If ingested, the ethylene glycol in antifreeze poses an extreme danger to dogs and cats; unfortunately, antifreeze has a sweet flavor and smell that is attractive to pets, increasing the risk of exposure to this toxin. According to the Pet Poison Helpline, “As little as a tablespoon can result in severe acute kidney failure in dogs, while as little as 1 teaspoon can be fatal to cats.” It is estimated that up to 90,000 animals each year are poisoned from ingestion of antifreeze from spills in driveways or from open containers. Now there is some great news which may help drastically reduce the risk of antifreeze poisoning. Read More
Holiday Plants Toxic to Dogs and Cats – Holiday Pet Tips and Advice
Please be sure to use caution this holiday season when you decorate your home with boughs of holly, especially if furry, four-legged friends frequent your decked halls. Holly, a festive holiday staple, is one of a few toxic plants that belong on the naughty list when it comes to your pet’s well being.
Including holly, here are a few revered holiday plants that are known to be harmful to dogs and cats: Read More »
Keep Your Cat and Your Christmas Tree Safe This Holiday Season – Tips and Tricks
A Christmas tree is an inviting tease for any inquiring cat. Sparkly baubles are just begging to be batted, tinsel is too-good-not-to chew, and with foliage that is dense enough to become a suitable fort, there are many hazards present when fur meets fir. Here are some tips to keep kitty from causing damage unto itself and your tree: Read More »
My two dogs, Duke and Daisy, are in constant competition with each other as to who can eat the fastest. They are both well fed and well socialized but, for some reason, they feel that if they don’t eat extremely fast they will be missing out. I’m sure that Duke and Daisy are not the only dogs that swallow their food pretty much without tasting it. This bad habit can be seen among siblings and it’s one of the reasons that pets, especially dogs, are prone to poisoning themselves. Also, before I started storing my kitchen garbage out of reach (in the garage) I came home many times to catch Duke snacking on tasty garbage that could have caused him harm. Read More »
Microchips are identifying integrated circuits placed under the skin of a pet, usually in the shoulder blade area. The chip uses Radio Frequency Identification technology. Animal shelters, animal control officers, and veterinarians routinely look for microchips to return lost pets quickly to their owners.
Microchips can be implanted by a veterinarian or a shelter, and then registered with a registry, which often provides 24-hour services if a pet is lost. Recently there has been concern about whether microchips are safe or not. Occasionally microchips may migrate from the shoulder area to an area down the front leg. While this is not dangerous to the pet, when scanning such pets one must often scan the area down the legs in order to not miss the implanted chip.
Another concern is the very rare possibility of a tumor to form at the sight of the microchip location. This supposedly can happen in one in several thousand animals. Given the wonderful benefit of microchips, however, this very rare risk does not preclude our recommendation of microchipping all pets
As hurricane season happily skips along, I feel the need to remind myself (and all of you pet owners) to make sure your pets are part of your emergency plans.
During the warmer months, encounters with snakes can be quite common in dogs and cats. A snake bite is always considered an emergency, even if it is from a non-venomous snake. Symptoms of potential snake bites in pets include single or multiple painful puncture wounds, localized or generalized swelling, bruising and/or bleeding at the site of the snake bites, as well as sometimes pus and/or changes in the surrounding tissue. Shortness of breath and weakness may also occur. In severe cases, organ failure including renal failure may occur.
If you suspect your pet may have had a snake bite, applying cold compresses to the area may be helpful; however, any further treatments, such as bleeding the wound or sucking out venom or using tourniquets around the limb should be avoided until veterinary assessment and evaluation is done. The pet’s activity should be limited. If the bite occurred around the neck, the collar should be immediately removed as well.
There are several prevention tips that can help prevent snake bites during the warmer seasons. Keeping pets on a leash, especially when walking off of main roads and paths is certainly recommended. Yards should be kept clean of excessive bush growth, as well as kept free of toys and tools that snakes like to hide in. Make sure that there is no spilled food, bird seed or fruit in the areas around the home, which can attract both rodents and snakes.
Any pet can have an unexpected injury or accident. Because it may be more difficult to think clearly in an emergency situation, it is important to be prepared and know what to do in the event of an injury or accident. Take time now to prepare, and consider the following steps:
Emergency contact information: Have your veterinarian’s number posted in an easy to find spot. Because an emergency can happen any time of the day or night, you should also have the phone number and location of the nearest emergency veterinarian available, too. In case you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, you can reach the Pet Poison Helpline is available around the clock at 1-800-213-6680.
First Aid Kit: Buy or put together a first aid kit for your pet. Michael Dym, VMD, recommends a basic first aid kit include the following items:
- For injuries, bandage material including gauze pads, ace bandages, one inch tape, cotton, and a first aid ointment such as Neosporin
- Hydrogen Peroxide and/or Ipecac to induce vomiting in case of accidental ingestion of a toxin or poison. Charcoal tablets and slippery elm can soothe the digestive tract. (Do not induce vomiting without consulting with a vet or poison control; in some cases, vomiting can cause more harm to your pet.)
- Oral Benadryl for use in case of allergic reactions.
- For use in dogs only, buffered aspirin is an anti-inflammatory and reduces pain and fever.
Learn basic first aid: Keep a basic first aid guide specifically for pets along with your first aid kit. Sign up for a pet CPR or first aid course in your area.
Pet-proof your home: As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. Learn which household items are toxic to pets and place them out of reach of curious pets. Common toxins in the home include rodent poisons, cleaning solutions, certain household plants, anti-freeze, and chocolates. If your pet likes to chew, be sure that electrical cords are covered or safely stowed out of reach of your pet.
Knowing you are prepared can help you remain calm should your pet face an emergency situation. Your quick, calm action may help save your pet’s life.
Pet poisoning with common household items is, unfortunately, a fairly common situation. Among the many household items that may present a toxic risk to pets include xylitol poisoning (xylitol is found in many sugarless gums, candies and mints), human medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and antidepressants, flowers, chocolate, fertilizers, and various pest control products. Symptoms can range from digestive upset and neurological signs, to liver and/or kidney failure.
Appropriate pet proofing and awareness of what to do in the event of a pet poisoning situation are both important points to consider. Having the telephone numbers of local poison control centers as well as veterinary emergency hospitals is also important for ready access to sources of information about potential poisonous substances. Specific treatment will depend upon what a pet has been exposed to. Sometimes induction of vomiting is indicated, while in other cases IV fluid therapy and oral charcoal therapy may be indicated. The Pet Poison Helpline is useful for clients in those cases where poisoning is suspected. The Pet Poison Helpline at 800 213-6680 is available 24 hours a day. If you suspect your dog or cat has ingested something poisonous, call the helpline or your local veterinarian immediately.
Around holidays such as Valentine’s Day, it is important for animal guardians to be careful about possible chocolate ingestion by their pets. Chocolate toxicity is a common emergency around the holidays and can be a serious, health-threatening condition. The ingredients in chocolate contain what are known as methylxanthines, which are caffeine-like compounds that can cause serious health threatening consequences. The specific ingredient theobromine is the one we are most concerned about, and which pets have a hard time metabolizing even in small amounts.
Symptoms of chocolate toxicity may include initial nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, followed by cardiac symptoms including arrhythmias and even seizures. Bleeding and death may even occur. Treatment includes induction of vomiting, as well as supportive IV fluid therapy. If seizures occur, Valium and Phenobarbital may need to be given. Antiarrthythmic drugs are also indicated for any heart arrhythmias. Since theobromine is eliminated very slowly in pets, treatment may need to be continued for up to a few days after ingestion. Prognosis is usually good, as long as treatment is performed within a short period of ingestion.