Can you believe it? It’s Thanksgiving time. Again. Let’s give thanks to our pets for all the love and joy they bring to our everyday lives..… but let’s also keep our furry friends safe this holiday season! Thanksgiving is a popular time for family gatherings. This may also bring about incidents that we were not expecting. Our fur babies get ill from eating something they shouldn’t have, escape, or become stressed. Keep these pet safety tips in mind to ensure a happy, healthy holiday for ALL your family members! Will you be in the kitchen busy cooking and preparing? Bustling around town to visit family and friends? You need to be careful too! Working in the kitchen with your pets underfoot can be dangerous! You don’t want kitty to jump on your counter and lick the turkey gravy or step on a hot pan! Start your morning off by taking Charlie to a dog park or walking a few miles. This will be invigorating to both you and your energetic pal. A tired pet is a good pet! Set your furry companion up to succeed by providing plenty of physical and mental stimulation before your guests arrive, to prevent unwanted behaviors.
During mealtime, keep pets busy somewhere else! Give your dog a frozen Kong, or your kitty an interactive puzzle game filled with salmon snacks, in a completely different room. This will prevent your pets from having access to fallen food (which could be dangerous, even toxic), or defiant relatives who insist on slipping your pet some table scraps. These are the family culprits to keep an eye on. Consider keeping your pets out of the kitchen and dining areas completely, to prevent counter surfing, garbage raiding, and floor scavenging. If you know that your pet will easily stress out,talk to your veterinarian about possible tranquilizers or calming remedies. Watch the front door! Many pets can accidentally escape during busy holiday times when people are in and out of doors.Keep your pet safe by putting up gates, and keeping them away from commonly used doorways. Consider putting up a sign on the outside and inside of your main entrance, to warn guests to be aware of pets by the door. If you are having guests over, it would be wise to talk to them about not feeding your pets, being careful where they put their wine glass and watch where they are stepping. Getting tails and feet stepped on is painful!
We may violate our diets and good senses, but don’t subject your pets to the dangers of overfeeding. There are certain holiday foods that are toxic to our pets. Stuffing, turkey bones, ham, nuts, raisins, grapes are just some food that are harmful to our pets. (LINK) Be sure to caution all guests, both kids and adults, not to give your pets anything except their normal food and treats. Non-pet owners are often unaware of the dangers of offering food from their plate to your begging pets.Keep all candy and baked goods out of reach of hungry pets and make sure your cat or dog isn’t left unsupervised in the kitchen. Again, when removing string from ham or other packaged meats, place it in a plastic bag and dispose of it outside immediately. Some pets find packaging quite tasty and will chew and swallow it. Never give your pets alcoholic beverages, chocolate, or people food of any kind. With tasty morsels everywhere, even the best-behaved pet may be tempted to steal food from the kitchen counter or rummage through the garbage. So keep food pushed toward the back of counters. Incredibly, dogs have been known to pull whole turkeys off of counters and tables!
Don’t just expect that your pets, which may not be used to increased traffic in the house, will take this added stress in stride. Take precautions to create a safe haven to which they can retreat. Provide a quiet room where your cat or dog can escape the holiday activities and guests. Make sure to include their food, water, and favorite scratching post or bed. Put on the TV or soft soothing music. It’s also a great time to make sure that all pets have collars with current ID tags and information.
While pumpkin pie is the most famous Thanksgiving dessert, many people offer a variety of pies at Thanksgiving, including chocolate pie. Chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats, yet dogs love the smell and taste of it. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is. Keep chocolate pie and all chocolate desserts out of the reach of pets to prevent an emergency trip to the veterinarian.If your pets ingest any of these foods this Thanksgiving, be sure to call your veterinarian immediately. Early action may prevent more costly and serious complications from developing. Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving from Pacific Animal Hospital!
Cats tend to age more gracefully than dogs, but they still age. Eventually, they can’t jump to the top of the refrigerator or shelves in the family room. They tend to sleep more and their love for food gradually decreases. You can help your senior kitty enjoy their golden years. When you see your kitty start to have issues jumping into and out of the litter box, couch, beds, etc., it is time to talk with your veterinarian. Arthritis can be a concern in older cats. Medications, acupuncture and laser therapy can help. Laser Therapy reduces inflammation that results in pain reduction. It is also effective in treating acute pain, chronic conditions, and post-operative pain. Laser therapy treatment is safe, painless and fast. Pacific Animal Hospital offers Laser Therapy to our furry companions! LINK
As cats get older, you’ll also see increased or decreased sleep, avoiding human interaction, and dislike of being stroked or brushed. Some cats may experience behavioral changes as they age. Sometimes they’ll cry in the middle of the night, or won’t use their litter box reliably. They may seem confused or won’t relate to family members in the usual way. These can be signs of arthritis, dental disease, kidney disease, urinary tract infection or other health issues. Your veterinarian can advise the frequency of health checks that would best suit your cat, taking into consideration age and general health. Although it’s good to know your cat will be regularly examined, it shouldn’t prevent you from being a little more vigilant at home to spot the first signs that all is not well. There are a number of general warning signs that need attention, such as:
Loss of appetite, weight loss, drinking more often or drinking a larger amount per day, stiffness, lameness or difficulty in jumping up, lethargy, lumps or bumps anywhere on the body, balance problems, urine or stool accidents or difficulty passing urine or feces, disorientation or distress, uncharacteristic behavior, such as hiding, aggression, excessive vocalization……
Twice a year senior wellness visits are recommended. Our pets can’t tell us where it hurts and they hide illnesses very well. If you catch an illness early on, treatment is much more successful. Routine tests such as blood or urinalysis tests can pick up the very earliest signs of kidney problems, diabetes, hyperthyroid disease and other illnesses in the early stages. If you notice your pet’s appetite, bathroom habits, vocalizations and activity level has changed, a trip to the vet is the next step. These are symptoms that shouldn’t be ignored. Take action if you sense something is wrong.
Most important of all is to make sure your kitty is eating and drinking plenty of water. Check with your veterinarian for suggestions for the right senior diet for your pet; there are many varieties. If your cat has difficulty bending down to eat, try putting the food on a raised platform. Pet stores sell raised feeding stations plus automatic feeders with timers for seniors who now prefer eating several small meals a day. A good quality canned food is a fabulous method for adding more water to your cat’s diet. Many cats crave the taste of canned food, and will gobble it up in seconds. However, keep in mind that it is not uncommon for an older cat to turn up its nose at canned food when it has only been fed dry kibble its whole life. In this case, try heating the food in the microwave. The sensational smell may entice your pet to indulge.
Cat fountains really help encourage cats to drink. This is especially important in older cats. Another technique to increase water consumption is getting a wider water dish. Silly as it may seem, some cats do not enjoy having their whiskers touch the edge of the bowl. Experiment with dishes in their width, depth, material, and location. Some cats may only drink out of a specific type of dish, while others will have no discrimination. In addition, make an attempt to position multiple water dishes around the house to allow for easier access to water when your cat wants to quench its thirst. Change the water often, as some cats will only drink fresh water. Please remember that all of these suggestions are for a healthy cat. If you notice your cat is dehydrated or just drinking less than normal, make an appointment to have kitty be examined as soon as possible.
To make things easier for our aging felines, help them reach their favorite spots. Set up ramps or steps so they can easily get to a window to bird watch or enjoy their environment. Place soft, thicker bedding in the areas where they love to lounge. If they haven’t already, eventually they will take over Fido’s bed! A nightlight will help a senior cat with poor eyesight. Give them a daily brushing to help keep their coats tidy. Treat them as you would an elderly relative. Patience, lots of love, observation and making allowances for them will keep them happy during their golden years. Getting old isn’t easy, especially when the one growing older is your feline companion. Giving a little extra attention to your senior kitty’s health care may help them live a longer and healthier life. PAH feline friends, Cash and Gypsy enjoying their nap time together!