Thursday, October 25, 2012

Howl-i-day Safety TIps

HOTLR Alum Susie shows her Halloween spirit

We can no longer deny it.  The holidays are upon us.  But before we all get wrapped up in the full craziness of the holiday season, it's important to review some important tips about pet care that come to the forefront during the holidays.  Check out these tips below:

1) Microchip your pets - many of us travel during the holiday season and for some of us that means are pets travel too.  Whether you take your pet with you or leave him with a friend, relative or neighbor unfortunate incidents can happen.  With all the noise, lights, costumes, people, decorations, new environment and general hubbub, your pet may find himself or herself overwhelmed. An unfortunate escape through the front door or backyard could put your pet in danger and you out of your mind with worry.  Having your pet identified with tags and microchipped is the safest way to increase the chances your pet will be found and returned to you.

Check with your veterinarian to learn more about microchipping.

2) Holiday food - and we don't just mean candy....Most of know about the dangers of your pet ingesting chocolate.  An 80lb dog can get ill from just a 8oz of baking chocolate and while it takes more dark chocolate and even more milk chocolate to make a big dog sick, it takes far less for a little dog to become ill.  Chocolate toxicity can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, rapid heartbeat, low blood pressure and.or coma.  Call your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your pet has ingested chocolate.  Be sure to store your candy in a safe place away from your pet.

Same goes for food rich in fat, turkey or chicken bones or really any other foods your dog does not regularly eat.  Dogs that get table scraps or get into holiday dinner trash can become ill.  Symptoms may be anything from a mild bout of diarrhea and/or vomiting to a more severe illness such as pancreatitis or hemorrhagic diarrhea requiring expensive treatment and overnight hospitalization.  While most veterinarians keep pretty regular hours during the holidays, many vets close for the holidays themselves meaning that you will need to seek emergency care costing much more....

For a list of foods that can cause harm to your pet, check out this link from the ASPCA:

ASPCA Poison Control Hotline: (888) 426-4435

3) Holiday decor - If you are a Lab owner then you probably already know that a Labrador can find almost anything entertaining.  Some of my dogs' favorite toys (empty water bottles, cardboard wrapping paper rolls, socks, shoes and plastic flower pots) were not designed with dogs in mind.  Neither are holiday decorations.  Make sure that you keep your pet safe from chewing on or eating any holiday decor that could harm him.  Christmas tree balls and electrical power cords could tempt an inquisitive puppy or young Lab.  Be aware of decorations that your pet might find interesting.

4) Holiday gifts - I can't resist it.  Every year on Christmas Eve, my husband and I hit the local pet store and stock up on holiday gifts for our dogs.  We use scraps of gift wrapping and wrap the presents so the dogs can "open" them on Christmas morning.  You've probably guessed by now that we don't have human children.

Many of our friends and relatives will stop by with gift for our pups as well.  Unfortunately, though many have tried, indestructible Labrador toys are few and far between.  That's why it is of utmost importance that you think carefully before you purchase toys for your pets.  As with anything, it seems the better quality (in this case, harder to destroy) toys are more expensive.  Make sure you purchase toys that are appropriate for the size and personality of your dog.  Consider speaking to shop owners or your veterinarian for recommendations on the best type of toy for your pet.  Last but not least, always supervise your pet when he/she is at play.

For more information on holiday safety tips specific to Halloween, please click here: Halloween Safety Tips.

Heart of Texas Lab Rescue News Flash is written by Marcy Stellfox, HOTLR Board Member, Foster & Adopter.

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