Guest Post: Have a Safe and Happy Holidays from Dr Rex Riggs

Happy Holidays to everyone! It is a great time of the year that gives us an opportunity to spend cherished time with our family and friends. Enjoy the season.

Holidays can also be fun times for our pets, with all the new people around to spoil them with all the attention. But, as always (isn’t there always a but), there are also things we need to remind our guests. They can love our pets all they want with petting, but please don’t share the Christmas treats.

Max from the GrinchRemember Max, the Grinch’s dog, did not eat any of the “roast beast “or “the who pudding” and he had a great Christmas. In contrast, who could forget what happened to the lovable dog “Snot”, at the Griswold’s house. He drank the tree water and then enjoyed the Christmas trash. He then deposited his “present” under the dining room table. Not a jolly event.

Remember, even small amounts of our foods can cause a lot of troubles for our pets. They are a lot smaller then us. Spending the holiday hours at an emergency clinic is not a festive time.

Christmas-Vacation-Fried-CatReferencing again the classic “Christmas Vacation”, who can forget what happened to Grandma's poor cat, Fluffy, when he chewed the Christmas lights. Not a good smell. More often when animals chew cords, the shock will lead to a condition called non-cardiogenic pulmonary edema. This is when fluid floods the lungs and will make the pet unable to breath. Obviously an emergency situation.

One of my youthful Christmas memories is of me and my twin brother tossing handfuls of tinsel on the Christmas tree, the final touch to the decorations. Yea, I know you were supposed to lay individual stands on the branches, but we had our own technique…just saying.

TinselcatIt was pretty, but you rarely see tinsel nowadays because cats loved to gobble it down and boy did it cause obstructions. Similarly wrapping ribbon can be a vet’s Christmas nightmare, especially the type that you can curl with your scissors. Kitties love anything linear. The bad thing with stringy things is that it catches up in the intestinal tract and when the intestines try to move it down the tract, the intestines get accordioned and requires surgery. This why I hate the old pictures with cats playing with a ball of yarn. I spent Christmas Eve night, 20 years ago, removing 56 inches of ribbon from Frosty the cat. Frosty and I were not happy spending the night together.

We all know chocolate is dangerous for are pets. The better the chocolate, the more of the toxic ingredient, theobromine. Theobromine is a stimulant like NoDoz and can lead to seizures. So keep the Godiva in a safe place.

Finally, please don’t get pets as a Christmas present. I know we all have seen all the Hallmark commercials with the kids opening the “moving box” and then a happy puppy jumps out. I know it sounds like a perfect Christmas. What could be better! Well ….we don’t live in the world of Hallmark. Believe me, puppyhood is a trying time. It is a lot of work and the holiday season and winter is the worse time to puppy train. Please don’t be tempted; if it seems like a good idea, at Christmas, it will be a much better idea at a later less chaotic time of the year.

I would like to wish everyone a great holiday season. Enjoy yourselves and enjoy the time with your loved ones. Please, try to put away your differences. Relax, enjoy and cherish the moment. Life is short.

Happy Holidays!

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Guest Post: Have a Safe and Happy Holidays from Dr Rex Riggs
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Dr_RiggsDr. Rex Riggs grew up in Wadsworth, Ohio, near Akron. Dr Riggs is co-owner of Best Friends Veterinary Hospital in Powell, Ohio. He is also on the board of the North Central Region of Canine Companions of Independence, a board member of The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Society and Small Animal Practitioner Advancement Board at The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Riggs lives in Lewis Center, OH with his wife Nancy, their dogs Maggie and Ossa, and cat Franklin. Outside of work, Dr. Riggs is an avid golfer and cyclist, and enjoys travel and photography.


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