Health Tips for Pets

Tinsel, Turkey, and Travel, Oh My! Holiday Safety for Pets

The holiday season is upon us, and many of us want to include our furry family members in the celebrations. As you prepare for the holidays, remember that it is important to try and keep your pet’s exercise and feeding routine as normal as possible. To help you along in this magical time of year, the team at Felton Veterinary Hospital has compiled some tips for celebrating the holidays safely with your pet.

Decorations

The Tree — Perhaps the quintessential holiday icon, the Christmas tree can pose some health hazards for dogs and cats. You may want to secure the tree to the wall, so that it can’t tip over. Watch carefully that pets don’t drink the Christmas tree water, which could cause stomach upset or diarrhea.

Poisonous Plants — Holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias all pose serious risks to pets if ingested. Substitute silk flowers and place them high up where they cannot be ingested.

Tinsel and Lights — Kitties especially love tinsel and twinkling lights, and often can’t resist bringing them down for some chewing. However the nibble can result in a swallow, which can lead to digestive tract issues, possibly requiring surgery. Hang them high, or decorate your tree with something else.

Ornaments — Glass and delicate ornaments can break, possibly cutting a paw or mouth. Keep ornaments to soft felt or wood, and again you may want to hang them high to avoid curious paws from reaching them.

Holiday Foods for Pets to Avoid

Common holiday foods that we all love to share can pose some serious health risks for our pets. If you want to share with your pets, keep it simple – a small piece of well cooked, lean turkey meat, unseasoned carrots or green beans, or a dollop of pumpkin puree can all be lovely treats for your furry friends this season. To avoid a trip to the emergency veterinary service this holiday season, here are the top holiday foods for pets to avoid.

  • Chocolate
  • Alcohol
  • Xylitol
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Fatty Table Scraps
  • Bones
  • Grapes and Raisins
  • Onions, Garlic, and Chives
  • Yeast dough

Holiday Visitors

Pets are creatures of routine and habit, and holiday visitors and loud gatherings may be stressful for them. To keep them calm and happy, here are some tips

A Quiet Place — Make sure your pet has a comfortable quiet place inside to retreat to if they wish. A crate or a room away from the action can let your pet calm down and give them a welcome break from the action.

Prep Ahead — let your guests know that you have pets, in case of allergies.

Exotic Pets — Exotic pets may be especially stressed by gatherings. Keep them safely away from the hubbub of the holidays.

Watch the Door — make sure your pet cannot slip out during comings and goings and get lost.

Microchip and Tags — Speaking of lost, make sure pets have a well-fitting collar and tags to make sure they can be identified if lost. Better yet, a microchip with up-to-date registration information can be your pet’s best chance of a reunion with you, should they slip out and get lost.

Clear the Food — Make sure food is cleared away before your pet can counter or table surf. Many a case of pancreatitis has been started by pets that get to a carcass or trash can during the holiday feast.

Wrapping Paper and Ribbon — Trash should be cleared away immediately, before curious pets can be tempted.

If you have other questions or concerns about how to keep your pets safe during the holidays, don’t hesitate to contact us. With a little planning and preparation, you can include your pets safely in your holiday celebrations!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swimming for Weight Loss – In dogs?

dog swimming

As we all think about getting into our swim suits this summer, perhaps the question on our minds is- oops- how can I lose a little weight? In addition to saying no to that next ice cream cone, swimming is often the answer for many people when they think about how to lose a few extra pounds. Guess what? For dogs, it is often the same (minus the ice cream!)

 

dogs resting in grass

Jake & Molly

Jake’s story

When Dianne brought her chocolate Labrador Retriever, Molly, in to see Dr Atton, she was 114 lbs and overweight. Dr Atton told Dianne that Molly needed to lose weight, and he meant it! It was hard work and took a lot of perseverance, canned pumpkin, and string beans, but after a year Molly reached her goal weight. Her favorite exercise is power walking!

Weekly weigh- ins are an important part of any weight loss program, and Molly was no exception! During one of the many trips Dianne made with Molly to weigh in, she saw a beautiful yellow lab named Jake in the lobby with his owner. Dianne commented on how handsome he was, and after he and his owner left, she learned that he was looking for a new home. After many days of discussion, Dianne and her husband decided to adopt Jake.

Like Molly, Jake was overweight, but now Dianne was an expert in doggy weight loss! Jake was put on a diet, and it was discovered that his favorite exercise is swimming!

Why is swimming a good option for weight loss in dogs?

Swimming is a great form of aerobic exercise and is good for dogs both young and old. “Swimming is potentially a year round opportunity for exercise for dogs with joint  or back problems”, says Dr. Atton of Felton Veterinary Hospital,  “and, just like with humans, many muscle groups are utilized  so it’s truly  a whole body exercise and many dogs absolutely love it!”

How can you tell if your dog needs to lose weight?

There are standards in veterinary care for how to tell if your pet is too thin, an ideal weight, or overweight. Your veterinarian can help you to determine your pet’s body condition and will likely use a chart similar to the one shown below.

It is important to have your veterinarian guide you in a weight loss plan that is tailored to your pet’s nutritional needs, along with a monitoring/ follow up program to monitor and maintain progress in a healthy way.

Dog Body Condition Chart

Is your dog overweight?

Where can I swim my dog in the Santa Cruz area?

There are a few areas that are well known, and some not so well known, where dogs are allowed to swim in Santa Cruz County. For fitness, a swimming pool is often preferred. For fun, here are some ideas!

Mitchell’s Cove State Beach – is the only beach in Santa Cruz where dogs are allowed off leash, and only before 10:00 am and after 4:00 pm.

It’s State Beach – Dogs are allowed on leash only and this commonly referred to “Dog” beach.

Hidden Beach- Aptos

Beer Can Beach- Aptos

Antonelli Pond – Delaware

Want more ideas for where to take your dog in Santa Cruz County? Check out this great blog with lots of good info on on-leash and off-leash fun with your dog.

http://santacruzlife.com/dog-friendly-santa-cruz/#off-leash