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Disease and stress risks around the holidays

Disease and stress risks around the holidaysThis time of year is usually packed with family gatherings and lots of visiting.  In our families, this means lots of visiting dogs as well.  Even though we know our families’ pets pretty well, that doesn’t mean that our animals will get along well once they are forced together in a party-like setting.  In addition to the stress of social interaction, putting together dogs or cats with different medical backgrounds can put them at risk for disease.  For dogs and cats the most common spreadable diseases are upper respiratory infections (‘colds’ or kennel cough), worms, stomach viruses, and fleas.  Family members aren’t always forthcoming with the status of their pet’s health- the family of one of our own staff members didn’t share the fact that their pets had fleas before she came over with both of her dogs.  Disease can be spread through shared food and water bowls, toys, licking, and playing.  Even if diseases aren’t present, the stress of this interaction can be too much for some anxious dogs or cats.  Pheromone collars can be very helpful for this type of problem.  These collars release a chemical that calms dogs and cats and they last for 30 days once opened.  We carry Adaptil collars for dogs and Nurture Calm collars for cats.  If you have a pet that doesn’t tolerate a collar, this same pheromone is available in a spray.  You can spray your car or a favorite blanket in case of stressful car rides as well.  Before getting all of your animals together, we also recommend that they are up to date on their vaccinations (rabies, distemper combo, and Bordetella for dogs; rabies and distemper combo for cats), and that these have been boostered at least 1 week before exposure to other animals.  Please call if you have any questions about helping your pets have a happy and healthy holiday season.

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