The Christmas and holiday season can be a wonderful time for us and our pets. The following will provide some important considerations to help you steer clear of pet related problems this year.
- Table Scraps: Many pet owners routinely give some table scraps to their pets as treats. This is not ideal but, to be honest, I do it too. This can be a particular problem around holidays as families gather and pets have more people around as potential begging targets. With a few extra bites, our wonderfully tasty fatty foods can pretty quickly cause a pet to have intestinal upset or pancreatitis which routinely lands pets in the hospital over the holiday season
- Boarding and “Kennel Cough”: Many people travel over the holiday season and this means close exposure to other dogs in a relatively stressful environment. Every year we see a seasonal uptick in infections (most commonly respiratory infections) contracted in these boarding situations. These infections are contracted in even the best managed kennels. Your strategy for avoiding serious problems with boarding this holiday season should include making sure with your veterinarian that vaccines are up to date and immediately address any signs of coughing or breathing difficulty that happen within 2 weeks of boarding, grooming, or other exposure to unknown pets such as time at the dog park.
- Christmas Lights and Candles: Among the increased risks to pets posed by holidays is our decorating. It is not uncommon for inquisitive young pets to be interested in the new cords of lights strung in our houses. You can imagine how with chewing this can lead to serious electrical injury. Many people will also light candles this time of year for seasonal smells and ambiance. Curious pets may knock over candles leading to burn injuries and house fires.
- Anxiety: Pets prone to anxiety can be particularly vulnerable during the holidays as there are many new stimuli and irregular situations. Accommodating these pets with quieter safe places especially during parties and events such as Christmas morning present unwrapping will help them cope with the stress.
- Chocolate: Chocolate is one of the most ubiquitous pet toxins around this season and toxic exposures are not uncommon. Avoiding exposure is important. Remember it is the cocoa itself that is toxic to dogs so the “darker” the chocolate, the more dangerous it is. Avoid exposure if possible and if your dog or cat does eat some chocolate call your Veterinarian to help determine if medical intervention is necessary.
We at Green Acres Pet Center hope that you and your pets all have a safe and happy holiday season. We are available during business hours for any holiday related concerns and for our current clients we offer 24-hour 365 day a year on-call service.
Bryan Johnson D.V.M