By Dr. Beth Scheenstra, DVM

1)  Fancy strange treats.

Nothing will lead to a trip to the veterinarian faster than feeding your pet a bunch of fancy treats during the holidays.  Imagine if you typically ate the same food(s) for weeks at a time, and then you were given a 8 course French dinner for several days in a row.  Ingredients that your intestines have never seen in a big quantity, chances are it would taste great but later this meal probably would lead to you needing to use the restroom frequently.  Sometimes this can lead to pancreatitis, and even hospitalization for your pet.  Rawhides, and various chew treats can cause intestinal obstruction in those that don’t chew them properly and instead swallow them whole.

2) Unusual or super fancy litter boxes.

Let’s face it the human has the problem with the litter box.  Given the opportunity your cat would be fine with a box of dirt in the corner of the living room. I do have some serious professional opinions on amount, style and location of litter boxes.  You can leave me a comment if you need litter box suggestions.  But, I beg you to stay away from crazy contraptions for your cats potty.  Ask yourself, would you like to go the bathroom in a dark box that you have to jump into from the top?  Or would you like it if your bathroom suddenly became motorized and in a way attack you.

3) Hooded or uncomfortable clothes.

I am guilty of this one.  My Boston terrier gets cold and shakes.  I occasionally buy her cute little jackets or sweaters.  She hates hoods though and anything constrictive.  I get it, I don’t like things that feel like they are strangling me.  Some pets like costumes and clothes, and other don’t.  I recently saw a unicorn horn you could attach to your cat head.  On behalf of cats everywhere, I would say walk away from that and if you do try to hook it to your cat– good luck.

4) Fleas or internal parasites.

Sometimes holidays mean traveling with your pets.  People will often believe you don’t need flea control in the winter.  Others will swear that if their pet had fleas they would know first because they would be bitten first.  As well,  they haven’t seen either fleas or internal parasites.  Let’s set the record straight, they are parasites their job is survival and propagation, they will survive and thrive even in apocalyptic conditions.  Good flea and parasite control can be expensive, but would you like to have either.  Little biting bugs all over your body?  Furthermore going to the vet for preventable conditions (flea allergies or pyoderma) will cost even more.

5) Rush or unattended care.

Keep it simple silly.  Your pet loves you.  That is it!  Probably no where in your life will you have such a simple relationship.  They don’t know that it is the holidays, they don’t care that you forgot or don’t have money to buy them the ultimate pet toy.  They love you for who you are, and that you spend time with them.  They want you to sleep in, or cuddle down after work.  They want a little play time, or a long walk with ball.  They want to sit and be with their best human friend. 

Many of the things we decorate our homes with and give as gifts are dangerous for our pets.  Take the time to put up items that curious pets my want to play and eat.

I do buy my pets a few items for the holidays.   I enjoy treating them to something special, even though I know they don’t know what day it is.  But, remember this year it really is you they need and want.  Enjoy the holidays one wag, whisker and pet at a time