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Natural Awakenings Fairfield Cty/Housatonic Valley, CT

Holiday Overabundance Affects Pets Too!

Jan 05, 2016 02:57AM ● By Mary Oquendo

The holidays have come and gone and many of us are regretting some of our culinary choices. But as we contemplate our tasty digressions, we ought to also consider the effects the holiday season may have had on our pets.

Influencing Factors:

Foods outside of their regular diet: Many holiday foods are higher in fat and sugar.

Irregular mealtimes: We are always on the run; catching that last sale, attending a party or just stuck in traffic.

Guests feeding your pets under the table or your pet taking advantage of dropped food.

Pet inappropriate holiday foods left within their reach: Foods such as grapes, chocolates, raisins, onions and macadamia nuts are poisonous to dogs and cats. Artificial sweeteners like Xylitol are deadly as they may cause a fatal drop in blood sugar levels.

Traveling to friends and family: Stress of travel may cause gastric upset.

Visiting pets of friends and family: These pets may expose your pet to illnesses or disease.

Holiday plants: Many typical holiday plants are highly poisonous to pets.

What Happens to an Overindulged Pet?

The Gastrointestinal system: Includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines, colon and anus. Concerns include vomiting, diarrhea, gas and loss of appetite. Bloat is another problem associated with the gastrointestinal system. If your pet has a distended stomach, pacing, restlessness, burping, drooling, dry heaves or the inability to go to the bathroom, contact a veterinarian immediately as bloat is life-threatening.

Infectious concerns: Issues from coming in contact with other pets or traveling can includes tick-borne diseases, as well as canine and feline viral diseases.

Kidney, liver and pancreas damage: Inappropriate foods can overload their bodies, causing them to be unable to properly metabolize.

Emergency and After Care

Emergency hospital: Many medical concerns may escalate quickly without veterinary intervention. Do you know where the emergency veterinary hospital or clinic is located? A hospital has a veterinarian on premise, whereas a clinic may have the veterinarian on call. Always inform them before leaving to give the staff time to prepare for the pet’s arrival. If traveling, it is best to add a veterinary locator app to everyone’s smartphones.

Pet Poison Helpline: Minutes matter in a poisoning. You may need instructions before you leave for the veterinarian. This is not a free call. If you cannot reach your veterinarian, it may save the life of your pet. Pet Poison Helpline’s number is 855-764-7661 and is staffed by pharmacology-trained veterinarians.

Detox: This can help remove harmful toxins in your pet’s body. However, this should be accomplished with the guidance of a holistic veterinarian as you can cause irreparable damage if done incorrectly.

Preventive Care

Supplements: There are probiotics, herbs, oils and other nutritional supplements to strengthen your pet’s metabolic systems. Discuss the best options for your pet with a holistic or homeopathic veterinarian.

Mindfulness: Pay attention to the food they eat, especially any inappropriate food they may have access to. In addition, watch their stress levels. The Center for Disease Control acknowledges that stress is a major contributor to human illness and diseases. A pet’s immune and other metabolic system react in the same way to stress.

Water: A well-hydrated pet is less susceptible to stress-related illness.

Music: There is music specifically designed for calming pets. A search on Amazon will direct you to several options.

Safe Harbor: Provide a hiding place for your pet to go to whenever they feel overwhelmed by the holidays. It can be a crate with a blanket covering it or a bedroom with the door closed.

Essential oils: Oils such as lavender or chamomile diffused in the air with a water-based diffuser can help. Hot plate diffusers denature essential oils and may release toxins into the air. Do not use diffused essential oils around birds or cats with respiratory issues.

Reiki: This modality and other energetic work can help or for relaxation and other medical concerns. Any energetic work should be performed in conjunction with rather than in place of modern veterinarian care.

Crystals: Place blue or purple crystals such as blue lace agate, aquamarine, lepidolite and amethyst near your pet to promote tranquility. Keep stones out of reach as they may pose a choking hazard.

Overindulging during the holiday season can have far-reaching consequences. However, promptly attending to any overindulgence may reduce or possibly mitigate any long-term repercussions. The holidays should be fun for all, including our pets.

Mary Oquendo is a Reiki master, advanced crystal master and certified master pet tech pet first aid instructor. She is the co-owner of Hands and Paws-Reiki for All. She can be reached at See ad, page 50.

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