It’s that time of year again. Everyone is full of excitement (or stress) about the holidays. Holidays mean a lot of things for humans including visits from family, lots of food, decorations and more. For our furry friends, holidays often mean veterinary emergencies. Anyone who has ever worked in a vet clinic during the holiday season will tell you the “12 emergencies of Christmas” as they relate to animals.

Everyone knows that chocolate is bad for dogs and to keep Christmas candy out of reach. Did you know, however, that feeding your dog a lot of fatty foods including turkey skin can cause a condition called pancreatitis? This illness can lead to your beloved critter having to spend the holidays at the vet clinic. In some situations, it can even be life threatening.

Cats and Christmas decorations don’t mix! Kitties just can’t resist the sparkle of tinsel. The trouble is, they tend to swallow it, resulting in the need for emergency surgery, usually at 10:00 at night on Christmas Eve because cats just love to steal the spotlight. Poinsettias sitting on a counter are also a common hazard to pets during the holiday season. These beautiful plants are actually toxic if eaten.

In addition to all the things that a pet may eat, holidays can also be hard due to all the excitement. I myself have a dog who does not like new people. For her, having family and friends from out of town in my house would be extremely stressful. Be aware of your dog or cat’s limits with people. Give them a quiet room to escape the noise and excitement of holiday visits. Ask visitors to respect your pet’s space and let people know if an animal may not appreciate their attempts at affection.

Keep your pets safe this holiday season!

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