Items to consider to make sure the holidays are happy for your pet

Not a Social Butterfly?
If you are having a large gathering at your house, stop and think about your pet. Not all pets enjoy interacting with large groups of people, or with small children they don’t normally see. Your pet may be much happier in the safety of a bedroom with a new toy or special snack.

Toxic foods
Speaking of snacks, it’s important to monitor what is within your pet’s reach! Often we have cookies, candy, or snacks sitting out. Be aware of what may interest your pet! We all know about chocolate and onions being toxic.  Did you know that grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in some dogs and cats (others seem unaffected – no one knows why!) Macadamia nuts and walnuts can cause tremors or, worse, seizures. An artificial sweetener called xylitol (found in sugar-free candies) can cause low blood sugar in dogs – to the point of coma!

Even if it’s not toxic, it may not be safe
What about white chocolate? It does not have the toxins of milk or dark chocolate. Still, it’s very high in fat and oils and can do a number on the tummy! Food does not need to be toxic to make a pet sick. Poinsettia plants are an irritant to the digestive tract – not a poison per se, but when your cat has vomited 6 times, you’ll both be unhappy! Also, many holiday foods are just rich and fatty. Again, the gravy is not toxic, but can cause some serious tummy upset. Some dogs (schnauzers in particular) can develop pancreatitis and even require hospitalization from eating fatty foods. So again, moderation! Finally, don’t forget non-food items that some animals find fascinating. Tinsel has gained notoriety over the years, as come cats love to play with it, and may ingest it, causing their digestive tract to literally get tangled and require emergency surgery. If your pet is taking an interest in any decor, it’s best just to separate the two.

What if my pet is sick on Christmas? And I didn’t break the rules!
Animals sometimes get sick. There are things no one can prevent.  The Animal Emergency Center in Collinsville, IL is open 24/7 the weeks of Christmas and New Years.  Their number is 618-346-1843. If your pet is sick, but does not require urgent care or hospitalization, we will be available for housecalls during those weeks, although availability may be somewhat limitedthe week of Christmas.