As Christmas draws closer, the staff at Morinville Vet Clinic are thinking about more than just how big a tree to get, or whether to invite their aunt to dinner after that incident last year. They are also thinking about all the extra risks there are for pets at this time of year. Our wish is that no pet have the stress of an emergency associated with the season.
The first risk to consider is all the strange, fascinating things that are suddenly being set out. There are the shiny decorations just begging to be batted around and chewed. You can bet that every day in December, there is a pet somewhere in Edmonton that has just discovered there is a tree full of “toys” right in their living room. Of course, there is the tree itself, which some cats see as a green jungle gym. After all the accidents he has seen, Dr High ties his own tree to the wall every year.
Aside from things to play with at Christmas, there are all the things to eat, all conveniently set out on coffee tables. There are all the rich foods that give dogs upset stomachs. There are the plants with toxic leaves that give cats upset stomachs (worst of these are poinsettia and holly) when they chew on them. Then there is chocolate. Dogs and cats seem to love eating chocolate, whether set out on a table or wrapped under the tree. Every year, Dr Kinsman is sure to see at least one dog that has eaten enough chocolate to put its life at risk. These dogs need to be made to vomit to get the chocolate out before it gets to the bloodstream and causes heart problems or worse.
The other risk that pets face at Christmas time is the chaotic routine. Most pets are used to a predictable routine. There are the same people in the house every day. There are no unpredictable noises. The same food is fed at the same time every day. For some pets, especially cats, changing that routine is very stressful. It is a situation that can lead a pet to hide, have accidents in the house, or bite someone. Dr Yau commonly has discussions with clients about the effects of stress on their pets. There are many treatments, but the best solution is to minimize the stress.
The vets and staff at Morinville Veterinary Clinic wish you and your pets a safe and happy Christmas!