Keep your pets healthy over the holidays

By Elizabeth Temple - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) –  With the hustle and bustle of holidays, pets can easily be forgotten. Dogs can get into present, chew light strands and most often guests can feed them unhealthy table scraps. Your pooch could end up in the veterinarian's office with serious conditions like pancreatitis just from ingesting salty scraps. Dr. Jae Chang, veterinarian at Dr. Farr's Veterinary Clinic, suggests laying down ground rules for house guests and party-goers. Tell them ahead of time to not feed your pets or just lock the pet up in a back room to avoid any problems, said Dr. Chang.

Having a polite dog over the holidays can be a challenge, especially if you have not practiced their training for a few months. Try a refresher course with a trainer or a steady weeks-worth of home-training to get your dog back in the habit. Dr. Chang also suggests socializing your dog early on in life to let them become accustomed to others holding him or her and to other animals.

"You want to take them to dog parks and let other people handle them because if they are about 1 or 2 years of age the period of socialization has already passed," explained Dr. Chang.

Traveling with your dog over the holidays can be tricky, especially when flying. Dr. Chang recommends visiting your veterinarian before the flight to obtain a health certificate, often required by airlines, and sedatives to keep your dog calm during the flight.

Nothing is cuter than a Christmas puppy under the tree, but you must do your research before buying it, said Dr. Chang. Investigate which breed would suit your family and check if the breed you want is compatible with kids. He adds you should get your dog micro-chipped to ensure they are easily identified if lost.

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