Written by Richard Tao, DVM

Have you all noticed the chill in the air?  Fall colors and shorter days mean that 2010 is winding down and a new year is around the bend.  These next few months we ™ll spend time visiting family, friends and enjoying the tradition of the holiday season.  The October to December blur comes so fast that it ™s sometimes easy to lose track of our furry friends.  Let ™s take a moment to consider some important points about our pets.

Daylight Savings Time:  These days it ™s hard not to notice the short amount of daylight we actually get to see!  Now that we have just adjusted our clocks to œfall back  the evenings will also get darker much earlier.  Keep this in mind when taking Fluffy out for his or her walk in the evening.  Rush hour starts just before or around dusk.  With those cars hitting the road it might be a good idea to accessorize Fluffy ™s collar with a visible reflector or LED light.  If your kitty is allowed outdoors bring them in before sunset.

Winterize your buddy:  San Luis Obispo is blessed with a temperate climate nearly year round.  Yet when those storms do come it ™s important to provide shelter for any pets that live outside.  Those living above the grade know that nights easily dip below freezing.  Older pets or those with arthritis may have a harder time coping with the cold weather.  A warm and supportive bed can often help these critters tremendously.

Watch the tummy:  We ™re in the midst of the trifecta of gastronomic holidays:  Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas/Chanukah.  Let ™s keep the Reese ™s, butterballs, and latkes above the foraging noses of our dogs and cats.  Of course, Fluffy and Kitty are part of the family but their stomachs may not be prepared for the barrage of Paula Dean that comes with the holidays.  Fatty foods may mean a few extra pounds for us but it can mean gastroenteritis or pancreatitis for our pets.

Home Alone:  During the holidays we take trips to visit family and friends.  It might mean leaving Fluffy with our fine lodge facility or hiring a house sitter.  For day trips it might even mean leaving Fluffy home alone.  Our pets are our loyal companions.  They love our company as much as we love theirs.  However, you celebrate the holidays why not take a moment to spend some quality time with them.  Include your pets in your family photos.  Give them special toys as gifts.  And most of all, give them a hug, a pat, and a smile.