Your pet’s health and medications during the holidays

Your pet’s health and medications during the holidays - A dog and cat sleeping by a festive blanket

During the holidays we spend time with family, friends, and our pets. As a good pet parent, enjoying the holidays with your family pets includes: managing your pet’s health and medications, caring for your senior pets, and being prepared for all the potential pet emergencies that can happen during the holiday festivities.

As friends and family come together for the holidays, pet parents also have their pets to consider. With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, our furry friends may sometimes pick up on our stress and excitement. We may have house guests coming and going, dinner parties, and special plans in mind, which may distract us from remembering the smallest details around pet care over the holidays.

If your pets require special care or have medication requirements, it’s important to ensure that you have their prescription meds and any over-the-counter (OTC) medications that you might need during the holidays. It can be a challenge to shop for their medications in-store or pick them up at the vet clinic or pharmacy with busy holiday schedules, vet closures, and reduced hours. Before administering any prescription or OTC medications to your pet, always consult with your veterinarian to avoid any adverse reactions or other unforeseen problems.

Holiday travel with your pet

Traveling with your pet can be stressful, especially if they are not good travelers. If you do have a long road trip planned or even a short trip, as a responsible pet parent you’ll have your pet’s bag packed with everything they need, including food, treats, water, disposable bags, favorite blanket, medications, and more.

You never know when your dog might have an upset stomach or your cat is going to experience motion sickness. Additional ways to help with these symptoms are vet-approved calming treats, sprays, and other agents. If you think your dog or cat will get a bit restless in the vehicle, it is more comfortable for you and them to take a safe, soothing remedy for your journey.

Holiday parties with your pet

Pets can make family gatherings fun but also chaotic. There is a certain etiquette when adding our furry friends to the party list, whether you are the guests or you are hosting in your home. If your family pet is unfamiliar with being around other dogs or cats, it might be best to leave them at home to avoid giving them unnecessary anxiety. If you're hosting, give them a safe place to retreat away from the noise and unfamiliar sights, sounds, and smells. Even when bringing them to family and friends, being aware of your animal's surroundings is the best way to keep them happy and safe.

During the holiday meal, it is almost unavoidable that someone somewhere will sneak your pet some people food. If your pet is experiencing vomiting or diarrhea, these may be signs that they got into some of the table scraps from the holiday meal.  In most scenarios, small amounts of people's food can be fine, but larger quantities of specific foods may be more dangerous.

If you suspect your pet ingested something they shouldn’t have and seems ill or uncomfortable, contact ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, a poison-related emergency helpline, available 24 hours, 365 days a year.

Help calm your pet while you’re away

With all of the holiday excitement for your pet, especially in new places with new people, they may need extra care. It can be helpful to give them a calming treat before joining the festivities. Calming medication may also be helpful when leaving nervous pets at home to avoid distraught animals while you’re away.

Senior pets during the holidays

Senior pets are a part of the family, and they have been with us through many holiday seasons. Exercise in moderation is good for our aging pets. But they might just need extra help keeping up with all the activities. If you’ve noticed the family dog or cat is slowing down a bit, it might be arthritis. Other indicators of health issues will be an unusually fluctuating weight or appetite. Consult with your veterinarian to properly diagnose your senior pet.

Conditions & routine medications

Whether you’re staying home or traveling this season, be sure to have all of your pet’s prescription medications, vitamins, minerals, or other supplements. As pet parents, we want to be prepared for chronic issues that may arise, such as ear or eye infections, allergies, and respiratory conditions.

OTC medications and prescription meds can be purchased online to help maintain your pet’s health. Always consult a veterinarian before administering medication to ensure there are no drug interactions, allergic reactions, or other potential risks.

If your dog has diabetes, you’ll want to have home test kits on hand so that you can manage their health. To keep your pet's medications routine, use PetMeds for your pet’s prescription insulin and supplies.

Be prepared for your pet

Most vet clinics will have reduced hours over the holidays, emergency clinics will be busy, and your regular veterinarian may be unavailable. And if you are traveling, you may not be familiar with the veterinarian clinics in the area. To help be prepared, choose an online veterinarian from Vetster to book an online appointment.

As we enjoy the holiday season and spend time with family and friends, rest assured that you’ve taken all the precautions and are prepared to care for your pet and maintain its health now and throughout the year. If you have questions about what pet medications to have on deck for specific medical conditions, meet with a vet virtually to discuss and plan ahead.

With these tips, we wish you no bumps along the way and a happy holiday for you and your pets!

FAQ - Your pet’s health and medications during the holidays

I am taking my dog on a road trip. What can I do to prepare for this?

Dogs, and most especially puppies, commonly experience motion sickness on car rides, which often results in vomiting, lethargy, or restlessness. The good news is there are treatments available. Many times, as your puppy gets used to going on car rides, the likelihood of motion sickness decreases as they become desensitized to the motion sensation. If your puppy doesn’t grow out of it, consult your veterinarian. There are medications available to reduce the symptoms of motion sickness.

Are OTC medications safe for my pet?

Most OTC medications for humans, and even those formulated specifically for animals, can be dangerous for animals if they are not administered properly with veterinary guidance.  Always consult with a veterinarian before giving your pet meds to ensure the treatment and proper dosage are correct.

Can I get prescription medication for my pet without going to the vet?

Prescriptions for animals are handled similarly to prescriptions for people. In most cases, your pet will need to see a veterinarian before being prescribed any medications. However, if you are traveling during the holidays or are otherwise unable to visit your regular veterinarian, you can book an online virtual care appointment with a Vetster veterinarian regardless of where you are. The online vet will examine your furry friend via video chat and may be able to prescribe any necessary medications. You can then purchase the prescription through the VetsterRx online pharmacy (depending on the state or province).

The Vetster Editorial Team is comprised of seasoned writers and communicators dedicated to elevating stories about Vetster, pets and their owners.

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