Wednesday, December 21, 2016

2016 Year-end Pet Care Roundup

December in New Orleans is wholly unpredictable. You never know if you'll wake up to snow or if you'll be walking around in shorts. Of course warm weather is usually followed by rain and the return of cold air, but it's a cycle we in the Crescent City put up with gladly as fall transitions into winter.

Along with the official calendar start of our coldest season, December is a festive time filled with a multitude of celebrations and holidays. All that fun and festivity can mean stress or potential hazards for your baby. (Did you know there are almost two dozen internationally celebrated holidays in the month of December?)

Our client, Max, pausing to pose out on a walk.

Christmas trees, decorations, and gifts, Hannukah and Kwanzaa candles, as well as holiday foods and drinks, all need to be handled with mindful care in order to avoid unnecessary pet distress and expensive emergency vet care. Be sure that visiting guests in your home know about these risks as well when they come over during the holidays.

Our client, Winnie, posing near her Christmas tree.

We've covered pet safety around poinsettias and Christmas trees in previous posts, as well as some of the potential dangers when we deck our halls with boughs of holly, etc., but while poinsettia are only mildly toxic to companion animals, ingestion of holly or mistletoe can be much more serious

Our client, Chester, hamming it up for the camera in true holiday spirit.

Always keep the number for the pet poison hotline handy in case of emergencies: 1-800- 213-6680. For specific tips on how to have stress-free holidays in December as well as during the rest of the year, be sure to visit our Pinterest board Having Happy Holidays.

Last month we took you on a visit to Little Paws Dog Park in the upper 9th ward to continue our series on local dog parks (we started the series off last year with a visit to the Wisner Dog Run uptown). Earlier this year it was the Crescent Dog Run in the Bywater, and in spring of 2017 we'll be visiting City Bark.

A view across Little Paws Dog Park from the shade. 

Recently we also shared some Fall Safety Tips with you to help keep your fur babies healthy and happy throughout the autumnal season. As we're now heading into winter, we'll be sharing cold season care tips next in January for taking care of pets both indoors and out.

We've mentioned the importance of play before, and last spring we told you about some of our favorite toys. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 58% of cats and 54% of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese. It might also surprise you to know that obesity is the number one health problem in birds.

Our client, Benny, out for a walk in the fall air.

Obesity in pets can cause arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease, heart and respiratory disease, and even some forms of cancer. We touched on feline fitness in the October blog post, and how to judge the exercise level for your dog in our June post on dog walking.

Last, but certainly not least, a few months back we playfully asked if New Orleans had gone to the dogs, and told you about places around town from coffee shops to big box stores that were not only pet friendly, but kept treats on hand for four legged visitors.

These pups were out shopping for wine in the Marigny with their mom.

There are a surprising number of bars around town that allow dogs - mostly during the non-busy hours. Then again, it is New Orleans...

As we approach the end of 2016 - a year for the history books - we'd like to take a moment to remind you that Christmas trees and pets don't mix! Be sure any lit candles in your holiday decor won't come in contact with fur or be knocked over, and that all holiday food and drinks are kept well out of reach.

Happy December!

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