The Google search term “ER vet” peaks during Thanksgiving and the final 2 weeks of the year as common animal hazards abound.
The holiday season can be a dangerous time for companion animals. From winter-weather supplies like antifreeze and rock salt, to festive decorations like holiday lights and mistletoe, pet hazards are everywhere. It comes as no surprise that this time of year sees a surge in Google searches for emergency veterinary services.1
Analyzing Google Trends data, the research team at Veterinarians.org ranked states where the search term “ER vet” was most popular. They looked specifically at the period between December 15, 2020, and January 2, 2021. Topping the list is Colorado, whose residents performed 5 times more “ER vet” searches than California and Texas, according to the study. Additionally, states near the top of the rankings were consistent: 5 of the top 13 during that 1-year timeframe also placed within the top 10 over a 5-year period.1
The top 10 states ranked by search volume are as follows1:
With such a consistent increase in demand for emergency veterinary services during the holiday season, the importance of client education is self-evident. While many pet owners know not to allow their pets chocolate and alcohol, the fact that Christmas tree preservatives can cause gastrointestinal upset or that poinsettias irritate mucous membranes2 may be surprising new information. Ornaments and electrical wires from holiday lights both pose obvious physical risks, while cat owners should be aware that swallowing tinsel may require emergency surgery.3
All these topics (and countless more) make for good conversations, emails, and handouts during the holidays. Of course, there are various reasons that emergency vet searches spike during this time of year, but every little bit of client education helps. One simple conversation could be the difference between a happy new year and a trip to the emergency room.