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Pets & Holidays: How to make them safer for your pets

By Gary Bogue
Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008 at 6:45 am in Cats, dogs, Holidays, Pets.

Our pets are important to us all
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Dr. Barry Kipperman, DVM, DACVIM, from VetCare Emergency & Specialist Care Center, Dublin, Calif., sent me some important information about your pets.

Dear Gary:
This is a wonderful time of year during which we give thanks for our blessings and spend time with our friends and family. This usually means travel, and that means your pets are either traveling with you or are being cared for by a neighbor, friend, or family member.

I see the following situation commonly at this time of year.

A caretaker brings in a sick pet that has been ill all night. The animal is collapsed and needs to be hospitalized, but the caretaker is unable or unwilling to authorize responsibility, and the guardians cannot be reached (out of country or on a cruise). The veterinarian cannot legally proceed with any medical intervention without written authorization.

These situations are frustrating for all parties and in the end, it is the animal that suffers.

Please take the following precautions:

** 1. If you travel with your pet, bring all medications he/she may need, and bring some documentation of any health conditions your dog or cat may have, as regular vets often close before, during and after holidays. The more you or your caretaker can inform an out-of-town vet about the health of your loved one, the better his/her medical care will be.

** 2. Ensure that anyone you leave your pet with is prepared/willing to take financial responsibility for any medical care that may be required while you are gone. Another alternative is for you to leave a credit card or credit card # and expiration date behind.

** 3. Ensure your pet caretaker has the ability to contact you: cell phone # and e-mail addresses are a must. Many caretakers with animal emergencies are reluctant to call the guardians when out of the country, out of concern for waking them up. Please be tech-savvy enough to check your e-mail and/or text messages frequently.

The days after Thanksgiving or Christmas, my lobby will be filled with vomiting dogs whose guardians will (reluctantly) confess to having fed their dogs turkey, skin, turkey bones, and other assorted holiday leftovers. Pancreatitis is a serious illness with a high incidence around the holidays. There are safer ways to give thanks that your pet loves you unconditionally — a new chew toy (Nylabone for small dogs, no Greenies, rawhides, or pigs ears!), dog bed, or extra trip to the dog park perhaps.

Chocolate exposure to dogs is very high in the next month. Take care not to leave any chocolate within reach of your dog (or cat!) … not even for a second!

Cats seem to love playing with the ribbon and strings you throw on the floor when you unwrap your presents. Mischievous cats often eat these things and require surgery to remove them when they get stuck in kitty’s intestines. Please be aware of this and discard string and ribbon with care.

Wishing you a safe and happy holiday season for you and your pets.
Barry Kipperman, DVM, DACVIM, VetCare Emergency & Specialist Care Center, Dublin, Calif.

Dear Barry & readers:
And a very merry and happy holiday season for you and especially your pets! /Gary

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No Responses to “Pets & Holidays: How to make them safer for your pets”

  1. Barbara Says:

    “Mischievous cats often eat these things and require surgery to remove them when they get stuck in kitty’s intestines.”

    Ditto tinsel: Leave off the tree. My cat had to have surgery Christmas Day.

  2. mary Says:

    Some vets will allow their patients fill out a letter of responsibility authorizing a third party to bring the animal in for treatment. The owner promises to assume the costs. Might be safer to check that out rather than handing over credit card numbers.

  3. Sherri Says:

    Hi Gary, I’ve never blogged and don’t use computer much but something important has just come to my attention. I hope you bring to the attention of your readers in print and on the blog about the netting they now use to encase Christmas trees for easier handling and transport. Costco netted our tree but realized when removing it would probably end up in the ocean, possibly hurting our wildlife. I’ve taken to snipping the netting into very small pieces so even if swallowed it would hopefully just pass through. Love the column. Please, please, please get the word out. I’m so grateful. Thanks.
    Sherri, Rossmoor

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