Caring Hands, Compassionate Hearts.


Emergency Vet Tips for the Holidays

Vet tips for the holidaysThe holidays are upon us and with them stretched schedules (for people and for pets), naughty snacks (a helping of pancreatitis, anyone?), the tempting tang of tinsel (Fluffy was just flossing, she promises), and let’s not forget that animals and children can generally be relied upon to get sick at the most inconvenient of times. They can’t help it. It’s a scientifically proven fact of life. Okay, it isn’t really proven, but we’ve all been there. Emergency trips to the vet can often be avoided, but sometimes we just need to be prepared for the selective hearing of Uncle Mortimer who tosses a turkey wing to your dog despite being asked not to when he arrived.

Here are our tips on how to be prepared for the consequences of wayward family members and the appetizing allure of floral centerpieces to cats the world over.

It’s all about a two-pronged approach: prevent and be prepared anyway.

Know Your Local Emergency Vet Options

Whether you’re hosting a big meal or hiring a petsitter so you can travel for the holidays, it’s really important to do a bit of research ahead of time. Your pet’s normal veterinarian can see emergency cases during their business hours. Please try to call, and let them know you are coming, though, so they can prepare for your arrival amid their scheduled appointments for faster treatment. This option comes with two benefits:

  • They already know your pet’s medical history.
  • Treatment is typically cheaper than at an emergency clinic.

After normal business hours or on holidays when most businesses are closed, a 24-hour emergency clinic is your best (and in some cases your only) option. These hospitals are not only prepared for emergencies at all times, they often have specialists available to them. (In the Raleigh area, we recommend VSH for after-hours pet emergencies.)

Provide Emergency Vet Info to Petsitters

Be sure to give veterinarians’ names, addresses, and phone numbers to your petsitter or boarding facility. Keep the same info handy for yourself. In an emergency, time is critical.

Pet Emergency Prevention

A dog eating ribbon that could turn into needing an emergency vet.From the dangers of toxic foods, the risk of intestinal blockages, to possible harm if a pet slips out of a door left open too long by a child—a range of things can happen. Sometimes the emergency is just a matter of an existing medical issue going unnoticed or forgotten and getting worse during all the holiday commotion. It’s easy to miss a dose of an important medication, for example, and end up in trouble.





  • Make sure you and your household all know and plan to keep a close eye on your pet and their normal routine. This includes potty time, medicines, meals, and general oversight around temptations.
  • Don’t be shy in asking other people not to feed your pet any table scraps. Fatty foods can trigger pancreatitis in some older pets, cooked bones can splinter in the intestines, etc.
  • Remove toxic items from your home. Guests might bring over a bouquet with lilies which are deadly to cats or leave gum and sweets with xylitol on the coffee table which can be deadly to dogs. Keep these far away from pets.
  • Pet-proof your holiday decor. Animals, especially stressed animals, swallow weird things sometimes. Be mindful of what is accessible. Be very careful with electric string lights, too!
  • Refill prescriptions ahead of time. You don’t want to run out of insulin on a national holiday or 300 miles into your road trip.

Not sure if you have an emergency? Call us!