Holiday Horribilis

A veterinary joke ’12 days of Christmas’ song was, unfortunately, more fortune-telling than funny for Levin & Horowhenua Vets over the Christmas and New Year holidays. From twelve sickly stomachs… seven foreign bodies… two hit-by-cars and … we really did see it all. Our knowing chuckles turned into serious discussions with long hours, upset clients, and some very sick pets. This is a timely reminder for those of you lucky enough to be on holiday over January.

Dogs and cats enjoy eating holiday fare but they are not well adapted to dealing with a sudden change in diet, and the consequences can be unpleasant. Many foods we enjoy are actually dangerous for pets. We should all now know that chocolate is extremely toxic, but things like onions, raisons and even the fat off the ham can make our pets extremely ill. Let your pet’s tummy stay peaceful and don’t share!

Toxicities aren’t just from food. Why pets choose to eat some things remains a mystery, but don’t underestimate your pets’ ability to get into something they shouldn’t. Curious pets can often get into prescription medications or recreational drugs which pose a serious threat. Ingested objects cause all sorts of problems requiring emergency surgery. The last thing we want to do is cause these problems ourselves. Keep that ham bone away from your pooch. Cooked bones are especially problematic – and expensive to treat if it goes wrong.

Changing environments, lots of people around and holiday activities can place our pets in harm’s way. Our pets enjoy the routine of a predictable life. Consider your pet’s wellbeing and safety if venturing away or you have lots of guests coming and going. Dogs especially run the risk of being hit by cars with so much extra traffic around. The beach, rivers and even the back yard have additional hazards at this time of year. Think about your pets as you would your children when considering the risks.

Enjoy the rest of the holidays, and take care of your pets.