Pets typically have a penchant for trouble, no matter the season or time of year. However, as holiday preparations ramp up, and your home becomes overloaded with glitzy decorations, exuberant loved ones, and delicious food, your furry pal has many more opportunities for getting into mischief that can earn them a trip to the emergency veterinary hospital. When you make your holiday to-do list, add a few extra tasks that will keep your four-legged friend safe from harm on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Prevent your pet from getting into trouble by learning from the mistakes of Tucker and Cleo, two fictional pets with a talent for telling stories.

Tucker’s Thanksgiving tribulation

Tucker the miniature schnauzer loved getting his paws on anything that smelled edible, despite his chronic brushes with pancreatitis, a potentially life-threatening condition often caused by eating table scraps or fatty foods. The pancreas releases digestive enzymes to be used in the intestinal tract, but an inflamed pancreas does not work properly, and releases enzymes into the body, essentially digesting nearby organs. So, only a few bites of steak fat or bacon have triggered Tucker’s pancreatitis episodes. 

As Thanksgiving approached, Tucker’s taste buds geared up for the annual feast. Although Tucker knew he didn’t feel the best after indulging in his humans’ meals, once again, he couldn’t help himself. As the Thanksgiving turkey was placed in the center of the table, surrounded by rich, savory side dishes, Tucker made his move, showing off his incredible athleticism as he leapt from the back of the couch to the dining table—all for a turkey leg and a mouthful of mashed potatoes.

Chaos ensued. Family members screeched asTucker frantically gobbled mouthfuls of any food in reach, gorging himself on carved turkey, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, and stuffing. By the time his owner managed to snag him from the table’s center, not only the feast, but also Tucker’s pancreas and gastrointestinal tract, were ruined. 

Later that evening, Tucker, bloated and uncomfortable from his ill-gotten spoils, began vomiting and having diarrhea, so the next morning, Tucker’s owner rushed him to Twin Maples Veterinary Hospital

Based on Tucker’s blood work and ultrasound of his pancreas and digestive tract, this was his worst case of pancreatitis. Miniature schnauzers are prone to pancreatitis and, coupled with his Thanksgiving meal, Tucker’s pancreas was in bad shape. 

After a few days of intensive hospitalization and intravenous fluid therapy, pain relievers, anti-nausea medication, and antibiotics, Tucker finally turned the corner and was on the road to recovery. Knowing Tucker may not be so lucky the next time, his family vowed to confine their beloved pooch to his crate for holiday gatherings, and to always avoid giving him table scraps that might upset his sensitive pancreas.

Cleo the long-haired kitten was fascinated with her first Christmas. So many shiny baubles hanging from the Christmas tree, and lights twinkling beguilingly. But, these seemingly innocent decorations held many hazards for the bewitched kitten. From cut paws from shattered glass ornaments, to electrical burns and shocks from strands of lights, a Christmas tree is a dangerous place for a kitten. And, what lurks beneath the tree is equally deadly. 

A master of stalking and pouncing, Cleo was eager to try her skills on the beautifully wrapped gifts piled under the tree. Miles of ribbons and bows were no match for her claws and teeth, and Cleo was soon a well-wrapped gift herself. Eager to escape the mess, she set to work with her sharp teeth to unravel the ribbon, only escaping the gift wrap’s clutches after swallowing a ribbon strand.

Cleo soon began vomiting and having diarrhea, and her appetite disappeared, which was unusual for her. The poor kitten meowed in discomfort, which her family correctly interpreted as a plea for help, and rushed her to Twin Maples Veterinary Hospital.

After listening to Cleo’s history and performing a physical exam and diagnostic testing, Dr. Sekula discovered the cause of Cleo’s gastrointestinal distress—the strand of gift ribbon. Her X-rays displayed a linear foreign body in her intestines, which required emergency surgery. Fortunately, her family had brought her in for treatment early enough that permanent damage to her intestinal tract was avoided, and surgery was a success.

Cleo was upset during her postoperative period, because they withheld her food to give her intestinal tract a chance to heal before being put back to work. But, the feisty little kitty made a full recovery, and her family learned to keep her well away from holiday decorations. 

Beware holiday hazards

Hazards are plentiful during the holiday season, and food and decorations, as well as your guests, can threaten your pet’s health during Thanksgiving and Christmas. But, by keeping toxic foods and dangerous decor out of your pet’s reach this holiday season, you can avoid many calamities.

If your furry pal has a nose for trouble like Tucker and Cleo, keep Twin Maples Veterinary Hospital’s number handy. While we hope to see you only to wish you a happy holiday, our team is here for you and your pet in case of an emergency.