Sunday, December 11, 2011

Preparing for & Celebrating the Holidays with Pets {TNTML}

My little foster kitten inspired this weeks post by being all sorts of crazy and attacking my mini christmas tree (every night...). I'm sure some of this may be common sense but as a vet tech working before, during, and after the holidays I want to share a few precautions to take with your furry babies. Annnnd as a nerd, hopefully some of us get some awesome nerdy goodies for the holidays--how to protect your gifts from your terrible pets ;)

My older pets (really all four of them, the other two are lizards and stay in their enclosures) don't mess with my decorations. When they were younger they did but of course we get used to things and it wasn't until I started decorating for christmas this year that I began to realize I may be in trouble with this rambunctious foster kitten.
His main focus is my mini tree--thankfully (I guess) the lights died so they aren't on there. Its just cute little ornaments we recieved for christmas last year or the year before and this really pretty red ribbon. Oh and a glow in the dark star--hey I make christmas on a budget!!
Here are my tips!!
1. Absolutely no no no NOOOO tinsel strands!! Cats and dogs may try to eat this and if ingested it can get wrapped up in the intestines and cause serious injury or death. Expensive and major surgery is usually required. Keep this in mind also for yarn, string, thread, and any other linear object (ribbon etc). 
(example of strand tinsel)
The tinsel garland is ok because it breaks off in little pieces but I would still use extreme caution. (click here to view)
2. Always be careful with lights and wires. A little kitten or puppy can easily chew smart phone cords as well as lights and regular electric cords. Most pets learn to ignore it as they aren't really a good source of entertainment but a kitten will likely chew and play with it. They can get a really bad shock from that it they make contact with the actual wires.
3. As much as you may want to feed them holiday food BE CAREFUL!! Dogs and cats are used to the same diet every day and when you change it they can often get a stomach ache. What is more concerning is pancreatitis. Sometimes when pets eat food that is not their normal diet it can upset the pancreas. The pancreas is the organ that gives off digestive enzymes to digest food and when those enzymes are released early due to inflamed pancreas they can cause serious problems. Those digestive enzymes piss off the already inflamed pancreas and eventually it starts to affect the liver.
I do let my pets have a little bit of turkey, no skin, no fat, no gravy. Just plain turkey meat. Just watch what you give your fur babies and make sure it isn't high in fat and doesn't have much spices on it--those are the things that usually annoy the pancreas more but any food that a pet isn't used to can cause it. Vomiting, diarrhea, lethargic, painful abdomen, and fever are symptoms. They don't all have to happen together. If your pet is vomiting several times in one day I would go to the vet. Vomiting and diarrhea can drastically dehydrate the body.  
4. Chocolate--I think everyone knows chocolate is bad for dogs. And I would avoid it in cats as well. Bakers Chocolate is the absolute worst, then dark chocolate, semi sweet, and milk. If your pet eats any chocolate I would seek immediate veterinary help. They can eat a certain amount of milk chocolate but to be safe I would go to the vet. Theobromine (ingredient that is toxic to dogs) causes some serious gastrointestinal and cardiac issues. (Info on chocolate toxicitiy and toxic doses by weight and type of chocolate)
Anyway--these are just a few things I thought would be helpful for everyone while preparing for the holidays. 
Kitten Update: Little Boo, aka “The Kitten” is going to meet his new owner today and go home with him after he spends some time hanging out and making friends. I have very mixed emotions about this (as always). The dude is a really good friend of mine and SUPER awesome with animals and really really loves them. And he’s always wanted a baby kitten. So I’m really happy for my friend and Boo but I feel myself getting a little sad because I know I’ll miss him-- but I’m more worried that he will be scared, lonely, etc. I worry about them so much!!!
My friend already went out and bought all the kitty necessities so the house is ready for Boo. *sigh* This part is hard! We’ll take some pictures tonight of everyone with the kitty. I’ve got a few toys he’s taking with him, a little blanket, a shirt of mine (with all of our smells so he has something familiar…ok NOW I’m getting teary eyed. Buck up Lindsay!!), and I’m going to mail him the next dose of flea and heartworm medicine as a christmas gift.
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