The Perfect Holiday Gift for Your Pet

Are you still making your list and checking it twice?

If you are still on the hunt for the perfect holiday gift for your pet this year, make sure to take the following suggestions into account. After all, who deserves the absolute perfect present more than your faithful friend?

Gift Ideas For Your Pet

Treats–Treats can make great gifts, but use some discretion when choosing them. Have you heard about the kidney problems that have been occurring with jerky treats? Steer clear of these. Sometimes homemade gifts are the best kind. There are a lot of great ideas and recipes for treats that you can make at home for your pets. This way you know exactly what you are getting. Continue…

Holiday Plant Primer

 

Around the holidays, our homes are filled with all sorts of objects that aren’t there the rest of the year.  Many times this includes festive plants of all kinds.  These plants often end up in the mouths of curious pets, especially puppies and kittens.  Some may not cause any problems at all, but many cause side effects ranging from mild to severe.  Here is the low-down on a few of the more common holiday house guests:

Poinsettia

While the poinsettia plant is perhaps the most infamous holiday plant, its reputation is not entirely deserved.  Its extreme toxicity is largely an urban legend.  The plant is mildly toxic and irritating to the mucous membranes.  While it is unlikely to cause severe illness, it is probably best to keep this plant out of reach.

Mistletoe

The level of toxicity of mistletoe largely depends on the variety, but the berries of both the American and European variety cause stomach irritation at small doses. At larger doses, it can trigger much more serious problems (including low blood pressure, seizures, and disorientation).

Holly

Eating holly can result in severe stomach upset in dogs and cats.  Signs that your pet has eaten holly include smacking of lips, drooling, head shaking, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.

Lilies

Lilies are very popular around the holidays, but they are deadly for cats.  Ingestion causes severe stomach upset, heart arrhythmias, kidney failure, and death.

Christmas tree

Don’t discount the tree!  The oils and sap can be irritating to the mouth and stomach, which can lead to drooling and vomiting.

The Holiday Foods Naughty List

Happy holiday season to all of our friends, furry and otherwise!  We hope that this is a happy, healthy time of year for you all.  While we love to see all of you, we don’t want your pet to visit us unexpectedly during the holidays, so we are providing you with a list of the top five holiday foods that will land your pet in the hospital.

Top Five Holiday Foods That Can Land Your Pet in the Hospital

  •  Chocolate

It’s the main ingredient in many seasonal treats, and your pets may want to indulge as much as you do.  It is best, however, for our four-legged friends to avoid chocolate in all of its forms.  The offending ingredient is theobromine which is found in the highest concentrations in baking and dark chocolate.  Toxicity is dose dependent, which means that the smaller your critter, the less theobromine it will take to cause problems.  At lower doses, pets will experience jitteriness and vomiting/diarrhea. At higher doses, much more serious effects can occur including increased or irregular heart rate, seizures, or even death.

  • Raisins/grapes

Before you throw a piece of Aunt Louise’s fruitcake to Fido, think twice.  Raisins and grapes can cause irreversible kidney damage in pets.  Some animals seem to be more sensitive than others, and there is no way to know how sensitive yours is until it is too late.

  • Alcohol

Most people would never intentionally give their pet alcohol, however that glass of eggnog on the end table may prove to be too tempting for Rover to avoid.  Alcohol ingestion can lead to low heart rate, hypoglycemia, seizures, even respiratory failure.  Also beware of desserts containing alcohol and raw yeast-containing dough that can produce alcohol as it ferments.

  • Artificial sweeteners

If you have candies or sweets around that contain the artificial sweetener xylitol, know that even small amounts can cause a life-threatening decrease in blood sugar and liver failure in dogs.

  • Table scraps

Ingestion of people food, particularly fatty, rich foods can lead to mild to severe digestive upset, sometimes requiring hospitalization.  Some animals may even experience pancreatitis, a sometimes serious inflammation of the pancreas.

Enjoy the holiday with your pets. Just be sure that the only holiday treats they get are pet safe!

Is a Furry Gift Making Your List? Please Check Twice…

Everyone wants a puppy or kitten… right?  The truth is that taking on a new family member is a huge responsibility, and not everyone is up to the commitment.  While the image of a little furry friend sitting under the Christmas tree may be irresistible, giving a pet as a gift is a very serious matter.

With 6 to 8 million dogs and cats entering shelters every year, selecting a pet that is right for an individual family and situation is of utmost importance.  Because having a pet is a decision that an owner must be committed to for the pet’s entire life emotionally, financially, and physically, the selection of an animal is usually best left to the individual taking on the responsibility.  The holiday season is often not a good time to introduce a new family member, either, as new pets take extra time and attention often not available during this busy season.

Please think carefully before giving a furry gift, and certainly do not do so without discussing extensively with the recipient.  Or, if the surprise is a big part of the gift, consider giving a gift card to a local rescue or animal shelter that will cover the adoption costs. That way the recipient will still have the surprise of a new pet, but will also have the ability to pick one out that suits his or her lifestyle and personality.

Scary Halloween Hazards For Your Pet

Bulldog in Halloween costumeGhost and goblins aren’t the only hazards for Max and Mittens this Halloween.  Keep an eye out for these top Halloween pet dangers:

Chocolate

This common Halloween treat is not for your pet.  Chocolate, especially in the form of dark or baking chocolate, can be toxic.

Artificial sweeteners

Beware of baked goods or candies sweetened with xylitol.  Just a small amount of this artificial sweetener could be deadly.

Halloween plants

Traditional Halloween decorations like pumpkins and corn are not toxic, but ingestion could cause digestive upset or an obstruction.

Wires and electrical cords

Decorating for the holidays often leads to cords in places where they are not normally.  Be sure all these are out of the reach of curious teeth and that your pet cannot become tangled in them.

Candles

If you choose to light up your Jack O’Lantern with a candle, keep it out of the way of mischievous cats and dogs to prevent burns.

Costumes

If you choose to dress up your pet, be sure that its costume fits well and does not obstruct vision, hearing, or breathing.  A costumed pet should always be supervised so that it does not become tangled in the costume or chew off pieces.

If you do get your pet into a costume, we’d love to see it! Share your pictures in our Pet Gallery or on our Facebook page.

Trick or treaters

When opening your door to hand out candy, be sure your pets are secure in the house.  Stressful activity and an open door can lead to lost pets very quickly.

Decorations

Be sure that tempting decorations like tinsel, ribbons, and other potentially ingestible items are kept out of reach from curious pets.

If you think that your pet may have gotten into something that he shouldn’t have, please don’t hesitate to call us.