Animal Holiday Tips


Holiday tips to keep your pets safe by Topanga Animal Clinic

We wish you and your pets all the best as the year draws to a close and the new one begins.

It seems like we are often rushed and a bit stressed this time of year. Our pets can be a comfort and a reminder to slow down and take some time to enjoy them. They love being petted and our stress level goes down a few notches as we do it.

Holiday season adornments are attractive to all creatures. The ornaments, foods, gifts, wrappings, ribbons, lights and plants are all curiosities for pets. Pets investigate new items by sniffing, tossing, chasing and finally by tasting. Tinsel, ornaments and colored lights may all look like toys to your pet. Make sure they are out of reach and that your pet has plenty of their own toys to entertain them. After gifts are opened, watch the ribbons and bows so curious pets do not swallow them. 

When choosing a gift for your pet, consider the pet as an individual. Cats enjoy lightweight toys they can bat around, catnip toys, scratching posts and kitty perches. Dogs like balls, chew toys and things they can carry around. However, beware of toys with parts, such as bells, buttons, string, yarn or squeaky parts that can be detached and swallowed. Watch how your pet handles a new toy until you are sure it is safe. Some dogs treat a stuffed toy like a friend and carry it around and sleep with it. Others will tear them up and eat the stuffing and get into trouble. Also, if there is more than one pet in the household; consider all the pets before buying for any one of them. A one-inch diameter toy for a cat is fine, but a puppy in the household may swallow it.

The most common problems this time of year are stomach or intestinal disturbances caused by pets eating the holiday feast or other novelties.

Scraps from the table can cause gastrointestinal upset and even predispose pets to pancreatitis. Bones can get stuck in the mouth or perforate the intestines and should be avoided. Chocolate is poisonous to cats, dogs and birds. If you want to treat your pet, you can add broth or canned food to their regular food as a real treat for them and is much healthier. Other sweet treats, like gum and hard candies, can contain xylitol, a sugar substitute that can cause a drop in blood sugar, depression, loss of coordination and seizures in your pet. It is also linked to liver failure in dogs.

Be sure to keep all candies, chocolate and other sweets out of your pet?s reach. If you believe your pet may have ingested chocolate or candy, call your veterinarian.

Holiday plants, such as Mistletoe, Poinsettias and Holly may add beauty to your home, but can cause stomach upset with vomiting and diarrhea, or even more serious problems. Make sure Christmas trees are secured so that pets cannot pull them over. Do not put preservative in the tree-stand water and make sure the skirt is tight around the base so that your pet doesn?t drink the water and accidently consume dead needles. 

Holidays can be as stressful for your pet as they are for you. Large gatherings of unfamiliar people may cause your dog or cat unnecessary stress and worry. If your pet does not interact well with strangers, keeping him or her in a separate room during the festivities may help keep your pet relaxed and worry free. Make sure doors are not left open as guests come and go. Indoor pets inadvertently left outside could be injured by cars or other animals.

If your pet does get sick, consult your veterinarian before giving any medications. Many of the over-the-counter drugs, such as Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen and Aspirin are toxic for animals, even though they are safe for us. Don?t wait to see if your pet gets better.  If you pet is acting sick, consult your veterinarian.

Animal Clinic of Topanga will be closed from December 24, 2013 until January 1, 2014 for the holiday. We will reopen on January 2, 2014.  If you need to contact us you may call and leave a message or in case of emergency you may contact ACCESS at (818) 887-2262.

Have a wonderful holiday!!! 

Animal Clinic of Topanga

115 S Topanga Canyon Blvd, Ste. B, Topanga, CA 90290
(310) 455-1330
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