Curious pets may get into mischief and hurt themselves while investigating new decorations around the house. Cats may try to climb Christmas trees and both cats and dogs may try to ingest pieces of the tree, ornaments, and tinsel which can result in gastrointestinal upset or obstruction. Chewing on lights and electrical cords may result in burns. Holiday plants, such as Amaryllis mistletoe, pine, cedar, poinsettias, and holly can be dangerous or toxic if ingested. You can look up specific plants to see if they are toxic on the ASPCA webpage.
We enjoy many tasty foods and treats during the holiday season, but that doesn’t mean they are safe for our pets. Chocolate, grapes, raisins, and onions are all considered toxic to pets and any dish containing them should not be fed to your pet. In fact, you should avoid giving any table scraps or people food to your pets at any time because they can cause pancreatitis, even in small amounts. Pancreatitis can be life-threatening and causes severe diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, and abdominal pain after a pet eats rich/fatty foods or any food he/she is sensitive to. Xylitol is another toxic food hazard for pets and has been linked to liver failure and death in some dogs. Xylitol can be found in some baked goods, candy, gum, and even some brands of peanut butter. The safest strategy this holiday season is to continue feeding your pet’s regular diet, avoid sharing your yummy holiday food and treats, and make sure your pet can’t get into the trash!
Although holiday parties are fun for us, they can be a source of stress for our pets because of new people and noises. You should set aside a private, quiet area where your pets can go to get away from all of the commotion. An example would be a room with a crate and some favorite toys. If you know your pets will be stressed during a particular event, you may want to put them in their private space or crate before people arrive. Make sure your pets have a collar with identification and/or microchip and watch your pets closely so they don’t escape when people are coming and leaving. If you feel like your pet has severe anxiety during these situations, you can call us to discuss trying situational anxiety medications.
As always, please monitor your pets very closely this holiday season. If they get into anything that concerns you, please call us right away, 217-529-4499. Our mission is to provide high quality, compassionate veterinary care with a personal touch. We strive to maintain a friendly and comfortable environment for pets and owners and are committed to building strong, respectful, and honest relationships with our clients. Through teamwork, we are dedicated to ensuring the best care possible and treating pets as if they were our own.
Written by: Dr. Lyndsey Houmes
Chocolate and xylitol (a sugar substitute) can be toxic to pets. It is important to keep all candy in a place that is inaccessible by your pets. If your pet does consume candy, please call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control right away, 1-888-426-4435.
Doorbells, strangers in masks, and an open door can be a brewing storm of anxiety and all a stressed pet needs for a great escape. It might be best to have your pet in another room with the door closed to decrease their stress, or at least have your dog on a leash in order to keep them close by you. This is a great time to be sure that your pet’s microchip information is up to date, just in case.
If you decide to dress your pet up in a cute costume, be sure it fits and is not too snug, especially around the neck. Pets like to roll and rub on the floor sometimes with clothes on, so it is important that there are no constricting parts around the neck area. Another thing to keep in mind is any small parts that come on the costume, cats and dogs have been known to chew these off, which is a fright that no one needs.
Candles, Jack-0-Lanterns with candles, and light strands can be dangerous to a pet. Pumpkins and candles can easily be knocked over by an unknowing dog or cat, and for some reason strands of lights are often chewed on by dogs and cats. Be sure to only have candles going in places that are supervised or put decorations in places where they can’t be knocked over. And always turn light strands off if you are not nearby to avoid your pet getting injured.
We would love to see your Halloween pets in costume or trick-or-treating with the family. Send us pictures or stop by the clinic! Our mission is to provide high quality, compassionate veterinary care with a personal touch. We strive to maintain a friendly and comfortable environment for pets and owners and are committed to building strong, respectful, and honest relationships with our clients. Through teamwork, we are dedicated to ensuring the best care possible and treating pets as if they were our own.
It is more common than you think, and many people don't think there's much you can do about it. However, storm phobia in dogs can be alleviated or at least reduced by trying several different tactics and treatments. September is disaster preparedness month, so let's dive right into how to help Fido conquer his fears.
First of all, your dog can sense a storm LONG before you can, sometimes even hours before it happens. The single most important thing for us humans to remember is that we must take steps to control the anxiety BEFORE our canine companion becomes agitated by the impeding weather. Once they start to get worked up, it becomes much more difficult to help them relax.
A few changes can be made to your dog's environment to help them feel more comfortable.
1) Small spaces - dog's have been tamed for years but their instincts remain intact. In the wild, they hole up in small dens for protection and sleep. Try confining them to a smaller room or even allow them to bed down in the bathtub or their kennel if they like it in there.
2) Noise distraction - sometimes it is beneficial to play the radio, music, or have a tv on as white noise to help drown out the sound of thunder, wind, and rain.
3) Your Presence - your dog takes a lot of comfort when you are around to keep them safe, but we can't always be home. If the weather is predicting storms, try leaving one of your shirts near your dog's safe place or bed so they have your smell to help comfort them.
There is also a new product that you may have heard of in recent years called the thunder shirt. Many of our clients have used it successfully, not only for storm phobia but also other anxiety related behaviors as well. You can find these at most pet stores and online. The idea behind the shirt is that is fits your dog snuggly, thus giving them comfort (much like a tight, small space).
Lastly, if you have tried all of these tactics above but your dog still has major fear when it comes to bad weather, please call your veterinarian to discuss your options. There are medical treatments that can help, but that is a last resort after other methods are exhausted. Ultimately, your pet's safety is the utmost importance, and most dog's can be helped with medication when nothing else does.
If you have a dog you think may have storm anxiety, give us a call (217-529-4499) and we'll talk to you about some things to try at home. Our mission is to provide high quality, compassionate veterinary care with a personal touch. We strive to maintain a friendly and comfortable environment for pets and owners and are committed to building strong, respectful, and honest relationships with our clients. Through teamwork, we are dedicated to ensuring the best care possible and treating pets as if they were our own.