How to make sure your dog stays healthy at Christmas
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How to make sure your dog stays healthy at Christmas

Many businesses close or scale back their services over the festive season - and this applies to veterinary practices too. You’ll want to make sure your pet stays fit and healthy - here are some things for you to consider when it comes to veterinary care over the Christmas period so that you are prepared if something goes wrong.

Do your research

It is much better to prevent a problem from occurring than to try to deal with it later on, so take some time to review what will be happening in your home over Christmas, and what this could mean in terms of hazards for your dog. For example, some human foods like raisins and currants, which are found in Christmas cakes and puddings, are poisonous to dogs. Chocolate is also toxic to dogs - so much sure all temptation is kept out of reach of your dog.

Do your research to find out about things that can be toxic and dangerous to dogs during the festive season, and what you need to do in the event of an emergency.

Get any pet health concerns checked out

In the run up to Christmas, if you have any concerns about your dog’s health, get them checked out before the start of the festive period. Leaving it could result in an out of hours emergency trip to the vet.

And if your dog has any ongoing health problems, make sure you know what to do and who to call if things get worse.

Know what to do in an emergency

Look on the website of your veterinary practice or give them a call to find out what their plans are over the holiday period, and how to get in touch with a vet if you need to.

Some clinics pass their out of hours services to larger centres that may work from another location. This means that if you have an emergency with your dog at Christmas, you may have to travel further afield to see a vet.

If your dog does need to see a vet in an emergency and you don’t know what the out of hours arrangements are, try phoning your vet’s normal number where you will most likely find the details in an answerphone message. However, it’s best to be prepared and find out this information in advance.

Get a copy of your pet’s health records

If your clinic will be transferring their emergency services to another clinic over the holidays or if you are going to be out of the area, it can be a good idea to ask your vet to give you a copy of your pet’s health records.

If you need to take your dog to another veterinary clinic this will help to give the vet a complete picture of your dog’s health history and any known issues.

Think about transport

If you were to have an emergency with your dog over Christmas, think about how you would take them to the vet. Many people like a drink over Christmas, which could mean you have a houseful of people who are unable to drive. Plan ahead by finding out which of your local taxi services will be operating over Christmas, just in case you need to use them or identify which member of your family or a guest would be the designated driver in an emergency.

Check your pet insurance

If your dog is insured, you may find that part of your insurance policy includes 24-hour access to a dedicated online veterinary service, which is staffed by qualified veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses. Check your insurance policy to find out if this service is available to you and how to use it in an emergency.

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