Pets as a Gift

We always have that one person that is really hard to buy a gift for. Well, if you are thinking about buying them a pet as a gift, we want you to really think it through. It use to be thought that pets bought as gifts were at a higher risk of being abandoned, but more recent research has shown that to be incorrect. That doesn’t mean you should rush out and buy someone a new kitten or puppy.

For one, many people like to be a part of the choosing process. So make sure you know exactly what the want.

One of the biggest gifting faux pas of gifting a pet is not taking care of all the new pet care. Nobody likes being given a gift that comes with a bill attached to it. So if you decide to give a puppy or kitten make sure to go through our new pet check list. Your giftee will be thankful.

 Vaccination – make sure you get in to get your shots updated

 Pet license  – Albuquerque requires that you have a pet license, we can take care of that for you in our Los Lunas and Albuquerque Vet-Co clinics.

 Microchipping – If your fur baby ever gets lost, a microchip will make it much easier for them to be returned to you safe and sound.

 Spay and Neuter – Not all puppies and kittens come already spayed or neutered. You can get them fixed as young as 2 months.

 Declaw – This is best to do when they are young and can be paired with their spay/neuter.

 Flea and Tick treatment/prevention – It is a good idea to treat every new pet for flea and ticks as well as get them started on their semi-annual Frontline Flea and Tick prevention treatment.

 Supplies – food, food bowl, water bowl, litter, toys, leash, collar, catnip, fur ball remedy, soft paws, water dish, dog bed, crate, treats.


Don’t Deck the Halls with Death: Toxic Plants

toxic poinsettia pets albuquerque

toxic poinsettia pets albuquerqueDeck the halls with boughs of holly, fa la la la la la la la la….well, if you have pets you may want to reconsider this festive lyrical suggestion. During the holidays we tend to decorate our homes with more indoor plants than any other time of year. Though this is pretty, it can also be deadly to your pet.  Most animals like to chew on plants to add some roughage to their diet. They can be a good source of vitamins and can help with indigestion. For cats, eating plants can help move hairballs through their stomachs so they can cough them up easily.

There are many plants that are perfectly ok for your pet to eat, but many of our holiday plants are toxic.  Many plants are also sprayed with pesticide which can also be toxic to your pet. Toxic reaction to pesticides include vomiting, seizures, coma, and death.

Most Toxic Holiday Plants


This is the favorite holiday plant. It is perfect for tables, or hanging baskets, and just makes the house look beautiful. If your pet eats the leaves of a Poinsettia it can cause nausea and vomiting.


Ready to kiss someone under the mistletoe? This is the most romantic of holiday plants and is highly toxic. In fact, mistletoe is so toxic that often when you buy it the real berries are removed and fake berries have be substituted. Though the berries are the most toxic part, the leaves can also make your pet sick. Symptoms include: vomiting, diarrhea, seizure, hallucination, drop in blood pressure, breathing problems, abdominal pain, and death. If you get mistletoe, make sure to hang it out of reach of your cat or dog.


If you are in full decking the halls mode, you may want to consider using fake holly instead of real holly. Both the leaves and the berries on a holly plant can be toxic, though the berries are much more toxic than the leaves. Symptoms include: vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, and abdominal pain. If you have holly boughs, try to hang them out of reach of your pets.


These pretty plants make beautiful host gifts. As pretty as they are, they are extremely dangerous to cats. If you cat eats even a small amount it can cause sever issues such as gastrointestinal issues, arrhythmia (irregular heart beat), and seizures.


Every time I go to a big box store I see a grow your own Amaryllis kit. These pretty flowers add a lovely splash of color and growth during the winter. However, it also contains noxious substances that cause salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, abdominal pain, lethargy, and tremors. The bulb is even more dangerous than the flower.


If you decide to decorate with living plants, make sure to keep them well out of the way of your pets. If you think your cat or dog has ingested any of these toxic plants, call your Albuquerque vet immediately.


Christmas Trees and Your Pets

albuquerque christmas tree safety

albuquerque christmas tree safetyIt’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! We love this time of year. Santa just visited us at Vetco on Menaul. All the cats and dogs come in with holiday sweaters and antlers. We are pretty much exploding in cute and holiday good feelings. Most of us are starting to put up our tree. If you have had a cat or dog around during the holidays then you know how tempting the tree can be for your pet. If this is your first year with a new kitten or puppy then you might be surprised at how much attention they give your Christmas tree.

Here are some Christmas Tree Tips to keep your pets, your tree, and yourself safe:

  1. Put the tree in a corner. Nobody puts baby in the corner, but we do put the Christmas tree. This helps ensure that if you pet does jump on your tree, it is harder for it to get knocked over.
  2. Put tinfoil on the ground. Your pet wont like the sound of walking on tinfoil. This can work to keep them from coming near the tree.
  3. No tinsel. Tinsel is super pretty and makes your tree sparkle. But it also looks like the next best thing to string to chew on for your cat or dog. When they eat tinsel it can cause intestinal blockages that are typically fixed through surgery.
  4. Put ornaments up high: If you cant keep your dog or cat away from the tree, then hang your ornaments where they cannot get to them. If your pet eats an ornament it can be a choking hazard, cause intestinal blockages, and the shards of broken ornaments can injure their mouth or paw.
  5. No lights on the lower branches. It is easy for you pet to get tangled in the lights, but if they bite the lights or strand they can burn their mouths or get electrocuted. Start the lights a little higher up where they can’t reach.
  6. Sweep up the pine needles: If you get a live tree, make sure to keep the area around your tree free of pine needles. Cats and dogs will often eat the needles and the needles can puncture their intestines.
  7. Cover the tree water: Drinking tree water is probably in the top 5 for pets favorite things to do. Many people put additives into their tree water to help their tree live longer. These additives can be toxic to your pet. Also, the water will get pine needles and some tree sap in the water. Though if the water is fresh and without additive, likely nothing will come of it, there is a risk of them getting an upset stomach or killing your tree by drinking all the water. Get a tree stand that keeps the water out of reach of long doggy tongues.

If you can’t get your pet to stay away from your tree, consider putting up a small fence around it or putting it in a room they can’t get into. You want your tree and your pets to be healthy this holiday.