Keep pets healthy and safe this holiday season
by Mark Andrews
Nov 23, 2011 | 2214 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Under supervision, Hemingway inspects some Christmas ornaments. There are a lot items under and around a Christmas tree that may be harmful to your pets if ingested. Hemingway is up for adoption at the Animal Medical Center in Cartersville. To learn more about this female tabby call 770-386-4444.
SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
Under supervision, Hemingway inspects some Christmas ornaments. There are a lot items under and around a Christmas tree that may be harmful to your pets if ingested. Hemingway is up for adoption at the Animal Medical Center in Cartersville. To learn more about this female tabby call 770-386-4444. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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During the holidays, homes fill with friends and family, often including children of the human, as well as feline and canine variety. Kellie Littrell, DVM, assistant veterinarian with the Cartersville-Bartow Veterinarian Group, and the Better Business Bureau want residents to remember while the holidays are a celebration for all, one needs to take precautions when hosting mixed company.

Littrell said it is important to keep animals away from the rich foods associated with the holiday season.

"It's never good to give our pets table scraps, if they're used to eating their pet food then giving them other foods -- human foods -- especially ones that are high in fat cause problems such as pancreatitis or dietary indiscretion problems, some gastroenteritis, and we can see some vomiting and diarrhea associated with that and that can often require veterinary attention and even hospitalization," Littrell warned.

She said when having company over it is important not to forget that nieces and nephews may not be the only guests sneaking around the Christmas tree or looking for something to play with.

"Whenever dogs get hold of toys that weren't made for them specifically and ... sometimes during the holidays we aren't paying as close attention and sometimes the pets can get into the trash and they can digest foreign objects, including strings especially, because people are tying their turkeys over the holidays and the digestion of these [objects] can require surgery," Littrell said.

She said when putting animals in a new location in the home during the holidays, one must be sure there is access to appropriate food, water and that pets are taken out or have a litter box.

"What I usually tell people is, if they wouldn't be comfortable then their pet won't be comfortable either," Littrell said.

If you are looking for a reliable kennel, the BBB recommends the following checklist:

* Check the kennel out with the BBB first to make sure they have a good track record for keeping customers satisfied.

* Ask your friends, neighbors, veterinarian or local animal shelters for recommendations. Also, the Pet Care Services Association website has a pet service locator that may be helpful in your search.

* Personally visit the facilities. Check for cleanliness and offensive odors, and note the overall safety of the kennel and cages.

* If your pet is prone to running away, ask about steps the kennel has taken to make their facilities escape-proof.

* Ask about how your pet may come in contact with other animals. Some kennels let animals play together while others keep them separate at all times.

* If your state requires inspections, look for the certificate on the wall and make sure the kennel is properly licensed.

* Ask about the feeding schedule, water accessibility and frequency of -- or fees related to -- exercise.

* Note the friendliness of staff members and how they interact with the other boarding pets. Ask about their background and experience.

* Make sure the facility requires that all entering pets have proof of immunization and ask about their policies regarding flea and tick control.

* Ask about the hours for drop off and pick up and make sure you understand their billing policy.

* Finally, ask what happens in the case of a medical emergency or other unexpected situation.