Keeping pets safe

Press file photo

Nothing says happy holidays like a healthy, happy pet. For owners, taking care of the feathered and four-legged members of their families hits the top of the to-do list, and local animal-care professionals have a few tips. Give your pet the gift of good health this year and check this list twice before filling Fido’s stocking.

East Bay Veterinary Emergency (EBVE) in Antioch is an emergency-only hospital that offers 24-hour emergency veterinary care when your regular vet may be closed or on holiday break. Christina Sutu, operations manager for EBVE, had some advice for folks who may want to share the holiday bounty with their dogs and cats.

“Around this time of year, we are having some great meals for us humans, and it can be tempting to want to share that with our pets,” Sutu admitted. “However, some things that are high in fat, like turkey skin and ham, can actually put a pet into acute pancreatitis, which can be fatal. If we are putting together a holiday feast for our pets, we should be keeping it light and healthy, with no butter, no seasoning and steamed vegetables.”

Sutu added that bones, such as the ones in that leftover turkey carcass, can prove both tempting and hazardous to dogs and cats. She advises that all bones be secured to keep pets safe from choking on them.

When shopping to fill your pet’s stocking, Sutu said to consider some interactive toys.

“Animals love interactive toys and food bowls,” she explained. “You can get a lot of things these days to stimulate them mentally and physically. You could also get them a fancier can or two of food, depending on their dietary restrictions.”

Over in Brentwood, Shannon Cameron RVT, CVPM, is the administrator for the Brentwood Veterinary Hospital (BVH). Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, BVH specializes in wellness care and is committed to educating owners and providing the best possible treatment for its animal clientele.

Cameron said one of the things that brings pets in their doors this time of year is consumption of dangerous plants.

“The three big ones right now are poinsettias, mistletoe, and lilies,” she said. “Every plant has its own issues. They can cause vomiting, irritation of the mouth or stomach and potentially worse. Some plants are toxic, and you have to be careful. Cats especially like to pick at them.”

Cameron also advised owners to keep rich foods and chocolate out of reach of pets and to keep the animal poison control number handy. When it comes to gift shopping, she suggested staying away from anything that can be chewed up and swallowed.

“That’s the biggest problem this time of year,” Cameron explained. “People get chew toys, and they get chewed up and ingested and cause problems, especially with large dogs.”

In any event, concerned pet owners can call EBVE 24/7 when in doubt if a pet is having trouble after hours.

“We can talk you through (your concerns about your pet) and see if it’s something that requires emergency care or if it can wait until the morning,” she said. “We always encourage pet owners to give us a call no matter how big or small the problem seems. We can triage over the phone and that can really help give peace of mind.”

East Bay Veterinary Emergency is located at 1312 Sunset Drive, in Antioch. For more information, contact 925-754-5001 or visit Brentwood Veterinary Hospital is located at 4519 O’Hara Ave., in Brentwood. For more information, contact 925-634 1177 or visit Animal Poison Control can be reached at 888-426-4435. For more information on keeping your house safe for pets, visit