No one wants to have to take their dog to the vet on Christmas (and most vets are happy to spend the holiday with their families too) so how can we avoid an emergency visit over the holidays?
Watch what your dog eats.
Most people know that chocolate is toxic to dogs (if they eat enough of it) but did you know about some of these other problematic foods?
And it's not just toxic foods we need to worry about. A sudden diet change, as can occur when visiting guests want to share their food with your dog can cause vomiting, diarrhoea or even pancreatitis. The safest way to navigate the holiday food is to request your family and guests not feed your dog anything other than the treats you have provided for your dog. You can then set out a jar of treats you know your dog likes and tolerates (or even their regular dog food if they will eat that as a treat, just don't tell people it's only dog food) so your guests can enjoy sharing the holiday spirit with your dog without the risks.
It's not food but it gets eaten anyway
Ask anyone that's worked in veterinary medicine and they will have a list of items they've seen that have needed to be surgically removed from dogs. If you are taking your dog visiting with you, it is a good idea to bring a bed for your dog to settle in near you, a leash and possibly even a crate (if your dog is crate trained) depending on the length of your stay. This will give you some options for managing your dog in a new and different environment where they may discover some fun (to them) things to eat. Holiday items to watch out for include:
It's all Fun & Games until someone gets Hurt.
The holidays can be a hectic time, but it is important to keep an eye on your dog when they are interacting with other dogs. Watch for signals that a dog is not having a good time, and step in to redirect the dogs to another activity or have them take a break. Be watchful for any signs of tension over toys, resting places, food, treats or people. Even for a social dog that loves all the excitement of Christmas gatherings, they may eventually get tired and enjoy a quiet place to rest. Dogs that are more reserved will be even more grateful for some down time during the festivities. And if your dog really just prefers their family, and dislikes parties? How about taking them for a lovely Christmas walk, settling them with a special treat or food stuffed toy snug in their familiar home while you go out to party.
When it happens
There are things we have no control over, and other times when we try our best but stuff happens anyway. So if your dog needs to see the vet over the holidays, by all means, call your vet. They know stuff happens. Follow their instructions with regards to emergency care arrangements for their clients and thank the vet and staff that see your pet. Even though it's part of the job, they appreciate it. And we appreciate them being there for our pets.