2011-11-25 / Columnists

Paws For A Moment

Thanksgiving Celebrations And Our Pets
Commentary by Karina B. Salvo, MS, DVM, Belle Harbor House Calls

As we gather together to celebrate the upcoming holidays, our family pets take notice to all the excitement and activities. Who else is the first to snoop thru the grocery bags? Catching any food that drops from the counter during preparation? Is the first to ‘test’ what is being offered under the table at dinner? Or trips everyone on the way to the kitchen for ‘clean-up’? You got it! The family pooch and the feisty feline!

Some of our furry family members are not as courteous as we would like them to be...and sneak their way into the kitchen, some open refrigerator doors, jump on counters, tables and rummage thru the trash! Just to have a taste ( and in some instances...devour) the newly prepared pumpkin pie, chocolate chip cookies, ham or turkey cuttings etc etc! We all want our pets to be a part of our family festivities as they are a strong part of each of our families...but be cautious about where they are and what is available to them. Working in the Animal Emergency Room for many years and now doing house calls here in the community, I always ask, “What do you offer Oliver to eat? How often do you offer this and how much?” Inevitably, most people offer their pets table food. In the veterinary community, we typically frown upon this as our pets’ gastrointestinal systems are very different from ours. Many of the foods we eat are high in fat, sugar, low in vitamin and nutrient value, are spicy and cannot be tolerated well by our pets.

Variances in what we offer our pets can result in gastrointestinal disorders such as vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, or pancreatitis, the inflammation of the pancreas. (The pancreas is responsible for producing hormones that facilitate digestion as well as produce insulin to maintain proper glucose levels. When the pancreas is inflamed, much of its normal activity is disrupted or even halted.) Vomiting and diarrhea can lead to dehydration and increase the potential for need to be hospitalized.

I have mentioned the plethora of food available to our pets...but what about the wrapping and leftovers? Saran wrap, aluminum foil, twist ties, rubber bands, string, bones, plastic bags, sillverware/ plasticware, corn cobs and much more...all pose serious threats to our pets! Most of these items can cause laceration injuries (cuts), obstructions/ blockages within the mouth, esophagus, stomach or intestines.

If you are concerned that your pet may have eaten something it shouldn’t have or have any general questions, please feel free to call me at any time. My Veterinary House Call Service is available 7 days a week and holidays! 718-474-PAWS Watch for updates on Facebook (Veterinary House- Calls) and at www.BelleHarbor- HouseCalls.com for the opening of a brand new state-of-the-art Animal Medical Centre right here in the Rockaways! When you call or visit, you will experience professional courtesy, friendly smiles, the best of medical care and compassion, immediate updates on your pet’s status, and no pet is EVER left unattended or transported to another facility! Most importantly, every staff member believes in my simple philosophy, “We treat every patient as if they were our own...no exceptions!”

Have a Safe and Happy Holiday Season!

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