Common Household Dangers for Pets

BAD DOG! A dapple daschund is caught after knocking over trash.

Many common household items can pose a threat to our animal companions—even some items specifically meant for pets could cause health problems.

To protect your pet, simply use common sense and take the same precautions you would with a child.

Although rodent poisons and insecticides are the most common sources of companion animal poisoning, the following list of less common, but potentially toxic, agents should be avoided if at all possible.

Dangers just outside your door

  • Antifreeze that contains ethylene glycol has a sweet taste that attracts animals but is deadly if consumed in even small quantities; one teaspoon can kill a seven-pound cat. The HSUS recommends pet owners use a safe antifreeze in their vehicles. Look for antifreeze that contains propylene glycol, which is safe for animals if ingested in small amounts. Ethylene glycol can also be found in common household products like snow globes, so be sure to keep these things out the reach of animals. Read more about antifreeze hazards »
  • Cocoa mulch contains ingredients that can be deadly to pets if ingested. The mulch, sold in garden supply stores, has a chocolate scent that is appetizing to some animals.
  • Chemicals used on lawns and gardens, such as fertilizer and plant food, can be easily accessible and fatal to a pet allowed in the yard unsupervised.
  • De-icing salts used to melt snow and ice are paw irritants that can be poisonous if licked off. Paws should be washed and dried as soon as the animal comes in from the snow. Other options include doggie boots with Velcro straps to protect Fido’s feet, and making cats indoor pets.
  • Cans and garbage can pose a danger when cats or smaller dogs attempt to lick food from a disposed can, sometimes getting their head caught inside the can. To be sure this doesn’t happen, squeeze the open end of the can closed before disposing.
  • Traps and poisons Pest control companies frequently use glue traps, live traps and poisons to kill rodents. Even if you would never use such methods to eliminate rodents, your neighbor might. Dogs and cats can be poisoned if they eat a rodent who has been killed by poison (called secondary poisoning).

Threats inside the house

  • Cedar and other soft wood shavings, including pine, emit fumes that may be dangerous to small mammals like hamsters and gerbils.
  • Insect control products, such as the insecticides used in many over-the-counter flea and tick remedies, may be toxic to companion animals. Prescription flea and tick control products are much safer and more effective. Pet owners should never use any product without first consulting a veterinarian. Read more about potential poisoning from flea and tick products »
  • Human medications, such as pain killers (including aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen), cold medicines, anti-cancer drugs, anti-depressants, vitamins and diet pills can all be toxic to animals. Keep medicine containers and tubes of ointments and creams away from pets who could chew through them, and be vigilant about finding and disposing of any dropped pills.
  • Poisonous household plants, including azalea, dieffenbachia (dumb cane), lilies, mistletoe and philodendron. See our full list of poisonous plants »
  • String, yarn, rubber bands and even dental floss are easy to swallow and can cause intestinal blockages or strangulation.
  • Toys with movable parts—like squeaky toys or stuffed animals with plastic eyes—can pose a choking hazard to animals. Take the same precautions with pets as you would with a small child.
  • Rawhide dog chews may be contaminated with Salmonella, which can infect pets and humans who come in contact with the chews. This kind of treat should be offered to a pet only with supervision, as they can pose a choking hazard as well.
  • Holiday decorations and lights pose a risk to cats and dogs. Keep these items out of the reach of animals, and, if possible, confine your pet to an undecorated area while you are out of the home. Read more about holiday choking hazards in this FDA PDF »
  • Chocolate is poisonous to dogs, cats and ferrets. Read more about why chocolate is dangerous to dogs in this FDA PDF »
  • Fumes from nonstick cooking surfaces and self-cleaning ovens can be deadly to birds. Always be cautious when using any pump or aerosol spray around birds.
  • Leftovers, such as chicken bones, might shatter and choke a cat or dog. Human foods to keep away from pets include onions and onion powder; alcoholic beverages; yeast dough; coffee grounds and beans; salt; macadamia nuts; tomato, potato and rhubarb leaves and stems; avocados (toxic to birds, mice, rabbits, horses, cattle and dairy goats); grapes; and anything with mold growing on it. See our full list of people foods that might harm pets »

Tools for keeping your pet safe

The HSUS recommends that pet owners use all household products with caution. We also recommend that you put together a pet first aid kit (for dogs and cats) and have a manual readily available.

If all of your precautions fail, and you believe that your pet has been poisoned, contact your veterinarian or emergency veterinary service immediately. Signs of poisoning include listlessness, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle tremors, lack of coordination and fever.

You can also call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 888-426-4435 for a fee of $65 per case. If you call the hotline, be prepared to provide the name of the poison your animal was exposed to; the amount and how long ago; the species, breed, age, sex and weight of your pet; and the symptoms your pet is displaying. You’ll also be asked to provide your name, address, phone number and credit card information.

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Top 10 Cat Emergencies

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Cats often become reclusive and hide when they are not feeling well, which makes knowing when they need to be seen by your veterinarian a challenge. They have unique signs of emergency conditions that often go unrecognized by owners. Some injuries are obvious, such as a cat with an open wound, while others have more subtle signs that can be equally dangerous if left untreated. Knowing signs of illness is crucial in determining when to seek emergency care for your cat. Below is a list of some of the most common cat emergencies and their signs.

 

Urethral Obstruction

This is a condition in which a cat, usually male, is unable to urinate due to a blockage in the urethra (the tube leading from the urinary bladder to the outside environment).

 

Cats will show a sudden onset of restless behavior, which includes frequent trips in and out of the litter box. They will often attempt to urinate in unusual places such as in a bath tub or on a plastic bag. You may notice a very small stream of urine that contains blood. More often than not, despite a cat’s straining, there may be no urine or even just a drop produced. In later stages of the obstruction, cats may cry loudly, vomit, and become lethargic.

 

You should consider these signs a serious emergency and seek veterinary care immediately. There are reports of cats developing kidney failure and dying within 12 hours after the onset of signs. Expect your cat to be hospitalized at least 36 hours for treatment of this condition. Veterinary treatments may include a urinary catheter, intravenous fluids, and pain management. Female cats are less likely to become obstructed due to their wider urinary tract.

 

Toxicities (Poisoning)

The combination of their curious nature and unique metabolism (the way their body breaks down chemicals) makes cats vulnerable to toxins. Owners are often unaware that their home contains multiple products that are poisonous to felines. The most common cat toxins include antifreeze, Tylenol, and rat or mouse poison.

 

The signs your cat displays depends on the type of poison he or she has encountered. Antifreeze will often cause wobbliness or a drunken appearance first, then progresses to vomiting/weakness as the kidneys fail. Tylenol may cause an unusual swelling of the head and changes the cat’s blood color from red to chocolate brown. Rat or mouse poison interferes with blood clotting so you may see weakness from internal blood loss or visible blood in the urine or stool.

 

Breathing Problems

Often, cats hide the signs of breathing problems by simply decreasing their activity. By the time an owner notices changes in the cat’s breathing, it may be late in the progression of the cat’s lung disease. There are several causes of breathing changes, but the most common are feline asthma, heart disease, or lung disease.

 

Foreign Object Ingestion

Many cats love to play with strings or string-like objects (such as dental floss, holiday tinsel, or ribbon), but those strings can be dangerous for your cat. When a string is ingested by a cat, one end may become lodged or “fixed” in place, often under the cat’s tongue, while the rest of the string passes further into the intestine. With each intestinal contraction, the string see-saws back and forth actually cutting into the intestine and damaging the blood supply.

 

Signs that your cat has eaten a foreign object may include vomiting, lack of appetite, diarrhea, and weakness. Occasionally owners will actually see part of a string coming from the mouth or anal area. You should never pull on any part of the string that is visible; instead, call your veterinary health care team immediately.

 

Surgery is usually necessary to remove the foreign object and any damaged sections of intestine.

 

Bite Wounds

Cats are notorious for both inflicting and suffering bite wounds during encounters with other cats. Because the tips of their canine, or “fang,” teeth are so small and pointed, bites are often not noticed until infection sets in, which is usually several days after the initial injury.

 

Cats may develop a fever and become lethargic 48 to 72 hours after experiencing a penetrating bite wound. They may be tender or painful at the site. If the wound becomes infected or abscessed, swelling and foul-smelling drainage may develop.

 

You should seek emergency care for bite wounds so your veterinarian can thoroughly clean the area and prescribe appropriate antibiotics. Occasionally, the wounds can develop large pockets called abscesses under the skin that require surgical placement of a drain to aid in healing.

 

Hit By Car

Cats that spend time outdoors are at a much greater risk for ending up in the emergency room. Being hit by a car is one of the most common causes of traumatic injuries, such as broken bones, lung injuries, and head trauma. You should always seek emergency care if your cat has been hit by a vehicle, even if he or she appears normal, because many injuries can develop or worsen over the following few hours.

 

Increased Thirst and Urination

Sudden changes in your cat’s thirst and urine volume are important clues to underlying disease. The two most common causes of these changes are kidney disease and diabetes mellitus.

 

Your veterinarian will need to check blood and urine samples to determine the cause of your cat’s change in thirst and urine. Having your pet seen on an emergency basis for these signs is important because prompt treatment increases chances for recovery. Exposure to certain toxins, such as antifreeze or lilies, will show similar signs, and delaying veterinary care can be fatal.

 

Sudden Inability to Use the Hind Legs

Cats with some forms of heart disease are at risk for developing blood clots. These clots can sometimes lodge in a large blood vessel—the aorta—where they can prevent normal blood flow to the hind legs. If your cat experiences such a blood clotting episode (often called a saddle thrombus or thromboembolic episode), you will likely see a sudden loss of the use of his or her hind legs, painful crying, and breathing changes.

 

On arrival at the emergency room, your cat will receive pain management and oxygen support. Tests will be done to evaluate the cat’s heart and determine if there is any heart failure (fluid accumulation in the lungs). Sadly, such an episode is often the first clue for an owner that his or her cat has severe heart disease. In most cases, with time and support, the blood clot can resolve, but the cat’s heart disease will require lifelong treatment.

 

Upper Respiratory Infections

Cats and kittens can experience a variety of upper respiratory diseases caused by a combination of bacteria or viruses. An upper respiratory infections, or URI, can cause sneezing, runny nose, runny eyes, lack of appetite, and fever. In severe cases, it can cause ulcers in the mouth, on the tongue, and on the eyes. More often than not, severe cases are seen in cats that have recently been in multiple-cat environments, such as shelters. Small kittens, or kittens struggling to thrive, are also easily infected and may develop more severe complications, such as low blood sugar.

 

Sudden Blindness

A sudden loss of vision is most likely to occur in an older cat. The most common cause is increased blood pressure (hypertension), which may be due to changes in thyroid function (hyperthyroidism) or kidney disease. There are some cats that appear to have hypertension with no other underlying disease.

 

Sudden blindness should be treated as an emergency and your veterinarian will measure your cat’s blood pressure, check blood tests, and start medications to lower the pressure and restore vision.

 

If you notice a change in your cat’s eyes, whether he or she loses vision or not, you should consider this an emergency have your pet seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

 

 

Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary-related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at cathealth.com is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site.

 

 

SOURCE: http://www.cathealth.com/safety/top-ten-emergencies-in-cats

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Easter Pet Poisons

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The veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline receive hundreds of calls this time of year from pet owners and veterinarians concerning cats that have ingested Easter lilies.

“Unbeknownst to many pet owners, Easter lilies are highly toxic to cats,” said Ahna Brutlag, DVM, MS assistant director at Pet Poison Helpline. “All parts of the Easter lily plant are poisonous – the petals, the leaves, the stem and even the pollen. Cats that ingest as few as one or two leaves, or even a small amount of pollen while grooming their fur, can suffer severe kidney failure.”

In most situations, symptoms of poisoning will develop within six to 12 hours of exposure. Early signs include vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy and dehydration. Symptoms worsen as kidney failure develops. Some cats will experience disorientation, staggering and seizures.

“There is no effective antidote to counteract lily poisoning, so the sooner you can get your cat to the veterinarian, the better his chances of survival will be,” said Brutlag. “If you see your cat licking or eating any part of an Easter lily, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately. If left untreated, his chances of survival are low.”

Treatment includes inducing vomiting, administering drugs like activated charcoal (to bind the poison in the stomach and intestines), intravenous fluid therapy to flush out the kidneys, and monitoring of kidney function through blood testing. The prognosis and the cost – both financially and physically – to the pet owner and cat, are best when treated immediately.

There are several other types of lilies that are toxic to cats as well. They are of the Lilium and Hemerocallis species and commonly referred to as Tiger lilies, Day lilies and Asiatic lilies. Popular in many gardens and yards, they can also result in severe acute kidney failure. These lilies are commonly found in florist bouquets, so it is imperative to check for poisonous flowers before bringing bouquets into the household. Other types of lilies – such as the Peace, Peruvian and Calla lilies – are usually not a problem for cats and may cause only minor drooling.

Thankfully, lily poisoning does not occur in dogs or people. However, if a large amount is ingested, it can result in mild gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea.

Other Dangers to Pets at Easter Time

Pet Poison Helpline also receives calls concerning pets that have ingested Easter grass and chocolate.

Usually green or yellow in color, Easter grass is the fake grass that often accompanies Easter baskets. When your cat or dog ingests something “stringy” like Easter grass, it can become anchored around the base of the tongue or stomach, rendering it unable to pass through the intestines. It can result in a linear foreign body and cause severe damage to the intestinal tract, often requiring expensive abdominal surgery.

Lastly, during the week of Easter, calls to Pet Poison Helpline concerning dogs that have been poisoned by chocolate increase by nearly 200 percent. While the occasional chocolate chip in one cookie may not be an issue, certain types of chocolate are very toxic to dogs. In general, the darker and more bitter the chocolate, the greater the danger. Baker’s chocolate and dark chocolate pose the biggest problem. The chemical toxicity is due to methylxanthines (a relative of caffeine) and results in vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, an abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, and possibly death. Other sources include chewable chocolate flavored multi-vitamins, baked goods, or chocolate-covered espresso beans. If you suspect that your dog ate chocolate, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately.

Spring is in the air and Easter is a wonderful holiday. Remember that your pets will be curious about new items you bring into your household like Easter lilies, Easter grass and chocolate. Keep them a safe distance away from your pets’ reach and enjoy the holiday and the season.

 

SOURCE: http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-owners/seasons/easter/

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5 Common Household Pet Poisons

Pet Poisons

Everyone is ready to get outside after being held indoors during our dreadfully cold, long winter! Many people are out treating their lawns with chemical or fertilizer treatments. Others are preparing their flower beds, gardens, and compost piles. Some people are cleaning their garages out and changing oil in cars and lawnmowers while others are spring cleaning their homes. Since March has been designated as Poison Prevention Month, All Creatures Veterinary Clinic & Lodge wants to highlight some of the most common household pet poisons to keep your pets safe. Consider the five below, so your four-legged friends can enjoy this season with you!

Lawn Fertilizer

Many lawn fertilizers contain extra additives, such as pesticides or heavy metals, which can pose a toxic risk to a pet that ingests them. Depending on the amount ingested, fertilizer poisoning symptoms can range from a mild stomach ache to inflammation of the liver. Always read the labels thoroughly on your lawn fertilizer products, and keep your pets off your recently treated lawn for at least 24 hours, until the chemicals have tried. You can also consider using pet-friendly lawn care products.

Toxic Flowers

Many outdoor plants, such as lilies and azaleas, are poisonous to pets and can result in vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, tremors, and a number of other symptoms. Make sure your flowers and plant beds are fenced in so your pets can’t dig into the dirt to retrieve your flower bulbs, be exposed to fertilizers, or chew or ingest plant leaves and flowers.

Compost Piles

Pets can smell decomposing compost ingredients, such as coffee grounds, bones, and molding food remnants. Your pets are driven by the aromas and are not cognizant of the dangers of ingesting these items. Keep your compost pile behind closed doors or fenced off to protect your pets from compost toxicity, which can result in agitation, vomiting, hyperthermia, and even seizures.

Vehicle Chemicals

When changing oil and cleaning motorized vehicles, keep all chemicals in labeled containers, and dispose of all chemicals (oil, windshield washer fluid, antifreeze, etc.) in sealed containers as recommended by the manufacturer. Antifreeze is one of the most common of these vehicle chemicals because of its sweet taste, due to the presence of ethylene glycol. This substance is highly toxic if ingested and can result in kidney failure if treatment isn’t sought immediately after ingestion.

Household Chemicals

When deep cleaning your home, keep all toxic chemicals, such as window cleaning, bleach, carpet shampoos and treatments, furniture polish, and paint out of your pet’s reach. Pets love the new smells and will investigate by sniffing and licking. These chemicals are either toxic or can be extremely irritant to the nasal passage—or both—resulting in vomiting, excessive sneezing, or even chemical burns.

Please keep your pets safe from these household toxins, and give us a call at All Creatures Veterinary Clinic & Lodge if you have any questions.

 

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Winter Safety & Comfort for Dogs

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Many parts of the country experience extremely cold weather that presents challenges for dog owners. Familiarity with cold weather health hazards can keep your pet safe while allowing both of you to enjoy the outdoors.

Temperature Related Conditions

Puppies, senior dogs and dogs with certain disease conditions (such as thyroid conditions) are more susceptible to cold temperatures. Temperature related illnesses require immediate removal to a warm, dry environment and medical attention by your veterinarian.

  • Hypothermia can result from extended exposure to cold and is a life-threatening condition. Watch your dog for signs of shivering, shallow breathing, weak pulse or lethargy.
  • Frostbite is a temperature related tissue injury and most commonly occurs on ears, tails, scrotum or feet. Signs include discolored skin (red, pale, or grayish) swelling, or blisters. Check your pet often for signs of frostbite which may be hidden beneath fur.

Puppies, senior dogs and dogs with certain disease conditions (such as thyroid conditions) are more susceptible to cold temperatures.

Cold-weather Chemicals

  • Antifreeze – Ethylene Glycol, car antifreeze, is a deadly poison and has a sweet taste that appeals to dogs. As little as 1-2 teaspoons can be lethal to a small animal. Clean up all spills and consider switching to a Propylene Glycol product that is safer.
  • Ice Melters – Salt and ice-melters can act as a skin irritant. Make sure to wash your pet’s feet off after coming indoors. Dogs with long fur and /or short legs should have their stomach areas cleaned off as well.

Winter Grooming

  • If you normally have your pet’s fur clipped or shaved, keep the length longer in winter to keep your dog warm.
  • Nails may require more frequent trimming since your dog is spending more time indoor on soft surfaces.
  • If you bathe your dog at home make sure he is completely dry before going out. You may even want to switch to a waterless shampoo for the winter.
  • Examine the pads of your dog’s feet for signs of cracking or irritation. A pet-specific foot balm will help condition the pads.

Cold-Weather Outings

  • Dogs with short coats or low body fat (Chihuahuas, Greyhounds, miniature Pinschers etc.) will benefit from a water-resistant sweater or coat when outdoor temperatures drop.
  • Boots are a good way to protect feet and pads from salt and chafing.
  • Keep your pet on a leash in cold weather – more dogs are lost in the winter than in any other season. Unleashed dogs may also run onto partially frozen bodies of water.
  • Limit the duration of your outdoor trips to minimize chance of frostbite or hypothermia.
  • Don’t let your dog eat snow. The snow may cause stomach upset or there may be hidden objects in the snow.

Special Considerations for Outdoor Dogs

  • You should bring your dogs inside for the winter if at all possible.
  • If bringing your dogs inside for the season is not possible your dogs must have warm, windproof shelter – preferably heated.
  • Dry, clean bedding is essential to keeping warm and straw or bedding needs replenished all winter season long.
  • Water & food can easily freeze. Use heated bowls to prevent freezing and make sure that the electrical cords are out of reach of your pets.
  • Outdoor dogs will burn more calories (up to 30%) and need extra food. Make sure that you are feeding additional rations during cold temperature.

Winter Training Tips

Basic obedience training and cold weather safety practices will allow you and your pet to enjoy winter weather conditions safely.

  • Make sure that your dog or puppy is comfortable with having their feet wiped & handled. Keep towels near the door and making foot-wiping part of your daily routine. Reward your pet for allowing you to examine the condition of pads, check for ice in between toes, and trim fur (if required.)
  • Obedience training for loose leash walking will make slippery walks safer for both pet and owner.
  • Commands like “leave it” can save a dog’s life when confronted with a pool of antifreeze or an unknown object in the snow.
  • Recall (coming when called) can keep a dog from running onto a partially frozen body of water or away from another winter hazard.

SOURCE: https://apdt.com/pet-owners/safety/winter/

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Holiday Pet Safety Tips

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The holidays are stressful enough without having to worry about a potentially poisoned pet. Below is a list of holiday-related decorations, plants and food items that the veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline recommend keeping away from pets.

Holiday Ornaments:

When decorating for the season, consider your pets. Holiday decorations such as snow globes or bubble lights may contain poisonous chemicals. If your pet chews on them the liquid inside could be could be dangerous to their health. Methylene chloride, the chemical in bubble lights, can result in depression, aspiration pneumonia and irritation to the eyes, skin and gastrointestinal tract.

Tinsel:

If you own a cat, forgo the tinsel. What looks like a shiny toy to your cat can prove deadly if ingested. Tinsel does not pose a poisoning risk but can cause severe damage to a cat’s intestinal tract if swallowed. Ultimately, cats run the risk of severe injury to, or rupture of their intestines and treatment involves expensive abdominal surgery.

Plants:

Though they have a bad rap, poinsettia plants are only mildly toxic. Far more worrisome are holiday bouquets containing lilies, holly or mistletoe.“Lilies, including tiger, Asiatic, stargazer, Easter and day lilies, are the most dangerous plants for cats,” said Dr. Ahna Brutlag, assistant director of Pet Poison Helpline. “The ingestion of one to two leaves or flower petals is enough to cause sudden kidney failure in cats.” Other yuletide pants such as holly berries and mistletoe can also be toxic to pets and can cause gastrointestinal upset and even heart arrhythmias if ingested.

Alcohol:

Because alcohol is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, it affects pets quickly. Ingestion of alcohol can cause dangerous drops in blood sugar, blood pressure and body temperature. Intoxicated animals can experience seizures and respiratory failure. Additionally, foods such as desserts containing alcohol and unbaked dough that contains yeast should be kept away from pets as they may result in alcohol toxicity, vomiting, disorientation and stomach bloat.

Holiday Foods:

With the holiday season comes a delightful variety of baked goods, chocolate confections and other rich, fattening foods. However, it is not wise (and in some cases is quite dangerous) to share these treats with your pets. Keep your pet on his or her regular diet over the holidays and do not let family and friends sneak in treats. Foods that can present problems:

  • Foods containing grapes, raisins and currants (such as fruitcakes) can result in kidney failure in dogs.
  • Chocolate and cocoa contain theobromine, a chemical highly toxic to dogs and cats. Ingestion in small amounts can cause vomiting and diarrhea but large amounts can cause seizures and heart arrhythmias.
  • Many sugarless gums and candies contain xylitol, a sweetener which is toxic to dogs. It causes a life-threatening drop in blood sugar and liver failure.
  • Leftover, fatty meat scraps can produce severe inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) leading to abdominal pain, vomiting and bloody diarrhea.

Imported Snow Globes:

Recently, imported snow globes were found to contain antifreeze(ethylene glycol.) As little as one teaspoon of antifreeze when ingested by a cat or a tablespoon or two for a dog (depending on their size), can be fatal. Signs of early poisoning include acting drunk or uncoordinated, excessive thirst, and lethargy. While signs may seem to improve after eight to twelve hours, internal damage is actually worsening, and crystals develop in the kidneys resulting in acute kidney failure. Immediate treatment with an antidote is vital.

Liquid Potpourri:

Filling your house with the smell of nutmeg or pine for the holidays may seem inviting—but if you’re partial to heating your scented oils in a simmer pot, know that they can cause serious harm to your cat; even a few licks can result in severe chemical burns in the mouth, fever, difficulty breathing, and tremors. Dogs aren’t as sensitive, but it’s still better to be safe than sorry—so scent your home with a non-toxic candle kept safely out of kitty’s reach.

When it comes to the holidays, the best thing a pet owner can do is get educated on common household toxins and pet-proof your home accordingly. If you think your pet has been poisoned, contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680 with any questions or concerns.

SOURCE: http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-owners/seasons/winter-holiday-pet-poison-tips/

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Holiday Safety Tips

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The holiday season is upon us, and many pet parents plan to include their furry companions in the festivities. As you gear up for the holidays, it is important to try to keep your pet’s eating and exercise habits as close to their normal routine as possible. Also, please be sure to steer pets clear of the following unhealthy treats, toxic plants and dangerous decorations.

Be Careful with Seasonal Plants and Decorations

  • Oh, Christmas Tree: Securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet. This will also prevent the tree water—which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset—from spilling. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria, and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea should he imbibe.
  • Avoid Mistletoe & Holly: Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. And many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet.
  • Tinsel-less Town: Kitties love this sparkly, light-catching “toy” that’s easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. But a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery. It’s best to brighten your boughs with something other than tinsel.
  • That Holiday Glow: Don’t leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface. And if you leave the room, put the candle out!
  • Wired Up: Keep wires, batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws’ reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, while shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet’s mouth and digestive tract.

Avoid Holiday Food Dangers

  • Skip the Sweets: By now you know not to feed your pets chocolate and anything sweetened with xylitol, but do you know the lengths to which an enterprising pet will go to chomp on something yummy? Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food, and be sure to secure the lids on garbage cans.
  • Leave the Leftovers: Fatty, spicy and no-no human foods, as well as bones, should not be fed to your furry friends. Pets can join the festivities in other fun ways that won’t lead to costly medical bills.
  • Careful with Cocktails: If your celebration includes adult holiday beverages, be sure to place your unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot get to them. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.
  • Selecting Special Treats: Looking to stuff your pet’s stockings? Stick with chew toys that are basically indestructible, Kongs that can be stuffed with healthy foods or chew treats that are designed to be safely digestible. Long, stringy things are a feline’s dream, but the most risky toys for cats involve ribbon, yarn and loose little parts that can get stuck in the intestines, often necessitating surgery. Surprise kitty with a new ball that’s too big to swallow, a stuffed catnip toy or the interactive cat dancer.

Please visit our People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets page for more information.

Plan a Pet-Safe Holiday Gathering

  • House Rules: If your animal-loving guests would like to give your pets a little extra attention and exercise while you’re busy tending to the party, ask them to feel free to start a nice play or petting session.
  • Put the Meds Away: Make sure all of your medications are locked behind secure doors, and be sure to tell your guests to keep their meds zipped up and packed away, too.
  • A Room of Their Own: Give your pet his own quiet space to retreat to—complete with fresh water and a place to snuggle. Shy pups and cats might want to hide out under a piece of furniture, in their carrying case or in a separate room away from the hubbub.
  • New Year’s Noise: As you count down to the new year, please keep in mind that strings of thrown confetti can get lodged in a cat’s intestines, if ingested, perhaps necessitating surgery. Noisy poppers can terrify pets and cause possible damage to sensitive ears. And remember that many pets are also scared of fireworks, so be sure to secure them in a safe, escape-proof area as midnight approaches.

 

SOURCE: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/holiday-safety-tips

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7 Things You Can Do to Make Halloween Safer for Your Pet

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  1. Don’t feed your pets Halloween candy, especially if it contains chocolate or xylitol (a common sugar substitute found in sugar-free candies and gum);
  2. Make sure your pet is properly identified (microchip, collar and ID tag) in case s/he escapes through the open door while you’re distracted with trick-or-treaters;
  3. Keep lit candles and jack-o-lanterns out of reach of pets;
  4. If you plan to put a costume on your pet, make sure it fits properly and is comfortable, doesn’t have any pieces that can easily be chewed off, and doesn’t interfere with your pet’s sight, hearing, breathing, opening its mouth, or moving. Take time to get your pet accustomed to the costume before Halloween, and never leave your pet unsupervised while he/she is wearing a costume;
  5. Keep glow sticks and glow jewelry away from your pets. Although the liquid in these products isn’t likely toxic, it tastes really bad and makes pets salivate excessively and act strangely;
  6. If your pet is wary of strangers or has a tendency to bite, put him/her in another room during trick-or-treating hours or provide him/her with a safe hiding place;
  7. Keep your pet inside.

SOURCE: https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/halloween.aspx

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Zoonotic Diseases

In 64 million American household’s pets are a source of joy and perhaps even the key to longer, healthier lives. However, pet-owning households with young children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems need to be aware that their animals can play host to disease-causing microorganisms.

Humans are not likely to catch a disease through their pets, but in very rare cases it can happen. Fortunately, most of these diseases rarely occur in healthy individuals, are mild and can be easily treated. Others, like toxoplasmosis, can be far more serious. Diseases transmitted from animals to humans are called zoonotic diseases. Zoonotic diseases usually live out their complex life cycles in animals, but sometimes cross into human bodies. Usually contracting a pet-borne disease requires very close contact with animals or their excretions, so zoonotic diseases can be avoided with common sense, cleanliness and regular pet examinations and vaccinations.

Children often put their hands in their mouths, providing an easy route for bacteria to travel into their bodies. For example, children who eat dirt are more susceptible to contracting zoonotic diseases. Children also are more susceptible to pet-borne illness because they carry fewer antibodies than adults do. The same holds true for puppies and kittens, making them more likely to carry disease than older dogs and cats.

Although the chances of getting a zoonotic disease from your pet are slim, these are some common pet-borne illnesses that can make people sick:

Salmonellosis

This bacteria generally makes its way into human bodies through contaminated food. The bacteria can be passed through animal feces and may cause symptoms like fever, vomiting, diarrhea and exhaustion.

Roundworms

Roundworm eggs and microscopic adult worms can be excreted in the feces of dogs and cats infected by the worms. Children may be at a higher risk for contracting roundworms because they play near pets or touch infected feces and put their hands into their mouths. Because of the risk to children, all cats and dogs should be taken to their veterinarians for regular fecal examinations. Also remember to cover all sandboxes when not in use to prevent children from contacting contaminated feces. Symptoms can include fever, cough, loss of appetite, weakness and lung congestion.

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Cat Scratch Fever

This bacteria is usually transmitted from cats to humans through scratches. The bacteria is found on nails or claws and can cause high fever, loss of appetite, weakness and swollen lymph nodes. In otherwise healthy people, Cat Scratch Fever is usually mild and resolves itself. However, the bacteria caused by Cat Scratch Fever can be extremely dangerous or even fatal if left untreated in immune-compromised individuals. It’s important for these pet owners to tell their doctors they own a cat. Young children should be sure to wash scratches thoroughly with soap and water.

Strep Throat

Though your pet is probably not the culprit bringing strep into your household each year, the possibility does exist. Recently, researchers have found that it’s more likely that people are infecting their pets. In any case, keep your children from kissing, licking or exchanging food by mouth with their pets.

Ringworm

A fungal infection of the skin, hair or nails, ringworm starts as a rapidly spreading hairless, circular lesion. Humans can be infected through use of contaminated objects like hair brushes, towels or clothing or by contact with infected animals like cats, dogs, mice, rats and guinea pigs.

Scabies

Also called sarcoptic mange, scabies is a skin disease caused by itch mites which burrow under the skin. Scabies cause intense itching and scratching that can result in severe eczema. Humans can be infected through contact with infected animals.

The most effective way to prevent zoonotic diseases and ensure your good health is to ensure good health for your pets. This means taking your pet to the veterinarian for regular exams and vaccinations. Most pet owners find that by following their veterinarian’s nutritional and health recommendations, their pets will lead happy, healthy lives with little risk of zoonotic infections.

SOURCE: https://www.aaha.org/pet_owner/pet_health_library/general_health_care/diseases_transmitted_by_pets.aspx

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