Holiday Pet Safety - Furry Friend Friday

It's time for Furry Friend Friday, presented by West Coast Animal Hospital.

I'm Alex Steiniger. The holidays are almost here, full of friends, family, and food. But for pets, these times can be a little bit confusing. Dr. Brianne Bower of West Coast Animal Hospital is here to help everybody enjoy the season. Dr. Bower, great to see you again.

With the holidays coming up, is there anything that pet parents absolutely need to know to keep their pets safe?

With the holidays coming up, our pets are exposed to a lot of new sights, sounds, and even decorations that altogether can cause either behavioral problems or the opportunity to eat something they shouldn't.

What do you mean specifically by behavioral issues?

With the holidays, our pets are having a change to their normal routine, which unfortunately can cause them anxiety and make them act out in ways they normally wouldn't. So for any pet parent that knows they're going to be having some social gatherings, I recommend planning ahead and discussing options to help our pets cope with these stressful situations beforehand. A lot of options include either just changes to the home environment, or there is also anti-anxiety medications that pets can take as well.

What would you say is the most common problem that pet owners run into during the holidays?

The most common problem I face is dietary indiscretion. So most pet's owners know to keep their pets away from chocolate during the holiday season, but unfortunately don't know that also includes other holiday foods like ham or turkey, which can also make our pets feel sick. The other thing our pets love to eat is the decorations. So things like ornaments or ribbons, if eaten, can make our pets feel sick. The most severe cases requiring emergency surgery.

What should pet parents do if the pet eats something that they shouldn't?

If they ate something and you're not sure what to do, your first step should always be to contact a veterinarian. They will let you know if your pet needs to be seen immediately or just to be on the lookout for signs at home. Other options include contacting pet poison control. There is a fee for their services, but they are experts in knowing how to treat specific toxic ingestion of food, plants, or medications. They'll give you a case log that your veterinarian can call and discuss the specific treatment for your pet.

Dr. Bower, thank you so much. Happy Holidays to you. And let West Coast Animal Hospital take the stress out of going to the vet. Call (619) 431-1423, or visit West Coast Vet to receive top-quality care for your pets.