Tag Archives: christmas holiday season

Time to budget

It’s a holiday weekend in New Zealand  – for Labour Day.  And every year this holiday also marks the start of the pre-Christmas season.  christmas_dog_highdefinition_picture_168935

As many of you understand, Christmas falls in the summer school holiday period in New Zealand. Many companies shut down during this time and require their workers to take some of their annual leave, since trading can be minimal or non-existent.    If workers don’t have enough paid days, then it can mean time off without pay.

And every year, for a range of reasons including more money being spent on holidays, entertaining and gifts, I see owners who can’t fund the full costs of their dog’s care.

This blog post is a reminder about the items you need to set money aside for in your end of year budget. And the time to budget is NOW.

dog-budgeting

  • Food
  • Treats
  • Medications
  • Supplements
  • Costs for vet care, such as visits for required vaccinations if you are boarding your dog
  • Boarding and care costs, if you are heading away

Just as in people, medications and supplements are only effective if their dosage is kept up.  And dogs on things like pain medication will suffer with break-through pain as medications wear off.  In other cases – let’s say heart medication – stopping this medication could be life-threatening.

Because of their stoic nature, dogs often hide their pain and/or owners miss the signals – such as withdrawing from activity – which are indicators of a dog in pain.  For this reason, some owners think they can get away with a ‘short break’ from medication.

With supplements, once the loading doses are given and the effective dose is reached, there is a level of stability with the coverage given by the supplement.  Stop giving it and you are faced with starting a loading dose all over again.  Many owners miss this step and go back to regular dosages, further compromising the value to the dog of giving the supplement in the first place!

When we take on a dog into our family, we’re responsible for lifetime care as with any other family member.  When there is only so much money to go around, sometimes the silent member of the family – the dog – is the one to miss out.

Please remember health care is a basic right for all animals and plan your holiday budget accordingly.  If that means less money for Christmas festivities – so be it.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Your dog is not a garbage can

This is a garbage can...

This is a garbage can…

...and this is a dog.

…and this is a dog

Please understand the difference this Christmas!

Veterinarians around the world see a surge in cases of pancreatitis each year during the Christmas holiday season.  That’s because our homes are filled with rich, fatty foods that are as tempting to dogs as they are to us.  A single high-fat meal is enough to trigger the problem – and so the well-meaning family members who empty their plate in your dog’s bowl rather than the garbage are often at fault.

Low protein, high fat diets have been known to cause pancreatitis and it is a life-treatening condition. Symptoms of pancreatitis are acute vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, lethargy, loss of appetite, and in some cases, fever. The dog may have a tucked-up belly and assume a prayer position. The abdominal pain is caused by the release of digestive enzymes into the pancreas and surrounding tissue.

More severe cases of pancreatitis can develop rapidly and a dog can go into shock – a trip to the emergency veterinary center is essential.

Vets will treat your dog with fluids, antibiotics and pain relief and will withdraw all foods for a number of days to rest the pancreas.   Assuming your dog survives,  its pancreas may be permanently damaged.  In these cases, your dog may develop diabetes mellitus if the islet cells have been destroyed or may develop exocrine pancreatic insufficiency if the acinar cells have been destroyed.

Dogs who have experienced one pancreatitis episode are susceptible to having future attacks that can be anywhere from mild to severe.

The lesson?  Your dog is not a garbage can.  Treats should be served in moderation and carefully monitored by one member of the family to ensure the dog isn’t over-fed.  Avoiding table scraps is always a good idea.

Snoopy’s Christmas

It’s officially the Christmas holiday season – celebrate with a montage of Snoopy pictures in this YouTube video of Snoopy’s Christmas!