Dog Days of the Holiday

With the holiday season in full swing, it’s important to keep family pets safe and out of the vet’s office.

Jeanna Montgomery, a veterinarian at Preston Center Animal Clinic, weighed in on the dos and don’ts of the holiday season when it comes to keeping pets safe.

Montgomery’s biggest concern is feeding dogs table food, especially fats or bones from meat. This is the most common reason a dog comes to her clinic.

“The number one thing that usually happens is people want to give them a treat so they give them a fatty food when they normally don’t have fatty foods,” Montgomery said.

Human food gives dogs stomach problems, according to Montgomery, who is a pet owner herself. An upset stomach can cause the dog to vomit or have diarrhea. Foods like chocolate, raisins, and macadamia nuts can be toxic to dogs.

“Stick with their regular diet,” Montgomery said. “If you wanted to give them a treat, give them a treat they are used to that isn’t likely to cause issues. Resist the temptation to feed them table scraps or treats that can be toxic or cause tummy upset.”

Cats can be more curious than dogs and might get themselves into trouble by playing with decorations like ornaments or ingesting tinsel from the Christmas tree.

When it comes to boarding pets for Thanksgiving or Christmas, Montgomery recommends visiting the location beforehand with the pets or asking friends and family if they can suggest a certified facility that they trust, since stress at a boarding facility can make animals ill.

Montgomery says visitors during the holidays can also stress pets out. It’s important to keep an eye on them in case they are tempted to run away from the stress.

“Make sure the doors are secure and make sure gates aren’t left open,” she said. “Pets get lost track of a little bit.”

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