Keeping Your Dog Safe and Healthy During the Holidays

photoOh yes, the holidays kicked off last week with Thanksgiving and now Christmas is just around the corner! A time to be grateful for the things we have and for those we love, including our canine companions. Many dog owners share their holiday meals with their pet as a sign of thanks and love, and while this may be a seemingly innocent gesture, it will actually be better to refrain from doing so. We know how fast the pounds can add up over the holidays, and dogs are not exempt from this rule. A high fat diet and being overweight is just as unhealthy for them as it is for us.

Pancreatitis is only one of the many health problems that are caused by poor diet. The typical victim is at least middle aged and overweight, and very often the disease strikes following a party or big holiday meal. So if you regularly give your pet table scraps and unhealthy snacks, you should practice extra caution, as the risk of an acute pancreatitis attack may already be high. This also doesn’t mean that it’s okay to indulge him “once in a while” or “just for the holidays”, as you may not be as alert to the symptoms during this time and things can turn bad pretty quickly.

The warning signs of pancreatitis include severe and regular vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea that may contain blood, weakness, reluctance to walk, crying, pain, restlessness, and irritability. The disease can occur once or be chronic. It can also cause some serious side effects such as liver or kidney damage, shock, blood clots, and heart arrhythmia. If you spot any pancreatitis symptoms, no matter how mild, get your dog to the vet at once.

During the holidays, however, several animal clinics may be closed, which is all the more reason why you shouldn’t share the family feast with your pet. But do have an emergency number on hand in case you need it.

Make sure that no foods are left on the tables and counters which your dog can get to. When you’re done cleaning up the kitchen and dining area, take the trash out and dispose of it in a place that your pet cannot access.

Cooked turkey, goose, duck, and other bird bones are dangerous to your dog as they are hollow and can easily break into sharp pieces that can cause choking or tear the intestines. This is especially unsafe because symptoms can start showing only after a few days. Chocolate is another danger to canines. In fact, it can be fatal to them!

Remember, the best way to thank your pets during this holiday season is by keeping them healthy!

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