- Chocolate - Depending on the amount ingested, chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, hyperactivity, increased thirst and urination, and an increased heart rate.
- Gum - Candies or gum containing the sweetener xylitol can cause a drop in blood sugar, resulting in depression, loss of coordination and seizures.
- Leftovers - Bones can splinter and cause blockages. Greasy, spicy, and fatty foods can cause an upset stomach.
- Alcohol - Alcohol can cause a pet to go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.
- Aluminum foil - Aluminum foil and cellophane wrappers can cause vomiting and intestinal blockage.
- Lilies - Toxic lilies can cause kidney failure in cats.
- Mistletoe - Mistletoe and holly berries can cause gastrointestinal upset (vomiting, nausea, diarrhea), cardiovascular problems and lethargy.
- Poinsettias - Considered very low in toxicity, poinsettias might cause mild vomiting or nausea.
- Christmas tree water - Christmas tree water may contain fertilizers that can upset a pet's stomach. Stagnant water can also be a breeding ground for bacteria.
- Decorations - Decorations like ribbon or tinsel can become lodged in intestines and cause an obstruction.
What brings you and your family joy over the holidays could be deadly for your pet. Below is a list of holiday items and the symptoms they cause if they're ingested. As you're celebrating with your family this holiday season, be mindful of the items below and keep your pet out of harm's way.
Chocolate, grapes and raisins may be delicious to you, but they can be toxic to pets.
The veterinarians and toxicology experts at Pet Poison Helpline have released their top 10 list of household items that generated the most poison consultations for dogs and cats in 2013. The items below are presented in order of frequency, with number one being the item that caused the most emergency calls to Pet Poison Helpline. If at any time you think your pet has ingested a toxin, call your veterinarian.
TOP 10 TOXINS FOR DOGS
TOP 10 TOXINS FOR CATS
Your idea of Halloween fun may be ducking trick-or-treaters at home with the lights off or parading your pet in costume up and down the neighborhood streets. Either way, here are some tips to keep your cat, dog or other animal safe during this holiday.
DO protect your pets from pranks. Don't leave animals unattended outdoors on Halloween, the day before, or the day after. Cruel pranksters can hurt your animals, especially black cats.
DON'T feed candy to animals. Treats that are delicious for children and adults can be harmful or fatal to pets. They can choke on the wrappers, and chocolate is poisonous to dogs and cats. Put Halloween candy in scent-proof baggies, and put a lid on your candy cauldron next to the door.
DO keep pets away from lit pumpkins. Spooky colored candles and jack o'lanterns can singe pets' noses and light fur on fire. Keep animals and lit objects apart.
DON'T put a reluctant pet in a Halloween costume. Some cats and dogs don't mind a few Halloween accessories, but don't force an anxious animal into a constricting outfit. Make sure any Halloween clothes let your pet breathe, hear, see and move freely.
DO license your pet early. You can do your best to keep your pet indoors this Halloween, but your cat or dog may speed past a gaggle of candy-seeking kids into the night. Be sure you've registered your pet with the city and attached up-to-date identification tags to your pet's collar.
DON'T mix pets and trick-or-treaters at the front door. Cats and dogs can frighten children, and vice versa. Put your pets behind a closed door when costumed kids come knocking. This will also prevent your pet from bolting outside during the many times the front door is opened and closed.
Last, if you won't be home with the pets this Halloween, be sure they're comfortable in the house. There may be a lot of doorbell ringing, screaming children, and noises that can spook pets. Consider keeping cats and dogs in rooms in the back of the house and turning on some background noise like a radio or TV.
Your pet has just ingested something toxic. What do you do?? First, take a deep breath. The more calm, cool, and collected you are, the sooner you can seek the correct medical attention. Then get a handle on the situation by taking the following steps:
Remember that a pet's prognosis is always better when a toxicity is reported immediately, so don't wait to see if your pet becomes symptomatic before calling for help. Calling right away is safer for your pet and could help you save on treatment costs in the long run. Remember that there's a narrow window of time to decontaminate in cases of poisoning.
The virtual eradication of polio in people is just one example of the vital power provided by vaccinations. And vaccinations are just as important in pets. Throughout their lives, your pets will likely be exposed to several infectious diseases that can cause severe illness or even death. But if you've taken steps to prevent infection through vaccination, you will greatly extend the life of your pets.
Which vaccines should my pet receive?
The veterinarian will recommend several core vaccines that all pets should receive in order to maintain their health and prevent serious disease. For dogs, these vaccines may include rabies, parvovirus, adenovirus, and distemper. For cats, core vaccinations may include rabies, panleukopenia virus, herpes virus, and calicivirus. If you are boarding a pet, the facility may require vaccination against Bordetella Bronchiseptica, a bacteria that causes a common and highly contagious disease known as kennel cough. The veterinarian may recommend other vaccines as well, depending on where you live, your pet's lifestyle and level of health, and the risk of your pet passing on disease to other pets or even you.
What should I be on the lookout for after my pet has been vaccinated?
Vaccines can cause side effects, but they are very mild in most cases. Your pet may experience a mild fever, have a decreased appetite, or be a bit sluggish for a day or two after the vaccination. In addition, you may note slight swelling or pain at the vaccination site. These are all normal reactions and do not require medical attention.
However, rarely, more severe reactions to vaccination can occur that may result in swelling in the face or limbs, generalized itching, difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, or collapse. If any of these more serious signs develop or you are concerned about any reaction in your pet, don't hesitate to contact the veterinary clinic immediately to schedule an appointment.
How often does my pet need to be vaccinated?
The frequency of vaccination will vary depending on where you live. For example, some states require a rabies vaccine once a year in all dogs and cats, while other states may allow less frequent rabies vaccination. The veterinarian can inform you about your state's regulations and the best timing of other vaccinations as well.
Just what is the veterinarian looking for when they stare and gently push, pull, and poke your pet during a visit? Here's a breakdown of the major body systems they're checking out and what they're looking for (and hoping not to find...)
Eyes: signs of disease; discharge or tearing; abnormal movement or reaction to light.
Ears: signs of ear infection (pain, tenderness, redness, swelling, "yeasty" smell, and discharge); mites.
Mouth: signs of periodontal disease in teeth and gums; bad breath.
Lymph nodes and thyroid glands: any irregularities or changes in size.
Heart: weak or abnormal heart sounds; an abnormally fast or slow rate; irregular beats.
Lungs: wheezing, crackling, or other abnormal lung sounds.
Abdomen: any irregularities in the margins of the liver, spleen, kidneys, and bladder; masses or tumors; thickened intestines.
Legs: limited range of motion in all limbs; signs of pain or discomfort; grinding sound in joints.
Coat, skin and nails: poor overall quality of coat, lumps and bumps; rashes; areas of hair loss or excessive dander; matted or saliva-stained fur; fleas or ticks; callouses; overgrown or ingrown toenails; dehydration.
Base of tail: any abscesses; abnormalities in anal glands; fecal mats; evidence of soft stools; growths; parasites, like tapeworm segments and flea dirt.
Make sure parasites have no place on your pets.
Disease-carrying ticks pose health risks to dogs and people, no matter where you live. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that ticks in every U.S. state carry diseases, and the number of tick-borne diseases is increasing. But do you know the myths and facts about ticks? Here, DogsAndTicks.com debunks some of the most commonly believed myths about ticks so you can protect your pets.
Myth #1: The best way to remove a tick is with a lit match, fingernail polish, or petroleum jelly.
FACT: None of those methods cause the tick to "back out", and all of them may actually result in the tick depositing more disease-carrying saliva into the wound, increasing the risk of infection.
The best way to remove a tick is to grasp it as close to the skin as possible with tweezers and pull the tick's body out with a steady motion. Wear rubber gloves, and clean the skin with soap and water after removal. Dispose of the tick by placing it in alcohol or flushing it down the toilet.
Myth #2: Lyme disease is the only illness that ticks can transmit to dogs and humans.
FACT: Lyme is the most widely known and common tick disease, but there are many others that ticks carry and can transmit to dogs and people. These include Rocky Mountain spotted fever, anaplasmosis (sometimes known as "dog fever"), erlichiosis, and some emerging diseases with potentially devastating effects.
Myth #3: If I find a tick on myself or someone in my family, Lyme and other tick diseases can be ruled out immediately with a blood test.
FACT: According to the CDC, laboratory results for tick-borne illness in people are often negative on the first sample and require a second test two to three weeks later to confirm infection. Children are more susceptible to infection due to their immature immune systems.
Signs of Lyme are flu-like symptoms such as fever and malaise with or without a bull's eye rash, but many people (and dogs) with tick-borne illness don't experience any symptoms, especially in the early stages of the disease.
Myth #4: Ticks aren't a problem in the winter when it's too cold for them to live outside.
FACT: In most areas of the country, high season for ticks runs from April to November. Experts recommend year-round preventives, however, as infection can occur at any time of the year. In the winter, for example, some tick species move indoors and are in closer contact with pets and people, while others make a type of antifreeze to survive during the winter months.
Myth #5: Ticks live in trees, so as long as I don't live near or visit a wooded area, I don't have to worry about them.
FACT: Ticks live on the ground no matter the locale, be it an urban park or a rural area. They typically crawl up from grass blades onto a host and migrate upward, which is why they're often found on the scalp.
Myth #6: Ticks are insects.
FACT: Ticks are actually a species of parasite called arachnids that belong to the same family as mites.
Since signs of tick-borne disease are difficult to recognize in both pets and people, simple preventive measures and understanding as much as possible about these creepy crawlers are the best ways to keep everyone safe.
Part of being conscientious cat owner is considering the importance of spaying or neutering your feline friend. Read on for more info and the truth behind some common myths.
Besides preventing unwanted litters, spaying or neutering your cat helps prevent many life-threatening diseases and can head off some irritating behaviors.
Although it's commonly referred to as a spay, this surgery is actually a complete ovariohysterectomy, or the removal of both ovaries and the uterus. Spayed cats are at much lower risk for ovarian cancer and cysts, mammary gland tumors, and uterine infections.
Unspayed females are also more likely to exhibit inappropriate urine marking during their heat cycles - not to mention their aggravating wailing and crying to be let outside. The urge to reproduce is amazingly powerful in cats. Those of us who have endured the company of a cat in heat know all too well the origin of the term caterwauling!
Neutering is the removal of both testicles. It sounds worse than it is - and no, he won't miss them! Neutered males are less susceptible to prostate disease and testicular cancer.
Castrated male cats are often more affectionate and people-oriented, and neutering your cat usually keeps him from spraying his objectionably strong-smelling urine in your home to mark his territory. Neutered males are also less likely to wander from home, so neuter your pet before his heart leads him into the path of an oncoming car.
Often people worry that their spayed or neutered pet will get fat. However, the aging process probably affects weight gain more than anything - as many of us are painfully aware from our human experience. It's true that lowered hormone levels may decrease your pet's activity. The key to this problem is simple - give your pet less food and more exercise.
It's also a myth that females need to complete a heat cycle before being spayed. There is no medical reason for this old wives' tale. In fact, the fewer heat cycles your pet goes through before getting spayed, the better her protection against mammary cancer. Because cats are very efficient breeders, all it would take is her getting out once while in heat - and you'd have kittens.
Worried your male cat will lose his personality after neutering? Relax! If he loses anything, it will be his sexual impulses and the associated marking behavior.
Part of being a conscientious dog owner is considering the importance of spaying or neutering your pup. Read on for more info on this surgery and the truth behind some common myths.
Spaying and neutering your dog
If you've ever visited an animal shelter, you've seen some of the thousands of pets each year who are homeless. And many of those pets run out of time for adoption and are euthanized. You can't save them all, but you can help prevent pet overpopulation by spaying or neutering your dog.
Need more reasons to "fix" your pet? Besides preventing unwanted litters, spaying or neutering helps prevent many life-threatening diseases and can head off some irritating behaviors.
Although it's commonly referred to as a spay, this surgery is actually a complete ovariohysterectomy, or the removal of both ovaries and the uterus. Spayed dogs are at much lower risk for ovarian cancers and cysts, mammary gland tumors, and uterine infections.
Neutering is the removal of both testicles. It sounds worse than it is -- and no, he won't miss them! Neutered males are less susceptible to prostate disease and testicular cancer. They're also less likely to act aggressive or to wander away from home, so neuter your pet before his heart leads him into the path of an oncoming car.
Often people worry that their spayed or neutered pet will get fat. However, the aging process probably affects weight gain more than anything - as many of us are painfully aware from our human experience. It's true that lowered hormone levels may decrease your pet's activity. The key to this problem is simple -- give your pet less food and more exercise.
It's also a myth that females need to complete a heat cycle before being spayed. There is no medical reason for this old wives' tale. In fact, the fewer heat cycles your pet goes through before getting spayed, the better her protection against mammary cancer.
Worried that your male dog may lose his personality or "spunk" after being neutered? Don't! If he loses anything, it'll be the potential for bad behavior.
Annual forecast from Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) based on weather patterns and other factors affecting disease activity.
The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) has released its annual parasite forecasts for 2018, predicting an increase in the prevalence of heartworm and Lyme disease. Heartworm is forecasted to spread aggressively across the United States and Lyme disease to spread west into states east of the Rocky Mountains.
The warm, wet weather over the last two years has contributed to the expansive nature of heartworm disease, a release from the organization says. Shifting weather patterns have created ideal breeding conditions for heartworm-transmitting mosquitoes across the country. Another contributing factor is the relocation of unknown heartworm-positive dogs across the country that survived the hurricanes in 2017.
CAPC also predicts that Lyme disease will spread into non-endemic areas, including the Dakotas, Iowa, Missouri, southern Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina. Borrelia burgdorferi, the Lyme disease agent transmitted by ticks, is spreading as the white-tailed deer population grows and migratory birds carry ticks to new areas, the release says.
"Our annual forecasts provide critical and important information to help veterinarians and pet owners understand parasites are a true risk to both pets and people," says Dr. Dwight Bowman, CAPC board member and professor of parasitology at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, in the release. "This year there are significant shifts in prevalence, making our maps a critical educational tool for veterinary hospitals and allowing veterinarians and pet owners to see that parasites are ever-changing and widespread - sometimes surprisingly so".
Aside from increased prevalence of heartworm and Lyme, the council also predicts the following areas of risk in 2018:
> Heartworm, besides being above average nationwide, will be even more active than normal in the lower Mississippi River region. The northern-tier states from Washington state to Vermont may see a rise in heartworm infections among veterinary patients.
> Lyme disease is a high threat this year, and veterinarians near Lyme's endemic boundary line (the Dakotas, Iowa, Missouri, southern Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina) should be on alert. Western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, West Virginia and the Appalachian region in Virginia should prepare for an active year, the release states. The area from Washington, D.C. to Philadelphia and eastward, along with the Boston/Cape Cod area, are expected to see relief this year.
> Much of the United States is forecast to see the transmission of anaplasmosis in 2018, but northwestern Minnesota will have an especially active year. The Wisconsin/Minnesota border area and the Boston/Cape Cod region are expected to see less activity than normal.
> Southern Virginia and northern North Carolina are predicted to be more active than normal in ehrlichiosis transmission. The rest of the United States is expected to see normal prevalence in 2018, the release says.
The parasite forecasts represent collective expert opinion of academic parasitologists who participate in ongoing research and data interpretation to better understand and monitor vector-borne disease agent transmission and the changing life cycles of parasites. These annual forecasts are based on many factors that include temperature, precipitation and population density, the release notes.