With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, we have yet another opportunity to partner with our clients and arm them with knowledge! A great seasonal handout for clients includes information about pancreatitis and salmonella poisoning. Both can occur if we don’t keep our pets safe around this festive holiday.

Dog staring down cooked turkey.

It’s not too early to create a document to give to your clients when they first check in, or upon check out. The document should cover turkey, greasy or fatty foods, alcohol, spices, sweets, behavioral issues and expectations, and even the stress of the holidays on our pets! You can highlight pancreatitis and salmonella poisoning as potential outcomes. Offering behavioral tips and tricks can also be helpful to clients whose pets become stressed with a changing environment.

Start out by discussing turkey. Sometime we leave the bird out to thaw; I have seen many dogs take advantage of this opportunity! Ingesting raw or undercooked turkey puts pets at risk for salmonella poisoning, other bacterial infections, and pancreatitis! Here you can list the serious nature of the aforementioned illnesses, when they should seek your veterinary assistance, and the recommended course of treatment. You can talk about other risks, including the sharp bones that can splinter and cause choking or get lodged within the intestines. The handout should go on to outline similar dangers associated with other fatty or greasy foods, the dangers of other foods like garlic and onions, alcohol ingestion, and even the sweet treats we have for dessert. Of course, we want to remind our clients of the dangers of leaving out the delicious smelling garbage as well.

Finally, we should offer a gentle reminder that pets, like people, can become stressed with the added holiday commotion. Tell clients how to create a safe haven for pets so that they have an escape to a quiet and calm environment – this can be a great way to avoid behavioral issues. Finally, remind clients to take their dog for a walk before the crowds arrive to reduce anxiety and pent up energy.

Being a healthcare partner with your clients will help to build trust as well as a lasting relationship. Seasonal handouts are a great way to help them keep their beloved pets safe and healthy and can be great practice builders. Have a wonderful and delicious Thanksgiving!

Sheila Grosdidier, SCP
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