Keeping the Dog SAFE during the Holidays

image by Sadie Hart

image by Sadie Hart

The holidays are a wonderful time for families and friends to get together, celebrate, eat and be merry; but all this merry making can be a stressful time for your pets! Being aware of their surroundings, allergies and stresses is important to remember in order to make the holidays an enjoyable experience for you and for your pet. Follow these helpful tips in order for you and you dog to have a happy & safe holiday this year:

–          Holly, mistletoe and poinsettia plants are poisonous to dogs. Make sure they are kept in places your dog cannot reach.

–          Watch out for electrical cords. Pets often try to chew them and get badly shocked or electrocuted. Place them out of reach.

–          Keep burning candles on high tables or mantels, out of the way of your dog’s wagging tail.

–          Do not use edible ornaments, or cranberry or popcorn strings. Your dog may knock the tree over in an attempt to reach (EAT) them.

–          Let’s not forget the felines’- watch that low hanging tree ornaments are not breakable as kitty may not be able to resist swatting at them!

While Christmas and Hanukah are right around the corner, there are holidays all year long to be celebrated. You can find more safety tips during other holidays as well at American Kennel Club.

 While the holidays are usually a time for fun and cheer, our pets can sometimes become overwhelmed with all the hustle and bustle. Whether it’s more people at the house than usual or changes in their schedule, this time of year can make them more stressed than joyful.

“Try to maintain a consistent routine including feeding and exercise schedules. Pets, especially dogs, can get “cooped up” during the winter, so it is important to make sure they get plenty of exercise and enrichment,” says Dr. Meghan Herron, Clinical Assistant Professor at Ohio State University.

Dr Herron goes on to say “Some animals are not comfortable with strangers, so if you plan to have visitors, provide a “safe haven” for your pets. This can be a room where pets can retreat to and enjoy toys and food enrichment. When pets are in this area, try to avoid disturbing them. If your pets get very anxious or aggressive around visitors, it may be best to board them. This will help avoid unneeded stress for you and your pets.”

TELL US… Do you pets enjoy the holidays too? Share your pet holiday traditions below.

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Cancer in Pets….a TOUGH Topic

More than ever dogs are truly a part of the American family. With this shift in the way that dog and cat illness is being viewed by pet parents there has also been a shift in how this disease is being approached and treated by veterinarians. Sadly Cancer is more prevalent in our pets than ever before. Many owners are now choosing cutting edge and sometimes very expensive treatments/procedures rather than face the thought of losing their beloved family member. In past years if a dog was diagnosed with cancer they were often quietly put to sleep. Cancer is the #1 cause of death in dogs over the age of ten according to Pets WebMD.  The good news is that “half of all cancers are curable if caught early”. To get the facts visit Pet WebMD @ http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/dogs-and-cancer-get-the-facts.

Currently there are a wide variety of treatment choices that can save or greatly prolong your pet’s life. Many veterinary hospitals have become very similar to human hospitals with new advancements in technology and lists of options for each medical scenario presented after a thorough work up.  As with most choices, it can be a much needed blessing or a completely overwhelming experience! Know the facts before you go, as information overload can be incapacitating at such a critical time. After you receive your first diagnosis get a second opinion, just like you would for yourself! Consult with multiple vets and contact specialists that may have more updated information than your everyday vet.

One very interesting part of this development in veterinary medicine is that many of the technologies now used to treat children and adults were perfected on dogs and cats! CSU is a leader in the US with both their veterinary programs as well as with their animal cancer center. Check out the Colorado State Universities web site for some of the most cutting edge technology being developed right now! http://www.cvmbs.colostate.edu/ns/.

One of the most common forms of cancer in dogs is bone cancer or Osteosarcoma. CSU has one of the most advanced programs in the country to treat this terrible disease. Some of techniques developed in this program have been incorporated into treating children with brain tumors. It is comforting to know that if our beloved pets have to experience this terrible disease at least they are helping to pave the way to help others! Check out the link below to be taken directly to the CSU cancer center homepage. They offer a lot of great information on cancer of all types and the various treatments.  http://www.csuanimalcancercenter.org/srt_treatment.

Another helpful site is http://www.caninecancer.com/typesofcancr.html this link provides a listing of the most common types of cancers found in dogs. Unfortunately dogs and cats are prone to the very same types of cancer that people are.

While animal medicine continues to advance there are no easy answers for a pet parent faced with this disease. Many of us have been through it and if we have not than we certainly know someone who has. There are many ways that we can help.  The National Canine Cancer foundation has a fantastic web page that offers a wide variety of information.  Whether to find people who are going through something similar to what you may be experiencing or to educate yourself about treatment options; or if you simply want to help out check out this great site!

http://www.wearethecure.org/

 “The passion that moves us forward is from
experiencing what Cancer really does to the ones we love.
We are driven because there is a hole in our soul
where once was the love of our dog.” Gary D. Nice