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Veterinary Care At Christmas - How Dog Owners Should Prepare For Potential Problems

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, the whole country tends to pause over the festive season, with many businesses and organisations taking a few days off and in some cases, working shorter hours on dates like Christmas Eve and New Years Eve. This also affects the opening hours of veterinary clinics too, and while some clinics will offer cover over Christmas if you need to take your dog along in an emergency, this can of course be very expensive!

Additionally, some clinics will pass their out of hours care onto larger centres that may work from another clinic or even town, which means that if you have an emergency with your dog at Christmas, it may take you longer to get in touch with your vet, and you may have to go further to get your dog there too.

If your dog has any ongoing health problems, it is vitally important to find out about this type of thing and know what to do if you needed to speak to a vet-and even if your dog is in excellent health, it is still wise to stay informed, just in case!

In this article, we will look at some of the potential factors that you should consider when it comes to veterinary care over the Christmas period, in order to be prepared if something should go wrong. Read on to learn more.

Prevention is better than cure

First of all, it is of course much better to prevent a problem from occurring than it is to try to deal with it later on, so take some time to review what’s happening in your home over Christmas, and what this might mean in terms of additional hazards for your dog.

Read up on toxins and dangers to dogs that tend to be around during the festive season, and do what you can to prevent a potential emergency later on when all of the clinics are closed!

Don’t let any potential problems linger

If you have any concerns about your dog’s health or are wondering if there is something going on that may be of concern, the wait and see approach often fails spectacularly at Christmas, which can lead to the need for an out of hours consult in an emergency if things suddenly escalate.

If there is something niggling at you when it comes to your dog’s health, get this checked out well in advance of the holiday closures, and enjoy peace of mind on the day itself!

Find out what’s happening out of hours at your local clinic

Check your local clinic’s website or give them a call to find out what their plans are for cover and veterinary services over the holiday period, and how to get in touch with a vet if you need to.

If you do have an emergency without being prepared, phone the clinic’s normal number, and they will invariably have an answerphone message telling you how to proceed-but in an emergency, this can take valuable time that can be avoided if you already know in advance.

Check if they will be providing their own holiday coverage, or if they will be passing it on to a centralised service or another practice-and keep the details for said service to hand, along with the dates that this coverage is in effect.

Get a copy of your dog’s records

If your clinic will be passing on care over the holidays or if you will be taking your dog to another area and so, another clinic, pop into your local vet a couple of weeks before the day and ask them to print you off a copy of your dog’s veterinary history.

This is a handy thing to have anyway, but particularly if you need to take your dog to another clinic when your main clinic is closed, in order to give the vet a complete picture of your dog’s background and any health issues to work with.

Make plans for transportation

If you have an emergency with your dog over Christmas, the first thing that you need to do after contacting a vet and arranging to go in is work out how you are going to get there. Many people like a drink over Christmas, which can mean that you will have a houseful of people who are unable to drive-and a panic then to work out how to get to the clinic.

Find out if any of your family or guests are planning on staying sober over Christmas, and if they would be happy being the designated dog driver if needed-and if not, phone around your local taxi services to find out which of them will offer coverage over Christmas, in case you need to use them.

Does your insurer provide an advice service?

If your dog is insured, you may find that part of your insurance policy includes 24 hour access to a dedicated advice line, staffed by qualified veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses. Whilst this is often a selling point for many policies, we are also apt to forget about it as time goes by, and not recall the fact when we do need it!

Check your policy or insurer to see if they provide access to an advice line, as this can help you during an emergency, and assist you in resolving any problems or queries you have directly.


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