BG veterinarians see spike in holiday-anxious pets with GI problems

Expert warn against rawhides, antlers, rope toys and more

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Some Bowling Green veterinarians say they’re seeing COVID pets who are already prone to anxiety struggling to calm down in a season so out of the ordinary.

Owner and founder of All Creatures Animal Hospital Dr. Pat McGrath says, “Their owners are pulling out all the boxes and stuff regarding Christmas trees and Christmas decorations. They’re home more often. They’re home less often. All of those things can cause GI signs.”

McGrath says if you’re expecting a full house for the holidays, you may want to slowly introduce your pet to your family members.

“20 people knocking on the door at one time is a little overwhelming for a six-pound puppy that doesn’t quite know what to do. And that just leads to more stress.”

Also, during this season of gift giving you’ll also want to protect your pup’s stomach from choking hazards.

Southcentral Veterinary Services Assistant Veterinarian Dr. Hollis says hard bones with knots on the end can get caught in your pup’s throat. She warns against those, as well as rawhides and earpieces, which don’t digest.

“I’m sure you can imagine it’s not exactly made to fit through the esophagus. Some of our big breed dogs, they just get so excited that they swallow it whole, and then that can cause some pretty severe issues.”

Hollis also advises against antlers or rib bones.

“It’s as hard as a rock so I’m sure you can imagine this is not too kind to our teeth.”

Along with a trip to the dentist, she says the pieces can severely puncture our pets’ intestines.

Hollowed-out bones, Hollis warns, are another no-go stocking stuffer, especially for smaller pups.

“They can actually get their jaw stuck through this, and so then we have to sedate them and we actually have to take the tool and cut this in half so we can get it off of their jaw…. I always recommend staying away from rope toys. These are really dangerous, especially for dogs who like to tear those toys apart because these strings will actually go into the intestines…. They can even dissolve through the intestines, and is a life-threatening emergency as well.”

Hollis says despite the bad toys on the market, there are quite a few safe options out there. as well.

“My favorite are the Kong toys. [There’s one Kong toy] my dog has had for six years. They’re durable, so you might spend a little more upfront but it’s a lot safer.”