Every year thousands of pets visit their veterinarian for medical emergencies around the holidays. Most are preventable. Here are a couple of tips that can help keep your four-legged family out of the doctors office.
- Food: Don’t wrap food gifts. If you must wrap it, at least tell the recipient that there is food in the package. Dogs love to help themselves to christmas goodies when their people aren’t looking. Chocolates, sausages, cheese baskets and other goodies are delicious, but can make for a very sick pooch. If you’re giving a flavorful gift this holiday do the family fur baby a solid and let their people know to keep it away from the dog’s super sensitive sniffer.
- Meds: Keep your meds out of reach of the family crumb cleaner. Dogs love to chew up 7 day pill organizers. Print a list of your meds with a picture of each pill (so you know which ones are missing). You can also take a picture of each pill with your phone followed by a picture of the front label of the prescription bottle. This way, if an enterprising hound finds your pharmacy, you can tell the veterinarian exactly what he got into. Remember, in homes with pets and children, meds should never be set down to be taken later. Curious noses and tiny fingers frequently snag items from tables and counters.
- Eat your own leftovers! I know we all love to give those big brown puppy dog eyes a little treat on christmas day, but this year give them a good belly rub instead. Leave the food on your plate. Loving family members often leave the family fur baby with a nasty case of diarrhea and occasionally a very painful condition called pancreatitis when they decide to share the holiday spirit.
- Put the batteries away. Many dogs end up at the emergency room every holiday season because they decide the batteries laying around might be tasty. The most dangerous batteries are the flat disc batteries. These are an issue even if they aren’t chewed or punctured and can be a big problem for kids as well as dogs. Swallowing a disc battery can cause severe injury to the esophagus and if not treated quickly, can result in death. The more common Alkaline batteries can also cause problems - especially if chewed. If you need batteries, take out only the ones you need and place the rest in a safe spot.
- In many parts of the country the holidays bring with them cold weather. Although a majestic winter wonderland makes for a picturesque holiday, it can be hard on our furry friends. Remember to let pets in frequently to prevent injury to their paws. If prolonged time outside is needed, especially on hard surfaces, consider covering their paws with canine booties. Avoid using excessive salt on paths your pet is using and whenever possible use a pet safe salt then rinse off your pet’s paws when they come inside.
At Petnostics, we wish you and yours a safe and festive holiday season, whatever your traditions may be (unless an annual trip for your dog to the veterinarian to become one of them - in which case tradition is overrated). Happy Holidays!