How to Keep Richmond Area Pets Safe During the Holidays

The holidays can be hard on humans, but animals get stressed out during this time of year, too. Friends or relatives may slip them extra treats from the table, they may find wrapping paper and Christmas decorations a tasty treat — or they may be staying away from home while their family travels. I am

What happens during this period when pets need urgent and emergency care? Tabitha Trelor, director of communications at the Richmond SPCA, has some tips to help pet owners breathe a sigh of relief this holiday season. The Richmond SPCA has a veterinary hospital that helps serve low-income residents. Urgent and emergency care may otherwise be financially out of reach, so the organization likes to emphasize prevention over everything else, especially now.

Food for thought

“Some of the biggest risks are foreign body ingestion and pancreatitis in dogs,” Trelor said. She added that it’s easy to avoid things that are “known risks,” such as holiday treats to pets. Feeding animals table scraps that can upset their digestive systems or giving extra treats.

If pet owners want to include their animals in the holidays, Treloar suggests preparing a fun treat — like putting cables or vet-approved treats in a Kong or other puzzle toy and freezing them ahead of time. .

“Then you can give them the treat in another room where everyone else is eating, so they can enjoy that favorite thing,” Trelor said. Stops even bothering for a small piece… which is really too rich for their stomachs to handle.

She also said that when it comes to wrapping presents, animals can mistake wrapping paper, ribbons or holiday decorations for tasty treats: “These are all kinds of exotic things that we would worry about. Is.” When opening gifts, it doesn’t hurt to keep a close eye on pets, just to make sure they aren’t eating the little things that fall out of the packaging.

If pet owners find themselves in need of emergency or urgent care and cannot afford to take the pet to a veterinarian’s office, there are options.

Need urgent care?

Urgent Vet emergency centers have opened throughout the Richmond region, including in Short pump, Kerry Town And Midlothian.

“These are between your typical primary care doctor, like in a hospital, and a full-on emergency center,” Trelor said. She recommends calling urgent care pet centers in advance to find out if they have animal weight limits, and to see what the potential costs are.

If an emergency arises that requires immediate care, Treloar recommends calling emergency centers to find out what the wait times are, and to make sure they’re open. are and accepting patients — because holiday hours can change things.

The same goes for pet owners who have exotic or unusual pets.

“Hopefully those who have these types of pets will already have an (established) relationship with a veterinarian,” Trelor said.

If pets do get sick, she recommends not using any home remedies found on the Internet and instead sticking to solutions prescribed by a vet. “Our doctors often tell us really rough stories from people who try to do things on their own at home that can lead to more problems than the initial problem,” he said.

Boarding away from home

If pet owners are traveling on vacation and are unable to take their pets with them, they can choose to board their pets. There has been a lot of news coverage recently about respiratory disease affecting dogs. Making sure your pets are up-to-date on their vaccinations is key for situations like this, especially if there is an outbreak of kennel cough or parainfluenza at a facility.

“What’s being seen is that people’s habits and vaccinations sometimes reverse during a pandemic, as does access to vaccination here,” Trelor said.

Trelor also said that between low vaccination rates and an increase in common respiratory diseases in animals around this time of year, things are “looking a little differently in populations.”

If pets are not traveling with their families on vacation, they may end up in crowded places like dog parks, or day care facilities, where the vaccination status of other animals may be unknown. Is. By making sure pets are up-to-date on their shots or keeping them away from other animals, pets are better prepared to be healthy if a bug is around.

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