The holidays are a wonderful time to spend with family, friends and our pets. We all know we even sneak a gift or two under the Christmas tree for that special furry friend. We all know that we give them a few extra treats from our very own Christmas dinner.
Here a few tips to a happy and safe holiday season;
Be careful to keep alcohol and food well out of reach of your pets. Keep a bowl of dog treats handy for guests to offer your pets rather than them offering food from their plates. Label it in a fun way, such as, “Fido’s Christmas Cheer!!” or use a cute saying “If you feel the need to feed me something yummy, please be careful of my tummy and use only treats put out by my Mommy” to remind your guests of appropriate pet treats. Many foods that we eat during this time of year are high in fat, which can cause pancreatitis, or even may contain ingredients that are toxic to animals.
Don’t keep wrapped boxes of chocolates or other food items under the tree. Pets have an amazing sense of smell and can sniff right through the wrapping. Keep decorations elevated and be sure to secure your Christmas tree from potentially being knocked over. Never leave candles unsupervised. Keep your pets away from poinsettia, mistletoe, holly berries and lilies, all of these have the potential to make your pet quite sick. Lilies in particular to cats, are extremely toxic even without ingestion. Just having them in the house can be fatal to your cat.
Cold weather, slush, ice, and snow are all synonymous with winter. It is important that we remember to keep our pets warm and dry too. Sweaters and coats are a great investment for short-haired dogs and dogs that are clipped. Heavier coated dogs will develop an undercoat to help them maintain their natural heat but dogs that are groomed and short-haired dogs are lacking in this undercoat. Hypothermia can set in very quickly, having severe side effects. Watch out for ice and snow sticking to the bottom of their feet, especially between their pads. This can make it very uncomfortable for a dog to walk and can cause cracking and chaffing of the area. Older dogs benefit from wearing footwear in the winter due to arthritis. Never use a snow blower with your pet present. The loud noise will often scare them and the blades are extremely dangerous.
Many pets suffer from dry skin through the winter months due to heating our homes. Omega fatty acid supplements are a great way to moisture their skin and prevent dandruff and itchiness.
Many pets gain weight through the winter months. Consider switching to a lower calorie food, decreasing the amount they get, or better yet, continue to exercise them. Reflective gear is a great idea as it gets dark earlier in the evening.
Take extra precaution when starting your car. Pets and wildlife sometimes climb into the engine area of cars for warmth and to get out of the wind and snow. Bang your hood before getting into your car or press your electronic lock button/horn to activate a sound prior to starting your car to hopefully encourage them to run out.
Ethylene glycol, a sweet-tasting, odorless liquid, is the active ingredient in antifreeze/engine coolant. Ethylene glycol can also be found, in lower concentrations, in some windshield de-icing agents, hydraulic brake fluid, motor oils, solvents, paints, film processing solutions, wood stains, inks, printer cartridges, etc. Be extra vigilant when topping up these fluids that they do not spill onto your driveway or into the snow.
While these liquids smell and taste sweet to pets they are extremely toxic and therefore require immediate attention for the best chance of survival.
If you suspect or know your pet has ingested Ethylene Glycol it is critical that you bring your pet to a veterinary clinic immediately, or if he is exhibiting any of the early symptoms. Do not wait; time is of the essence and immediate treatment is essential! Left untreated, the animal will die. Dogs must be treated within 8-12 hours of ingesting antifreeze, while cats must be treated within 3 hours of ingesting antifreeze, as the antidote only has a narrow time period to work.
Common signs to watch for:
- Excessive thirst or urination
- Acute kidney failure
In case of emergency while we are out of the office; please contact The Emergency Vet Clinic in Brampton located in the Wexford Plaza at the corner of Wexford Dr. and Hurontario 905-495-9907