Thinking about adding a new furry member to the family to ring in the new year? Before saying yes, make sure you have enough time to dedicate to a new dog or cat. Veterinarian Dr. Carol Osborne joins us this week to share some helpful tips on adoption, pet health and how to keep your cat or dog happy and well-adjusted at home.
…The foods that you’re going to throw out, like the Turkey skin, the greasy things that you don’t want to eat, those are the things that make most pets sick.-Dr. Carol Osborne
- Dr. Carol Osborne, veterinarian, owner, Chagrin Falls Veterinary Center & Pet Clinic.
21-52 Managing Your Pet's Health Heading Into 2022
[00:00:00] Nancy Benson: While the Christmas buzz may be over, New Year's Eve is just around the corner. For many, this means another week where it's still technically the holidays. It's a chance to hopefully slow down at work, spend time with family, and partake in some holiday food and fun. If you're a pet owner, it's also an opportunity to spend some quality time at home with your furry friend or feline companion. However, during the season, it can be all too easy to want to treat your pet with tasty foods that they'll enjoy. Practicing veterinarian Dr. Carol Osborne says it's important to be strict about what your pet is consuming. Just because you're indulging in holiday sweets or savory foods, doesn't mean that your animal should automatically do the same.
[00:00:55] Dr. Carol Osborne: During the holidays, it's very tempting and leads to a lot of tummy upsets and unwanted trips to the pet ER.
[00:01:03] Nancy Benson: Osborne is an integrative veterinarian, and the owner of the Chagrin Falls Veterinary Center and Pet Clinic in Ohio. She says that if you do give your pet a small sample of something from the dinner table, choose these options:
[00:01:18] Dr. Carol Osborne: If you want to share a bit of the holiday foods with your pet and your pet is pretty healthy and isn't suffering from any chronic liver, kidney, heart, etc. disorder, in most cases, it's just fine. A piece of lean Turkey is just as healthy for your pet as it is for you and I. Along with some nice green beans, maybe a little bit of sweet potato, maybe even a little dabble of pumpkin pie, if it's not all full of sugar. But, the foods that you're going to throw out, like the Turkey skin, the greasy things that you don't want to eat, those are the things that make most pets sick.
[00:01:57] Nancy Benson: Other definite no-nos for your dog or cat are macadamia nuts, chocolate, and also coffee, which contains caffeine and can damage their heart. Any other items to keep an eye out? Osborne mentioned these commonly stocked holiday ingredient:
[00:02:14] Dr. Carol Osborne: Alcohol, yeast dough, you know, if you're making cookies with your kids, and you got a chow hound, don't let them eat the raw dough. Because it rises in their tummy. And then they get a great big stomach ache. And the breakdown product of yeast is alcohol, which isn't good at all. Grapes and raisins: that's huge. Just one grape or a couple of reasons can cause kidney failure in dogs. And that is something I have experienced more than once with my patients.
[00:02:47] Nancy Benson: Another threat is when people give their dogs leftover bones from the holiday feast. It can seem like a good idea in the moment, but can result in emergency surgery if the bone breaks. While certain raw frozen bones are fine, Osborne says stay away from cooked bones because they can splinter more easily and tear the stomach and intestinal lining. To be on the safe side, head to your local pet store, which offers a variety of differently shaped and sized bones for your dog. In addition to keeping a good diet, it's also important to visit the vet. Osborne recommends an annual appointment where animals get a general health exam and owners can address any concerns. Osborne says that over the years, several people have asked if they should invest in pet insurance. The decision is ultimately up to each person, but Osborne generally recommends against it. She says, instead of paying expensive monthly premiums, put the money towards an emergency savings fund for your dog or cat.
[00:03:49] Dr. Carol Osborne: If you somehow end up with a pet that has some kind of a chronic hereditary or genetic condition, or some horrendous health crisis, then if you have pet insurance, it will be a godsend. In my experience as a practicing veterinarian for many years, those are the exception as opposed to the rule. And that's why when people come in and ask me for the most part, that's what I tell them. I say, if you have some extra money, throw it in a shoe box. And if, and when something happens, you'll have plenty of money to take care of it. A lot of these insurance companies, the rates are not dissimilar from those that people pay. And I don't really know that the value was actually there.
[00:04:34] Nancy Benson: If you do choose to get pet insurance Osborne says, read the fine print closely. Many policies do not cover pre-existing conditions or injuries that began before coverage. It's also likely that premiums will drastically increase as your pet ages.
[00:04:51] Dr. Carol Osborne: The number of pet insurance companies has grown by leaps and bounds. And the reason that it's grown by leaps and bounds is because of the amount of money they're making is in the billions of dollars. So insurance is always great. If money is not an issue, most definitely, I would say get pet insurance. But if you're like many Americans and we're watching this dollar and watching that dollar, then I think the shoe box is not a bad consideration.
[00:05:21] Nancy Benson: As millions of Americans construct new plans and goals for 2022, some may decide to add a new member to the family. Osborne recommends getting a new pet during a relatively calm period, instead of a busy stretch like the holidays.
[00:05:37] Dr. Carol Osborne: I always say the worst possible time to bring a pet home is Christmas, New Year's, on someone's birthday... when the best time to bring a pet home is when absolutely nothing is going on. So that all the members in the home focus 100% on that new pet. And another big point I'd like to make is getting a pet is a very, very personal experience. You never want to give a pet as a gift. If you're tempted to because your mom or dad, or a good friend, a collar, a leash, a book for children spending a couple hours at a local shelter volunteering. Those are all great things to do to familiarize that individual with, again, the needs and requirements, behavior, different personalities of these different animals that when they come into your home are going to be a 15 to 20 plus year commitment that you need to be ready to stand behind.
[00:06:39] Nancy Benson: Caring for a pet throughout its life also means giving them time to adjust during periods of change. As some workers prepare to return to the office starting next year, it's important to plan for your dog's own transition to being alone again.
[00:06:54] Dr. Carol Osborne: You have to begin rewarding the dog for his or her independent playtime, independent behavior. For example, when most of us go to leave the house, for whatever reason, many of us have a routine. We grab our purse, we grab our keys and put on your jacket. Animals know these things. So grab your purse, your jacket, and your keys at times other than when you're going to leave the house. If you're working out of a home office, where in most cases your pet would be right there at the side of your desk or underneath your desk, try taking your pet's favorite toy or really great bone, for example, and put it in the room next door to your office. And when your pet has been in that other room and enjoying the bone, even if it's just for five or six minutes, you want to calmly walk in and reward that behavior. So slowly but surely they realize that they can have a wonderful time in life, even when mom and dad aren't home.
[00:08:01] Nancy Benson: Owning a pet is a big commitment, but the companionship and love received in return is immeasurable. To learn more about managing your pet's health and our guest, Dr. Carol Osborne, visit viewpointsradio.org. You can also check out her clinic's site at chagrinfallspetclinic.com.
The segment was written and produced by Amirah Zaveri. Studio production by Jason Dickey. I'm Marty Peterson.
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