The holidays are a time of joyous celebration with friends and family, but with the tasty banquets and twinkling lights come a number of hazards for pets. Fortunately, our vethelpline® experts are here to answer the tough questions.
These are real stories from real vethelpline® users.
All Nationwide pet insurance members have unlimited 24/7 access to vethelpline® experts over the phone and via the vethelpline® app.
About 30 minutes ago, our pooch Amos ate a whole turkey bone that was approximately 4-5 inches in length. So far, he is acting normal, but what should I do?
Turkey bones can be very dangerous for dogs. The main concern for this type of ingestion is a foreign body obstruction—a blockage in the stomach or intestines—and the risk of puncture if the bone has sharp edges or splintering. We recommend an immediate veterinary evaluation for medical care, which may include X-rays along with other treatments.
We do not recommend that you try to induce vomiting at home. Doing so puts Amos at higher risk of choking and injury to the esophagus if the bone is splintered. In the event that the ingested bone doesn’t present an immediate danger, the veterinarian will likely recommend home monitoring and bulking the diet (i.e. feeding Amos extra food and/or adding lunch to his feeding schedule for a few days).
Member concern: Tangles up in the tree
Our kitty Charlie was home alone for the last 12 hours. He likes laying under the Christmas tree, but tonight when we came home, we discovered that he had got all tangled up in the cords.
He had a cord wrapped pretty tightly around his neck, and we found blood on his shoulder area. There’s also a red spot on his tongue—we aren’t sure what that is from. We don’t know how long he was tangled, but he’s acting normal now that we freed him. Should we take Charlie to the vet anyway?
We’re so sorry this happened to Charlie! Unfortunately, many of the injuries that could come from being tangled up in those cords won’t be immediately apparent.
We recommend immediate veterinary care for evaluation to rule out injury from the asphyxiation. We also think he should be checked out for burns and electrocution if he bit into the active cords. Based on exam, additional diagnostics and supportive care may be recommended.
Member concern: Gingerbread rabbits
Our rabbit, Ruby, ingested a gum drop from a gingerbread house kit about 10 minutes ago. She’s showing no symptoms, and we haven’t tried any home therapies yet. What should we do?
Ingestion of the gum drop is not a big concern for systemic toxicity, although she could wind up with an upset tummy from it. Make sure that Ruby has access to fresh water and good quality hay.
Keep an eye on Ruby for the next 24 hours or so. Watch out for any decrease in appetite or stool production or an increase in teeth grinding. Seek immediate veterinary care if you see any of these signs.
*Pets’ names have been changed
vethelpline® experts are not a substitute for your veterinarian. They cannot prescribe or authorize refills of medications, treat, or diagnose your pet’s condition.
Paw-liday pet tips
As you get ready to celebrate this year's festivities, avoid a not-so-joyous trip to the vet's office by watching for holiday pet hazards.