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Thanksgiving Precautions For Your Pets

Thanksgiving is a holiday for feasts, family and friends. Put the family pet into the middle of the mix and you may be asking for trouble. The following tips should help keep this holiday safe for your four-legged guests.

Thanksgiving feasts are meant for people and not pets:

  • Discourage well-meaning guests from spoiling pets with extra treats and scraps from the dinner table. Overindulgence with fatty, rich or spicy foods can cause stomach upset in the form of vomiting and diarrhea and can potentially lead to an inflammatory condition of the pancreas, known as pancreatitis, which can be life threatening if not treated promptly.
  • If you do decide to feed your pet a little nibble of turkey, make sure it is boneless and well cooked. Raw or undercooked turkey may contain salmonella bacteria which can cause severe stomach upset.
  • Most people understand that chocolate is poisonous to pets, and that the darker it is the more deadly it is, but an artificial sweetener called Xylitol has also been shown to be just as deadly to dogs. Xylitol is a common sweetener used in baked goods so, to be safe, avoid sharing your dessert with your pets.
  • Raw bread dough is dangerous for pets too and when it is ingested the pet’s body heat may actually cause it to rise in their stomach. As it expands the pet may experience vomiting, abdominal pain and bloating, which could become a life-threatening emergency requiring surgery.
  • Other common holiday foods that are poisonous to pets include the onions, garlic, raisins and grapes.
  • Dispose of turkey carcasses and any bones left on plates in a covered, tightly secured container along with anything used to wrap or tie the meat. These are also potential hazards and can be very tempting for your pets. A pet that “discovers” the carcass can quickly eat so much that they develop pancreatitis. Poultry or other soft bones can easily splinter when eaten and can cause damage to your pet’s mouth and esophagus or could get stuck in the stomach and intestines, requiring surgical removal.

If you want to treat your pet for Thanksgiving, buy a treat that is made just for them. You can purchase something from your veterinarian or a local pet food store. Your pet will enjoy the treat just as much, and chances are you won’t spend the holiday at the emergency clinic

Decorations can also be dangerous to pets so as you dress your Thanksgiving table with a centerpiece and flowers, remember to keep them up and away from your pets. Some decorations look good enough to eat, and pets may decide to have a taste. Depending on the flower or decoration, this can result in stomach upset or worse.

  • Lilies, in particular, are deadly to cats.
  • Pine cones and needles when consumed can cause an intestinal blockage or even perforate the animal’s intestine.
  • String like items when consumed can damage your pet’s intestines and could prove fatal if not surgically removed.

If you believe your pet has been poisoned or has gotten into something it shouldn’t have, please call us at Companion Animal Hospital at 902-434-3111. After hours, please contact the Metro Animal Emergency Clinic at 902-468-0674.

For some pets, houseguests can be scary:

  • Some pets are shy or excitable around new people, and Thanksgiving often means new people will be visiting. If you know your dog or cat can be overwhelmed when people come over, put them in another room or a crate so they’re out of the frenzy and feel safe. You might even want to consider boarding them to remove them completely from this upsetting situation. If your pet is particularly upset by houseguests, talk to your veterinarian about possible solutions to this common problem.
  • If your pets are comfortable around guests, make sure you watch them closely when your houseguests are entering or leaving to make sure your four-legged family member doesn’t make a break for it out the door and become lost.
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How to make medication request hassle-free!

Getting your requests to your veterinarian can be quite a process, especially when you are uncertain about the necessary information we need to fulfill the request. Let’s take this opportunity to review the information required and help you understand why it's helpful in ensuring a smooth and hassle-free experience. What do I need to know before I make a prescription request?   There are 5 important pieces of information you'll need to have ready to relay to your veterinary team when requesting a prescription. Medication name Medication concentration Medication dose Medication instructions Quantity you need Let me explain what each one is and why we need it. This information can all be found on your pet's medication label.  Medication Name – This is simple enough; it is the name of your medication, and yes, it is very important. If you call and say you want to refill Fluffy’s eye medication, this won’t help us if they are on 3 different eye medications. Knowing the name of your pet’s medication can be the difference between the correct refill and the wrong refill. Medication Concentration – All medications come in many concentrations, and we want to ensure that your pet gets the correct one to avoid the risk of over- or under-dosing. The concentration is either written as milligrams, mg/mL or a percentage. Pills and tablets can be things like 2.5mg, 10mg, etc. Liquids will be in forms such as 20mg per ml, 200mg/ml, etc., and other medications, such as eye ointments, may say something like 2%. Medication Dose – The dose indicates how much of the medication your pet should be given and how often—for example, 1 tablet every 12 hours or a 1/4″ strip 3 times a day. Medication Instructions – We don't have the exact wording of your label, but we need to know how you are giving the medication currently. This may sound something like I give 1 pill in the morning and 2 pills in the evening or I give 3 units every 12 hours, etc. If what you are giving is different from what is on your medication label, then tell us what you are currently giving and why. It is not recommended to change medication instructions without speaking to your veterinarian.   Quantity You Need – To ensure you have the supply uu need and avoid multiple trips, please be sure to know what amount(s) of your pet's medication(s) you need. This may be given as a number amount, such as 30 pills or the length of time the medication needs to last,  such as 30 days worth. If you tell us 1 bottle, it doesn't necessarily help us as many medications come in multiple-sized bottles. TIP: Create a folder in your phone’s photo album called Medications, take pictures of your pet’s medication labels, and place them in there for quick access!   Keep in mind that your veterinarian pharmacy, like all other pharmacies, will need time to fill your medication. We kindly ask that you give us 24-48 hours' notice for filling medications as our veterinary staff are very busy and may not always have time to fill medications same-day. TIP: If you are like me and have trouble remembering to get medications refilled on time until you use the last one, there's an APP for that!   If it's a regular medication - there is an app called medisafe that lets you track medications and can be used for pet medications as well. You can set custom notifications to remind you when to refill your medication, such as when you have 5 pills left. If the medication is your pet’s flea and tick medication, check out the app "Flea & Tick"  (iPhone) (Android). This app allows you to track when you last gave your pet their last dose and upload a photo of your medication so you always have what it is at your fingertips. Lastly, look for things your clinic may have, such as QR codes on your medication bottles to help remind you to refill when you run low or website pages like ours (Pharmacy Requests) to make it easier for you to request your medication. Stayed tuned for Part 2.   Written by: Ashely G, VT

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