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Top 5 Tips for Caring for Your Pets Over Holidays

Published on December 15, 2021.
Last Updated December 15, 2021.
holiday pet care tips
No one wants to spend their Christmas holidays in an emergency waiting room. Read 5 tips that'll save your pet from ending up with an emergency vet these holidays.

Holidays are often a joyous and relaxing time. However, every year, especially around the Christmas-New Year period, SASH sees an explosion of cases in our Emergency department, many of which are preventable.

Vets typically work long hours every day, and just like other professionals, also need to take time off for holidays to spend time with family and friends. For this reason, it is common for many vet practices to close around the Christmas-New Year holidays. Closures of local vet clinics means that cases often end up with hospitals like SASH, that remain open 365 days a year. External veterinary support services such as diagnostic laboratories also close, or run at lower capacity, meaning slower turn around for some tests. These factors lead to some very long wait times, especially for non-urgent cases.

SASH recommends the following top 5 tips for caring for your pet around the holidays. These will not only benefit your furry family members, but will also save you a trip to the Emergency department.

1. Check when your local vet closes

The first thing to do before the holidays is to contact your regular vet and find out if and when they are closing for the holidays. This is essential for planning for the following tips.

If your regular vet doesn’t close, it may be a good idea to see them before the holidays, as they are likely to be very busy over the holiday period.

2. Have problems seen by your local vet before the holidays

If you have any concerns about your pet, be sure to take them to see your local vet before Christmas. Leaving issues or concerns unattended throughout the holidays would mean that there are fewer options available if things get worse. Having these issues sorted before the holidays is recommended to avoid a trip to emergency, which could result in a long wait.

If you have concerns or questions about travelling with your pet, be sure to have your local vet assess your pet well in advance of your trip.

Seeking care outside of holiday periods is also advantageous as services such as diagnostic labs, imaging facilities, and specialist services are fully operational, leading to a faster diagnosis and more treatment options.

3. Stock up on medication before the holidays

One of the most common enquiries we see at SASH during the holidays is requests for medication refills. If your pet is not a current patient, by law, we must assess your pet before prescribing medication. If your pet requires prescription medication, we recommend you stock up on medication before your local vet closes for the holidays.

4. Know the top holiday dangers

One of the other reasons why emergency cases increase during holidays is because the holidays are often associated with an increased number of common foods and household items that are potentially dangerous to pets. Be sure to brush up on our list of Top 17 Christmas Dangers for Pets article.

5. Know when to take your pet to emergency

This video explains how to identify it’s time to take your pet into emergency.

If your pet’s condition is urgent or life-threatening, it is likely they will be seen immediately. However, outside of these cases, you may need to be prepared for extended wait times, reaching many hours. Bringing a book or powerbank for your phone may be a good idea to help to pass the time.

You can find more information about the types of urgent cases that require immediate veterinary attention in our Emergency page.

Please be patient and courteous to the vets, nurses, and client services team who sacrifice their holidays to work emergency. They are doing the best to provide world class care during a very busy time.

About the Author

Jerry Liu

Veterinarian
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SASH is home to some of Australia’s leading specialists and veterinary experts. If you have any concerns about your pet, please get in touch with us.

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