Sunday, November 24, 2013

The holidays DO'S and DON'TS for You and Your Pet.

The holidays are coming up very quickly. Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas and the New Year. Each holiday has some do's and don't with regard to your pet. Most of these do's and don't are common sense and if you thought about it would most likely come up with these yourself.
However, the are always one or two do's and don't that are life saving. (particularly the don'ts) . So how about pay attention as these holidays come up and please do or don't these suggestions for your pet's safety and comfort.
You do not need to add a trip to the veterinary emergency room to your "to do" list.
For the Thanksgiving holiday: The Do's 

Do keep your eye on packaging. Ensure you dispose of any turkey or other food packaging quickly and appropriately. All strings, plastic holders and bags that have a meat smell can be very attractive to a pet.  Once ingested, these items can cause damage or blockage of the intestines.

Do stuff a Kong with kibble, dog treats or add a few nibbles of cooked turkey and vegetables.

Do guard the bread machine or if dough is rising on the counter, remove to safer ground. When raw bread dough is ingested, the animal’s body heat causes the dough to rise in his stomach where it expands. The dog may experience bloating and abdominal pain and require emergency surgery.

Do beware of decorations and centrepieces, particularly some plants, flowers, pine cones, and needles. The latter may cause intestinal blockage.

Do beware of chocolate candy (toxic to dogs), candy and baked goods made with Xylitol, and rich desserts which will cause stomach upsets.
Do exercise your dog a little harder on Thanksgiving. A tired dog is a good dog especially during dinner time.
Do make sure that your dog is secure and cannot dart outside. Pets should always wear tags with current info and be micro-chipped.
Do take your dog or cat to the groomer so they look their best for your guests.
Do be sure your pet's vaccinations are up to date. Check with your veterinarian.
And the Don'ts :

Don’t gives your pet(s) any cooked turkey bones or carcasses. Be sure to wrap them up well and secured away from where dogs can find them. If you do give them a piece of turkey, ensure that it’s well cooked, no skin, and boneless. Keep your eye on the dog as entire turkeys have been known to disappear. Cooked turkey bones are sharp, potentially dangerous, and can be lodged in their digestive system for days.
Don’t feed your pet(s) stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, rich mashed potatoes. Stuffing and other foods may have herbs,  spices, onions, raisins & grapes which are toxic to dogs.

Don’t leave beer, wine, and spirits within reach.  Move liquid refreshments to higher ground. Dogs can become quite ill, go into a coma or die.

Don’t make your pet be something he or she is not. If the pet is people shy or doesn’t like to be around small children, put the animal in a crate or in another room. 

This year Hanukkah starts on the night before Thanksgiving. Apparently, this is a rare occurrence, so rare that it won’t happen again for another 70,000 years, that’s in people years. Since these holidays collide, here are a few pet safety tips for Hanukah:
The Do's for Hanukah:
Do keep your eyes on the gold-wrapped Hanukah chocolate ‘gelt”. Pets cannot have chocolate (it’s toxic). Pets must never eat the gold foil wrapping. Move the chocolate gelt to a high cupboard. It’s up to you to sneak a piece for yourself now and then.

Do be careful when lighting the menorah. Cats can jump on the table and dogs can knock down burning candles. Move to higher ground. Do not leave the house while the menorah candles burn unless the pets are properly stored and safe.
The Don'ts for Hanukah
Don’t give your pets brisket or potato latkes. These foods are too fatty and too much oil. Pancreatitis is not good for the pet and a trip to the vet will greatly impact your wallet. This is a definite DON'T.

Don’t leave the  dreidels lying around or else they may be swallowed. Most likely your pet will choke and a trip to the emergency vet will ensue. Put the dreidel away in a drawer after spinning it a few times. Make this a Tradition!

Don’t leave gift wrap, yarn, ribbons, packaging, and batteries lying around. Pets are curious and can swallow causing choking and dire outcomes.
And for Christmas and the New Year: The Do's
DO keep all wrapping paper and Christmas decoration (including fairy lights) out of sight and out of reach; pets are attracted to bright and shiny things, and if eaten they will cause stomach issues.
DO get your pet microchipped as they may run off to find shelter if they get cold outside or become spooked from the noise of the festive celebrations. Make sure they have a quiet place where they can relax and feel safe.
DO go out for fresh air, but remember pets get cold too. Try to reduce the time they spend outside and don't be afraid to get them a cosy little pet jacket if necessary. If it's frosty and the pavements are gritted, check your dog's paws to make sure they aren't starting to hurt. Grit can be extremely irritating to footpads, even drying them to a point where paws split open and bleed. Also make sure your dog doesn't lick off road salt because this can cause stomach problems.
Because of the cold weather, DO ensure you have plenty of toys, especially activity types, to keep them active indoors.
The DON'TS for Christmas and the New Year:
DON'T feed your pet Christmas dinner leftovers, human food can be too rich and can be potentially lethal; poultry and lamb bones can block or perforate bowels, and many human foods can cause nasty vomiting and diarrhoea.
DON'T treat your pets to chocolate, as it can be very toxic! In an emergency, here is the link to your very own Chocolate toxicity meter link :
click here

If you do leave the house, DON'T allow pets on frozen ponds/canals for obvious reasons.
DON'T give pets as surprise gifts; ensure that the new owners are ready, as a dog requires full commitment of time and responsibility. 
DON'T leave plants were pets can eat them. Stargazer lilies, Rubrum lilies, Tiger lilies, and the other members of the Lilum genus, the ‘true lilies’ as they are known, are highly toxic to cats. So too are certain types of Day lilies.

DON'T leave your house and leave your Christmas tree available for the pets to play with the tree and decorations. The consequences could be devastating for your pet and the tree and house.
I am sure I could continue to add to both the do's and don'ts list, but I hope you get the idea. Think ahead, think like your pet, think how can I get myself in trouble. you need to correct the situation so it doesn't happen. You and your pet(s) will enjoy your holidays much more.
Happy Holidays!

The Providence Veterinary Hospital Blog is a publication of Peter Herman, VMD, at the Providence Veterinary Hospital, 2400 Providence Ave. in Chester, PA. Contact Dr. Herman at 610-872-4000 or visit us at