November and December abounds with holiday celebrations, and nothing can spoil good cheer like an emergency trip to the veterinary clinic. These tips can help keep your winter holiday season from becoming not-so-happy—for your pet and for you.
Plan in advance
Make sure you know how to get to your 24/7 emergency veterinary clinic before there's an emergency. Talk with your veterinarian in advance to find out where you would need to take your pet, and plan your travel route so you're not trying to find your way when stressed. Always keep these numbers posted in an easy-to-find location in case of emergencies:
- Your veterinarian's clinic phone number
- 24/7 emergency veterinary clinic (if different)
- ASPCA Poison Control Center: 888-426-4435
- Pet Poison Helpline: 855-764-7661
Keep people food away from pets, and instruct everyone else to do the same. If you want to share holiday treats with your pets, make or buy treats formulated just for them. The following people foods are especially dangerous for pets:
- Chocolate is an essential part of holidays for many people, but it is toxic to dogs and cats. It's safest to consider all chocolate off limits for pets, even though the harm it can cause varies based on the type of chocolate, the size of your pet, and the amount eaten.
- Other sweets and baked goods also should be kept out of reach. Not only are they often too rich for pets; they may contain the artificial sweetener xylitol, which has been linked to liver failure and death in dogs.
- Table scraps – including gravy, sauces, dressing, and meat or poultry fat or skin – should be kept away from pets. During the holidays, when our own diets tend toward extra-rich foods, table scraps can be especially hard for pets to digest and can cause pancreatitis. Bones can cause choking or intestinal blockage. Plus, many foods that are healthy for people are poisonous to pets, including onions, raisins, and grapes.
- Unbaked yeast dough can cause problems for pets, including painful gas and potentially dangerous bloating.