October 29, 2010 (Pittsburgh, PA) -As pet owners and families plan their Halloween festivities that includes ghosts, goblins, tricks, treats and hopefully some delicious feasts, the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA) reminds pet owners the “trick” to a pet’s health is caution and the treat is a wellness.
In many homes, trick or treat means the consumption of chocolate and other assorted sweats and candies. For many, it seems more is consumed in the home rather than provided to the adorned witches, ghosts, and goblins of Halloween. This can not only be unhealthy for humans, it can also be devastating for pets.
During this festive time of the year it is almost impossible not to taste-test the meals being prepared, or to sit near the door with a bowl filled with candy without a sample. This is also true for the four-legged family members. They too want to sample a scrap in the kitchen, or partake in an unusual treat from the coffee table or the candy bowl. As pets stand ready and prepared for any opportunity for food or a strange foreign object, pet owners must be vigilant and protect them from their natural tendencies. Pets ingesting rich and fatty foods, chocolates, or other unsuitable or unintended items, can create a holiday consumed by a veterinary emergency hospital. The visit may not be how a pet owner wanted to spend the day but it could save the pet's life.
“It is always distressing when a pet owner brings a pet in for treatment during the holidays. Sadly in most cases loving pet owners are simply trying to spoil or provide a special treat for their pet. The result is spoiled health and a long day at the veterinary hospital and a great deal of expense,” explained Dr. Bernadine Cruz.
Pet owners need to be mindful of the following:
- Do not provide any forms of chocolate. Chocolate is poisonous to cats and dogs
- Do not provide table scraps or foods not specifically prepared for pets
- Secure or remove garbage and food scraps from the kitchen before sitting down to dine
- Adjust your pet’s feeding time to begin as you are serving dinner for special occasions and add a special veterinarian approved pet treat as part of the meal
- Plan and provide short periods of special one-on-one time for walks and providing focused attention during special occasions. Pets can adjust better to additional activities taking place in the home, if special attention is provided.
“Providing any form of candy or rich human foods is just a bad idea and it can cause Pancreatitis and general internal illness. Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas, and it can be life threatening. When a pet is diagnosed with pancreatitis, he/she becomes more susceptible to developing the disease again so you want to avoid your pet ever having it, said Dr. Cruz.
“The best way to protect our pets so they can enjoy a healthy and happy life is to avoid feeding the pet human foods. If your pet becomes ill with prolonged or excessive vomiting and diarrhea, take it immediately to your veterinarian immediately. And remember to consider pet health insurance. It allows the pet to receive the care that is needed rather than just the care the pet owner can afford,” continued Dr. Cruz.
“Be certain that your pet has visited your veterinarian recently and is updated on all vaccines, as well as flea, tick and heartworm prevention. NAPHIA suggest all pets visit their veterinarian two times a year. Make sure your pet is in good condition before the holidays. Like humans, our pets can put on a few pounds over the winter.”
Founded in 2007, the North American Pet Health Insurance Association is committed to educating and promoting the values and benefits of pet health insurance to North American pet owners, the general public, and the veterinary industry. For more information, visit www.naphia.org or call 412-319-7730 / 412-908-9766.
Dr. Bernadine Cruz is a University of California at Davis graduate. She has been practicing companion animal medicine at Laguna Hills Animal Hospital for more than 20 years. Dr. Cruz acts as a consultant for veterinary pharmaceutical companies, and is featured on numerous local and national television shows such as the Early Show and the Today Show. She communicates on a daily basis in over 3,000 veterinary reception rooms as one of the hosts for PetCare TV. Dr. Cruz also serves on the advisory board for Veterinary News Network as well as Proctor and Gambles, and Iams Pet Wellness Council. Dr. Cruz is also the national spokesperson for the North American Pet Health Insurance Association.