GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Lifestyle

November 22, 2012

Vet connection: Helping your pet have a nice holiday season

The holidays have arrived.

What gifts can you give to your pets? The retail opportunities are so vast that it can be hard to make a good choice for your pet.

One of the best gifts you can give animals in general is to refrain from gifting any pet to a person over the holidays, especially if it is not an expected gift. I have seen adults in tears in my exam room because family members unexpectedly gifted them a Labrador puppy (insert any animal species here) to care for in addition to the four children and the full-time job.

Do not purchase an exotic pet unless you have done lots of research. All types of exotic pets need precision care and lots of knowledge to keep them healthy. A surprise gift could mean a very unhappy pet and owner. Many of these gifted pets end up in a shelter or dead due to neglect within a few months.

If you currently have a pet as a member of the family, there are a few inexpensive things you can do to help your pet over the holidays.

You can give your pet a quiet place to rest during big holiday parties. This way, guests will not be able to feed your pet food that could cause severe gastrointestinal disruption such as vomiting, diarrhea or pancreatitis. Being away from the noise and hubbub will also decrease the chance of your pet developing signs of stress.

Ideally, the quiet place is a familiar room or kennel that your pet frequents. You can refrain from decorating with any stringlike garlands or tinsel, which pets can ingest and become obstructed. Even ribbon should be kept away from the pets. You can refrain from using rock salt on your sidewalks, as this can irritate your pet’s feet. Use cat litter or sand instead.

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