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 Hotline: 1-888-426-4435 (A fee may apply.)
Keep people food away from pets. If you want to share holiday treats with your pets, make or buy treats formulated just for them. The following people foods are especially hazardous for pets:
- Chocolate is an essential part of the holidays for many people, but it is toxic to dogs and cats. Although the toxicity can vary based on the type of chocolate, the size of your pet, and the amount they ate, it's safer to consider all chocolate off limits for pets.
- Other sweets and baked goods also should be kept out of reach. Not only are they often too rich for pets; an artificial sweetener often found in baked goods, candy and chewing gum, xylitol, has been linked to liver failure and death in dogs.
- Turkey and turkey skin – sometimes even in small amounts – can cause a life-threatening condition in pets known as pancreatitis.
- Table scraps – including gravy and meat fat –also should be kept away from pets. Many foods that are healthy for people are poisonous to pets, including onions, raisins and grapes. During the holidays, when our own diets tend toward extra-rich foods, table scraps can be especially fattening and hard for animals to digest and can cause pancreatitis.
- Yeast dough can cause problems for pets, including painful gas and potentially dangerous bloating.