slip on the ice and injure their hips or back. If you plan to continue your daily walks during this time of the year, consider investing in a set of protective booties for your dog to provide traction and cover their feet! Antifreeze may keep your car running smoothly, but it can make you pet very sick. The bright colored liquid is very sweet, which makes it enticing to both dogs and cats. Even as little as a teaspoon-full is enough to cause irreversible kidney failure in a cat! If you suspect your pet has been exposed to antifreeze, it is essential that you seek treatment within the first few hours, even if your pet is acting normally.
With December comes “the most wonderful time of the year”, but for our pets that means more potential hazards. Did you know that Poinsettias and mistletoe are toxic to pets? Chewing on or eating the leaves can cause severe drooling, vomiting and diarrhea. Keep those gorgeous red and green blooms out of reach! As you decorate the tree, be mindful that the twinkling lights may be too enticing for a young puppy or cat to pass up, putting them at risk for electrocution. Also, the glass lights and ornaments can easily break, leaving sharp pieces that can be dangerous when stepped on or eaten. Cats can be especially interested wrapping ribbon or tinsel. The long, thin string can easily become stuck in the intestinal tract causing an obstruction. Even the Christmas tree water can be toxic if your pet drinks too much. Don’t forget that chocolate, coffee and alcohol are all toxic to pets and should always be avoided.
With these tips to avoid, we hope that you and your pets have a safe and happy holiday season. Stop by to visit and see our festive decorations, we can’t wait to see you!