Category Archives: Holidays

Holiday Time Considerations

by Tristan Clark, DVM

The holidays are nearly here and with them come cooler weather and the busy schedules of visiting friends and family. Often this season brings changes to your home, many of which can potentially be harmful to your pets. Keep some of the following in mind as you finalize your plans to ensure that your furry loved ones remain happy and safe through the winter!

The colder weather can play a part in changing where your dog or cat chooses to rest. Take care to ensure your smaller pets aren’t hiding under the covers before you jump on the bed or couch. Double check the dryer for any warmth-seeking nappers before turning it on for the next load and keep a safety screen up in front of the fireplace when lit. Burning candles can be knocked over by a running cat or wagging dog tail so ensure they’re out of reach. Also, be aware that outdoor cats may heat seek by curling up under a car hood – a situation that could be deadly once the engine is turned on.  A firm knock on the car hood helps alert them it is time to jump out of the vehicle.

My favorite part of the holidays is all the wonderful food but many of these items could spell disaster in the stomach of a pet. Chocolate is always a no-no and tends to be more prevalent in the house during this time of year. Alcoholic beverages can be very potent to those with a smaller body mass. Many holiday dinners include fatty foods such as eggnog, cheese logs, ham, prime rib or gravy. These all have a very good chance of causing vomiting and diarrhea, a surprise that nobody wants on December 25th!

The Christmas tree may be the star decoration of your holiday home but be aware of the extra dangers it may bring. Tree water might be full of stomach-churning fertilizers and breed bacteria. Ensure fresh water is always nearby for your pets to drink instead. Electrical cords should be hidden or covered as chewing them can result in a nasty shock. Ornaments and tinsel can cause problems if ingested. And as always, ensure the tree is good and steady as it can be tipped over quite easily by a curious climbing kitty or two.

Enjoy your holiday this year but keep an eye our ahead of time for these potential dangers!

Traveling with your Pet

By Vanessa Vandersande DVM

Traveling with your pet may be for fun or it may be a matter of necessity but with a little advance planning it will be much easier for everyone involved. I have personal experience with traveling across the United States with two cats and a golden retriever in a small car, so hopefully my tips will be helpful and practical. (Oh, the stories I could tell about those trips…)

First, make sure all of your animals are in good health. A health certificate is required if you are traveling across state lines and your vet can write one for you. Just keep in mind that you will need to have your pet examined no more than 10 days before traveling. Also, consider the destination. In places with lots of mosquitoes your pet may need heartworm prevention. Places with ticks means that your pet may need different vaccinations and tick preventive. Your vet can help you plan accordingly.

Planning for the trip is essential. Useful items to have on hand would include waterproof bags for soiled bedding, extra bedding, travel litter boxes and travel food and water dishes. My personal favorite item is a box of baby wipes, which are great for cleaning up little accidents and wiping up fur. If your pets are not already microchipped, this is the time! A microchip may save your pet’s life if they are somehow separated from you during your journey.

If you are planning to travel by airplane it is strongly recommended that your pet travel with you in the cabin. It is difficult for airlines to provide safe travel in cargo, due to the real possibility of excessive heat or cold in the storage area under the plane. It may be necessary to pay an additional fee for your pet to travel in the cabin but the safety it provides is well worth the additional expense.

Some nervous pets may suffer from travel related nausea or extreme fear. Thankfully we’ve come a long way with pharmaceuticals and there are some excellent anti-nausea drugs on the market. There are also some excellent drugs available for stressed pets, products ranging from pheromone emitting sprays and collars to tranquilizers that cause mild sedation and help take the edge off the fear.

No matter your destination, proper planning and preparation will give you and your pets a safe and exciting vacation! Happy Travels!