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Tend to your furry flock this holiday season

Posted: November 19, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: November 19, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Humans aren’t the only ones who can feel stressed during the holidays. The family pet can, too.

“You’re trying to get the house ready; there’s people coming over. The pet doesn’t get as much attention as it’s used to and some pets may not like having strangers in the home. They don’t know it’s family and friends,” said Dr. Evelyn Vega, owner of Happy Pets Veterinary Center in Valencia. “It’s not the norm and it disrupts the little world that pets know.”

To keep your pet calm, Dr. Vega suggested giving it space, especially if it doesn’t like being around people. This could be in an enclosed room with a nice, comfy bed to rest on during all the commotion.

Certain herbs and homeopathic solutions, such as Rescue Remedy, can also help. These items can be found at natural food stores or grocery stores, such as Whole Foods.

Another holiday ritual that can disrupt a pet’s world is overeating or consuming foods that aren’t part of its daily diet, such as turkey skin, fat and bones.

“Most of the food we have during the holidays is fattening, and that goes for your pet, too. I see a lot of pancreatitis after Thanksgiving or Christmas from pets breaking into the trash or being fed from the table,” Vega said. “You can still give treats, but just the normal treats your pets are used to and not too many. If you give out too many treats, then cut back on the amount of regular pet food.”

Some human foods — such as raw carrots and apples, white rice and cooked unseasoned chicken breast — are acceptable for dogs, according to Vega.

Stuffing and other such human holiday dishes are not.

“All the ingredients are mixed up, and there’s usually a lot of stuff in there that’s not good for pets,” she said.

Happy Pets Veterinary Center is located at 27550 Newhall Ranch Road, Valencia. For more info, visit


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