Keep the holidays safe for your furry friends | All About Pets

Welcome to Buckley Veterinary Hospital’s monthly pet care column. The holiday season is here! This month we are discussing keeping your pets safe and healthy during the holidays, including the importance of not feeding table scraps to avoid stomach upset and intestinal obstructions, and reducing your pet’s anxiety.

  • Tuesday, November 26, 2013 7:39pm
  • Life

Family pets face some additional risks from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season – but taking a few simple precautions can keep cats and dogs safe and happy.

Welcome to Buckley Veterinary Hospital’s monthly pet care column. The holiday season is here! This month we are discussing keeping your pets safe and healthy during the holidays, including the importance of not feeding table scraps to avoid stomach upset and intestinal obstructions, and reducing your pet’s anxiety.

While the holidays are a time filled with spirit and festive gatherings, it can also be a very stressful time for our pets. We put together some helpful recommendations below from the American Veterinary Medical Association and ASPCA on how to plan a safe holiday for your furry family members.

Provide solitude

Guests may cramp your pet’s style, so keep their favorite place free from the holiday clamor so they can relax. If a spare room or pet crate isn’t available, think about boarding your pet for a few days if they become too anxious amid the hustle and bustle of the holidays.

Keep poisonous and

dangerous plants away

Plants like mistletoe and poinsettia are poisonous and ingested pine needles can cause digestive tract blockage. Keep your pet from ingesting/chewing on these plants and you will likely save yourself a trip to your veterinarian or emergency vet.

Decorate safely

There are a variety of decorations that can cause problems for your pet. Ribbons and tinsel are frequently implicated in veterinary hospital bowel obstructions. Light cords, when chewed or frayed, can cause severe burns or electrocution. Prevent these mishaps by keeping decorations out of reach or secured in an inaccessible area.

Make holiday trips safe

and prepare in advance

Take special precautions when traveling with your pet no matter how you choose to travel. Flying or driving over state/country lines often may require a health certificate and/or proof of vaccinations. Before departing, consult with your veterinarian/airlines about how to properly prepare for a trip.

Table scraps

aren’t pet snacks

Many holiday foods are loaded with fat and sodium and can cause stomach upset. Chicken bones can easily get stuck in the digestive tract and other foods like chocolate or onions can be poisonous. In short, people food is meant for people, not pets. Be greedy and keep it for yourself.

Because chocolate can cause illness and even death in pets, it should be avoided completely. Chocolate contains theobromine, a potent cardiovascular and central nervous system stimulant that is eliminated very slowly in pets.

If your pet experiences chronic or occasional stomach upset, consider discussing diet recommendations with your veterinarian.

As you count down to the new year, please keep in mind that strings of thrown confetti can get lodged in a pet’s intestines, if ingested, perhaps necessitating surgery. Noisy poppers and fireworks can cause anxiety and cause possible damage to a pet’s sensitive ears.

Most of these recommendations sound like they take the fun out of the holidays, right? That’s not our intent. We’re merely acting as spokesmen for your furry loved ones. We want to stress the importance of recognizing prospective hazards and to bring to your attention, the safest ways to celebrate the holidays with your four-legged best friends. Prevention is the best medicine.

Looking to treat your pooches this season? Holiday recipes for a healthy homemade pet treats:

Take solid canned food and cut it into bite-sized pieces. Cook in the microwave for approximately two and one-half to three minutes or, in a conventional oven, bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.  Serve this semi-crispy/crunchy treat to your pets on special occasions. Use dry food by grinding it into flour using a blender, then add water until it is the consistency of dough. Make into cookie shapes and bake on a cookie sheet for approximately 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

In regard to anxiety, our veterinarians offer several avenues to help cope with changes in your pet’s environment and stress from noise and high traffic during the holiday.  Some owners would rather not use drugs to treat a stressed dog or cat.  One alternative you might see on store shelves are pheromone-based products in various forms, including sprays, plug-in diffusers, wipes and collars.

Cat pheromones can help with problems like scratching and stress while traveling, being boarded or during visits to the veterinarian’s office, and can ease the stress of a cat moving into a new home. Dog pheromone products are used for general stress, separation anxiety, noise phobias like those caused by storms or fireworks, and travel.  Depending on the underlying causes of these issues, pheromone products can make a noticeable improvement or aid as a supplementary treatment.

Light sedatives can be prescribed under severe circumstances to aid in calming you pet’s. Herbal remedies and flower essence formulas designed to ease anxiety can often provide relief for pets – many work well in conjunction with veterinary treatment.

Please consult your veterinarian if you have questions regarding your pet’s stress during the holidays. If you feel that your pet may have ingested something abnormal, as we have mentioned in this month’s article, immediate veterinary attention is recommended to avoid severe complications. Education and prevention are key.

Thank you to our readers – we welcome you back next month. Please, send questions, comments, or suggestions for future columns to us at info@buckleyvet.com. Happy holidays!

More in Life

Levy money to aid senior programs in Enumclaw, Black Diamond | King County

By 2040, more than a quarter of King County’s population will be seniors. Healthy lifestyles and social engagement are keys to living long and living well.

Program designed for families dealing with mental illness | Rainier Foothills Wellness Foundation

The classes will focus on several different kinds of mental illnesses and the skills necessary to handle crisis situations, how to listen and communicate, and self-care for dealing with worry and stress.

Activities Program boasts big numbers, variety

The White River Communities Activities Program has activities for students in kindergarten through fifth grade all year long.

County animal services visiting local neighborhoods | Regional Animal Services of King County

All cats and dogs eight weeks or older in the RASKC service area are required to be licensed with King County.

Water birthing on the Plateau

Water birth is popular abroad but not yet widely available in the U.S.

Caregiver film series focuses on relationship stress | Pierce County

At the age of 21 Hawking was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis—also known as ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, and continued his work with the support of his wife, Jane. She provided care as the disease progressed – both to their children and Steven. Over the years, his advancing care needs added stress that took a significant toll on their relationship.

Dive into the story of the average gig-employee

Your allowance was never enough, as a kid. Oh, sure, it bought… Continue reading

Proudly in defense of breastfeeding, in King County and everywhere | Public Health Insider

Patty Hayes, Director of Public Health—Seattle & King County, responded to the news that the United States government aggressively attempted to water down international support for breast-feeding through the World Health Organization.

My Favorite Martins

Steve Martin and Martin Short discuss bringing their two-man comedy extravaganza back to Seattle.

‘Bearskin’ is a thriller like no other

Sometimes, you just need to get away. Out of your element, far… Continue reading

Photos can represent good, bad memories

The picture reminds you of a thousand things. You recall the day… Continue reading