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Animals at Thanksgiving?



I love to think and ponder things- random things and sometimes meaningful things.  I have tried to explore where my family came from, who they were, and what impact they may have on the world. I find genealogy interesting, especially when it has a personal touch like the TV show “Who Do You Think You Are?”  So I hit ancestry.com with my typical mission based attitude.  I found out a lot of things, but I guess the most interesting thing this time of year is that my 9th great grandfather was aboard the Mayflower.  His name was John Alden (of the Miles Standish love triangle scandal, no less!)

Not long after my discovery, I got to visit Plymouth Plantation and see the replica of what the homes might have looked like and think about how the colonists lived. I got to read the plaques about what the people ate and what they wore and I got to speak with a man who was role playing as one of the pioneer men. He was dressed in era appropriate garb and he spoke with a believable accent.  He told about the role that their animals played in their entire existence.

So then my overactive imagination conjured up images of these brave and pioneering people who faced so many obstacles, only for so many to be lost.  They left their homes with their eyes on a better life.  Perhaps my mission based attitude is genetic from my pioneer ancestor, but nothing that we experience today is like what they endured.  They had to watch friends and family sicken and die.  They struggled with things that we take for granted.  They were forced to make friends with people so different from themselves that they were afraid.  They knew hunger, thirst, disease and suffering, but they built this country that we call home.

Today’s generation would be hard pressed to accomplish what they did, I fear.   I know I would.  I feel cut off from the world when my smart phone battery is dead! I imagined their lives parallel to my own.  They would surely think that I was an angel (or a demon) with my strange devices and my “magical” way of healing the sick, but I think that they would they see how important my job would be to their survival.  They depended on their animals.  The role playing pioneer actor emphasized the importance of their animals in their daily lives. I told him I was a veterinarian and he looked at my quizzically. I tried to slip into character and went on to explain that I have a gift in caring for sick animals and then he smiled and we began to discuss the important role I would have in the colony and how glad he was that I was there.

The replica houses had live animals behind them and the man explained how they cared for and used the animals. Animals are as much a part of our history as the brave people are.

Were there animals at the first Thanksgiving?  We do not know for sure, but we do know that without animals, there would not have been one.


How to include pets in Thanksgiving safely

So, my clients all know that I frown on giving “people food” to pets. But I have pets and I know how it is.  We love them and we want to include them on the festivities.  I am going to tell you how to include them and NOT see me in the following days with vomiting/diarrhea and a variety of symptoms known as “dietary indiscretion”.
Choose wisely. If you think that a food item is not the best idea for you, don’t give it to your pet and there are, of course, ingredients that must be avoided for pets specifically, even though they aren’t toxic to us.

Examples might include:

Highly fatty foods, like ground beef or bacon can cause severe disease in some pets, like emergency pancreatitis. Thanksgiving morning brunch with eggs and sausage is not dog friendly!

Chocolate is never a great idea for pets. No onions, garlic, grapes, raisins or bones should be offered to dogs.

I personally avoid highly processed foods, like breads and pastries for my dogs (and myself).

Remember “all things in moderation”. Never give dogs all the leftover mashed potatoes or clean out the fridge on Black Friday dumping all of it on the dog!
Good choices might include giving a green bean or two or maybe a carrot.  Dessert for your dog could be a piece of melon.  My dogs are grateful to be included and are very excited about anything that I give them.  They never stop and look at me like I should have given them something tastier!

Most pets are just happy to have all the excitement and visitors and the treats are secondary.  Pets show us what being thankful is all about and I am thankful for them!

Urgent: Do you know the dangers in your home that put your cat at risk?

You think that your home is the safest place for your cat, right?  There ARE dangers in your home and you need to know what they are.

We talk with Dr. Tom Day who is a specialist in Emergency and Critical care for pets. He shares which are the most common household reasons he sees cats in his ER practice. These emergencies are preventable with a little forethought, but how can you plan if you don’t know? From medications to plants to things that seem ok, Dr. Day and I are here to help!   You might guess some of these dangers, but you might be surprised. Learn what you can do to prevent these tragedies. Save your cat a stressful visit to the ER and maybe save his/her life.

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Should My Dog Wear a Coat in Winter?


(written by Kathryn Primm, DVM originally published by http://www.iheartdogs.com)

There are two camps of people in the world, dog people and… everyone else! I am only kidding, but there are people that think dogs are “only animals” and do not need all that we provide for them. For those people I have a thought: our dogs are not wolves and not even wild animals at all. We have taken them into human society and they have adapted to it. This process is domestication.

Domestic pets, especially indoor dwelling ones or those that have been modified by selective breeding, have unique needs akin to the needs of the humans that they share space with. We have bred dogs to depend on us for their needs. No longer are they well equipped to fend for themselves and we have accepted responsibility for them as our friends and companions. They protect our homes and possessions and we provide them with ease of living.

They live with us in the controlled climate that dwellings provide. Their bodies are less adapted to extremes of temperature. There are ways to decide if your dog might benefit from a winter coat. Consider the following guidelines.

What kind of coat does my dog naturally have?

Dogs with short, slick coats have less insulation factor. If you have a thick coated dog with an undercoat, he is the most adapted for cold, but use your own judgement. If he seems cold to you, who knows him best, he probably is. Hairless varieties, like Chinese Crested Dogs would probably really like to have a coat for any outdoor time in the winter.

How old is my dog?

If your dog is a senior pet, she may be less tolerant of extremes of temperature and might really appreciate a jacket. If you feel cold, your senior dog probably is too. She is more likely to suffer from age associated disease, as well and may have arthritis or metabolic issues that would make being cold feel even worse.

Is my dog in good health?

Is your dog battling an ongoing illness? If your dog suffers from osteoarthritis, cold temperatures are going to be less comfortable than they might be to another dog. Pets recovering from almost any disease or injury are less able to maintain the best body temperature because their systems are already working hard to recover. These pets will like the warmth of a coat.

What breed is my dog?

Dogs who have less body fat are more likely to need a little help maintaining the right body temperature. Thin dogs may need a jacket more quickly than normal weight dogs. Certain breeds of dog seem less cold tolerant. Chihuahuas seem to tremble a lot and may be more likely to feel chilled. “Sight hounds” like whippets and greyhounds are naturally lean and have short coats. All of these dogs would be likely to appreciate a winter coat.

The best advice is that your dog is with you most of the time. She is adapted to the conditions that typically are comfortable to you. If you are outside for a period of time and you know that you will want your coat, grab hers too.