Archive for December, 2017

Holiday Pet Safety Tips from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)

December abounds with holiday celebrations, but 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.
  • 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), and the 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:
  1. Chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats.
  2. 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.
  3. Turkey and turkey skin – sometimes even in small amounts – can cause a life-threatening condition in pets known as pancreatitis.
  4. 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.
  5. Yeast dough can cause problems for pets, including painful gas and potentially dangerous bloating.


  • Greenery, lights and Christmas trees can make the holidays festive, but they also pose risky temptations for our pets.
  • Christmas trees can tip over if pets climb on them or try to play with the lights and ornaments. Consider tying your tree to the ceiling or a doorframe using fishing line to secure it.
  • Water additives for Christmas trees can be hazardous to your pets. Do not add aspirin, sugar, or anything to the water for your tree if you have pets in the house.
  • Ornaments can cause hazards for pets. Broken ornaments can cause injuries, and ingested ornaments can cause intestinal blockage or even toxicity. Keep any homemade ornaments, particularly those made from salt-dough or other food-based materials, out of reach of pets.
  • Tinsel and other holiday decorations also can be tempting for pets to eat. Consuming them can cause intestinal blockages, sometimes requiring surgery. Breakable ornaments or decorations can cause injuries.
  • Electric lights can cause burns when a curious pet chews the cords.
  • Flowers and festive plants can result in an emergency veterinary visit if your pet gets hold of them. Amaryllis, mistletoe, balsam, pine, cedar, and holly are among the common holiday plants that can be dangerous and even poisonous to pets who decide to eat them. Poinsettias can be troublesome as well. The ASPCA offers lists of plants that are toxic to dogsand cats.
  • Candles are attractive to pets as well as people. Never leave a pet alone in an area with a lit candle; it could result in a fire.
  • Potpourris should be kept out of reach of inquisitive pets. Liquid potpourris pose risks because they contain essential oils and cationic detergents that can severely damage your pet’s mouth, eyes and skin. Solid potpourris could cause problems if eaten.

Holiday Travel Tips

Holiday Travel Tips

The holidays are the busiest time of year to travel.  AAA estimates that 99 million people will travel between the week of Christmas and New Year’s.  Take the stress out by following these tips:

If you are driving…

  • Plan your route ahead of time, including hotel reservations if you are staying overnight while on the way to your destination.
  • Keep roadside assistance information at hand so you can act quickly if your vehicle has trouble
  • Always keep a spare cell phone charger in your car
  • Pack a winter safety kit with ice scraper, shovel, jumper cables tire chains, tow rope, flashlight, blanket, and first aid kit

If you are flying…

  • Plan carefully, during winter travel, you may experience flight delays and cancellations
  • Pack light. Many airlines charge for baggage. Take only what you need and consider shipping gifts ahead of time
  • Leave early to allow you a buffer against delays and crowds. Consider taking light rail to the airport
  • Download your airline company’s app on your phone so you can stay informed about any changes
  • Bring your own small blanket on the plane to avoid germs on the rarely cleaned ones airlines provide
  • Stay hydrated, the pressurized airplane cabin is very dry
  • Bring healthy snacks
  • Move around to avoid blood clots. Taking a walk or even tapping your feet will help.

If you are bringing children…

  • Give yourself lots of time and opportunities to rest along the way.
  • Bring a spare set of clothing
  • Pack some small toys
  • Remind your children not to talk to strangers

If you are travelling with pets…

  • Make sure your pet had ID and is microchipped. If you are taking a carrier, write live animal on the carrier and attached a photo of your pet.
  • Get your pet up to date on vaccinations
  • Make sure the animal is secure in the car, always travel with them in a carrier
  • If flying, take a direct flight
  • Make frequent stops if travelling by car and allow your pet some exercise (it is good for you too!)

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