November 2015 – Dr. Frost’s Observer Today Article

The holidays and pets

By Dr. Rebekah Frost - OBSERVER Columnist

The hustle and bustle of the holidays is fast approaching. Family get-togethers, holiday traveling, parties, and Christmas shopping are all part of the festivities. People may not realize that this time of year can be very stressful for family pets. Below I will discuss some recommendations to protect pets and reduce their stress during this busy time of the year.

Dora the cat is ignoring the Halloween candy, probably because her owner is near.

Dora the cat is ignoring the Halloween candy, probably because her owner is near. OBSERVER Photo by Nicole Gugino

Hide that candy! With three young kids in my home, we have an over abundance of sugar following Halloween. Make sure the kids are not leaving candy where pets can get it. Chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, can be toxic to pets if ingested.

Watch those table scraps! Thanksgiving is a common time of year for our cats and dogs to come down with gastroenteritis or inflammation of the stomach and intestines. This usually comes from eating Thanksgiving feast table scraps that come their way either intentionally or unintentionally. Be sure to get rid of turkey carcasses. If your pup finds those turkey bones, it could lead not only to vomiting and diarrhea, but pancreatitis, a severe life threatening disease brought on by eating a high fat meal.

Provide an escape plan. By this I mean a place for your pet to escape away from company visiting, or holiday parties. Company can be very stressful for a pet, especially cats.

Cats are very routine pets that do not like any disruptions in a normal schedule. When a stranger comes into the pet’s territory, or the home is invaded by noise and commotion, it can be very upsetting. Be sure to provide a quiet room with food, water, and litter box, or a crate away from the noise where your cat may be more comfortable.

Consider boarding your pets for the holidays. This may be a good option if you are traveling and cannot adequately care for your pets. Check for reputable boarding facilities Stay away from ones that do NOT require vaccines and that house the pets together. These facilities are not safe for your pet, as animals may be exposed to dangerous diseases. Housing pets together or playing together in a common area, may lead to fights and serious injuries. We provide boarding at the Dunkirk Animal Clinic. What better place to board your pet than where a veterinarian is available when needed.


Tony the cat, like most pets, likes to play. OBSERVER Photo by Vicki Notaro

Keep those holiday plants out of reach. Holiday plants including mistletoe, holly, poinsettias, and lilies can be toxic to pets. From just stomach upset to kidney failure, it’s not worth the risk to your cat or dog. Keep the plants up high, or do not purchase them at all.

Use caution with holiday tinsel, ribbons, and ornaments. Cats have an affinity for string-like items. Ribbons, tinsel, garland and other items used to wrap presents or decorate a tree may be enticing to cats and, if ingested, cause an intestinal blockage.. Pick up loose pieces immediately and always watch those feline friends around the Christmas tree. Also be careful with glass ornaments that look like just a ball to play with to your dog. Put those at a level the pet cannot reach.

Give pets the attention they need. Let’s face it, this time of year people are so busy, many are slack in giving animals what they need: love and attention. Be sure to still provide a pet with a play time or a walk. Do not completely ignore a pet during the holidays or it may act out in an unsatisfactory way.

I hope you and your pets have a wonderful holiday season. For this Thanksgiving, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to write these articles for the OBSERVER and to provide readers with advice and information regarding care for their pets.Thank you for being wonderful pet parents and if there are ever any questions regarding any of the material written in my articles, don’t hesitate to email me at Happy Holidays from the Dunkirk Animal Clinic!

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