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Tips For A Safe, Happy Holiday With Your Pets

1. ROUTINE: Keeping regular mealtimes and walks or play-times will reduce stress for you and your pets during the hectic holidays.

2. PET SITTING: If you’re traveling, consider leaving your pets in a boarding facility or arranging for a pet sitter rather than burden your hosts with additional guests.

3. VISITING WITH PETS: If your hosts have four-legged companions, the pets should be supervised while they are getting to know one another. If you’re visiting a home without pets, monitor yours at all times – its amazing the trouble they can find in a non-pet-proofed house.

4. DIET: Stock up on pet food before the holidays to avoid a bare cupboard and sudden diet changes, which can cause vomiting and/or diarrhea. It’s also a good idea to carry water from home or bottled water if you are traveling.

5. TREATS AND PEOPLE FOOD: Take it easy on the treats. Excessive amounts of any new food including pet treats can cause digestive upset. If visitors find your little darlings irresistible, then ration out a number of treats each day and be firm–its in their best interest. Some of the foods in abundance at holiday time can be especially troublesome. Chocolate can be poisonous to dogs. Make sure the trash is tightly closed–turkey bones, turkey and gravy can cause serious problems.

6. TEMPTING DECORATIONS: Cats find dangling decorations irresistible and are known to eat tinsel, which can cause fatal intestinal injuries. Secure the tree to the wall or ceiling with a heavy cord or wire – one ambitious kitty can cause a catastrophe. Both dogs and cats might eat decorative plants including poinsettias, which are toxic.

7. WEATHER: Pets should be kept indoors during the coldest weather. They need a dry, draft-free shelter and fresh water (not frozen) at all times. Pets that spend more time outdoors may require more food at this time of year, they will be burning extra calories to keep warm.

8. NEW PETS: The holiday season is not the time to get a new pet. The activity and attention will overwhelm puppies and kittens, and increase the risk of intestinal problems or trouble with house-training. Why not adopt a new pet after the holidays when everyone can spend time welcoming the new member to the family.

9. HEALTH INSURANCE: Consider putting a pet health insurance plan under the tree at Christmas this year. For more information contact your veterinarian for insurance information. Many plans are reasonable priced and offer different types of coverage, and offer peace of mind for you and your pets.

10. TIME AND LOVE: Although you are busy with your family and friends at this time of year, your pets still need you. Take time to enjoy a quiet moment or play a favorite game. You’ll reconnect with them and they will help you relax and enjoy the festive season.

By Faye Whyte, B.Sc, DVM

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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 need the exact wording of your label, but we need to know how you are currently giving the medication. 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 you 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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