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A Handful of Tips for the Holidays

Updated: Oct 13, 2023

From our very own Dr. Re' comes a few tips for getting through the holidays with your pets this year!

Human food

Your dog or cat may want what is on your table, but trust us when we say that isn't for them. Most human foods contain things that will upset a pet's stomach at the very least, and be life threatening at its worst. Generally speaking, we would say it isn't worth the risk. Specifically speaking, things containing any spices, onion, grapes, and artificial sweeteners can be quite dangerous. Modern sweeteners often contain a chemical called xylitol, which can be deadly to our pets. Xylitol is frequently found in products like peanut butter (especially lo-sodium peanut butter), chewing gum, mints, peppermint-flavored items, reduced-fat pastries, etc. With all of these potential dangers lurking on your tabletop, Bella and Kitty is better off sticking to the kibble in their bowls! Click here for a more extensive list of dangerous foods!

Table scraps

Believe it or not, it can get even riskier than what is on the table. What is taken off of the table can be even more immediately dangerous. Things like juices on used plates can cause severe stomach upset, and things such as bones from cooked poultry can be so hazardous that they may result in emergency surgery. Bones in general can result in blockages, and cooked bones can splinter apart while being eaten and potentially puncture through their path as they are swallowed or digested.


Before venturing over the river and through the woods, consider planning as far in advance as possible. Boarding facilities tend to book up before the holidays even begin, so you could find yourself in quite the pickle! Call around to find one that you feel comfortable with, and ask for a tour of the facility if you're able to. And just incase something unforeseen happens that keeps you from getting back into town on time to pick them up, make sure the facility you go with can adequately accommodate such an event. Click here to see local boarding facilities in the Florence SC area.

Medications (anxiety, travel)

Whether you are traveling or boarding, or even if you are staying home and having out of town family come visit you, you'll want to be fully stocked up on routine medications your pet takes, as well as any supplemental medication your pet may need for anxiety or traveling. Sometimes visiting family members can be stressful on your pets (and on you, but we can't help you with that part). Arming yourself with anxiety meds for your pets can save them lots of grief, and can often prevent anxiety related symptoms like explosive diarrhea (trust us, that isn't fun).

Quiet area

If you're staying home, consider providing a special place for your pet to escape the chaos of visiting family. Whether it be a covered crate with an open door in your bedroom, or a cozy corner in a quiet heated garage. Soft bedding and a couple of toys (stuffed Kong toys are a wonderful choice) can go a long way towards keeping them comfortable as the people around them change and strangers enter the house. Consider visiting them frequently throughout the day for short showers of affection and assurance. These positive interactions and affirmations can help them tremendously. Caution should be used when allowing children around a dog that doesn't have experience with kids, even if the dog is small.

Medical Records

If you plan on taking a trip with your pet, have their medical records on hand in case of an emergency. In the medical records, there should be a copy of the current vaccines. If something unfortunate happens that requires medical attention, you'll be prepared with all the information that they'll need in order to safely provide care. Having these electronically sent to you from you primary veterinarian can be especially helpful, as you can then access them from any computer, tablet, or smartphone.


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