- 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.
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.
Summertime is a great time to enjoy the outdoors with pets - and as long as pet owners take precautions to prevent overheating. Issues that arise from overheating in summertime include dehydration, heat stroke and sunburn.
Dehydration -- Symptoms of dehydration include the gums of the mouth feeling tacky to the touch and/or the skin may become slow to return to its natural position when pulled up. Dehydration can lead to lethargy as it progresses, and the pet's eyes may appear to be sunken. In mild to moderate cases, giving your pet small amounts of water to drink over time will help, but in severe cases they'll need IV fluids administered at the veterinary hospital. To prevent this, it's important to have clean, fresh water available for your pet at all times, in a container that can't be tipped over accidentally.
Heat stroke -- Heat stroke is very serious. Symptoms include extreme panting, salivating, staggering, vomiting and diarrhea. As it becomes fatal, your pet will become comatose and their temperature will range from 104 - 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
If your pet is experiencing heat stroke, call your veterinarian immediately - time is of the essence. Use cool water to bring the temperature down; soak towels to use while driving to the veterinary hospital. However, do not let their temperature drop below 102 - 103 degrees Fahrenheit, as this can cause hypothermia. Your pet will be treated with IV fluid therapy. To prevent this situation, access to shade, ventilation and water are key, as well as avoiding exercise during the peak heat of the day (this is particularly important for short-nosed dogs such as pugs, which cannot cool off by panting as efficiently).
Sunburn -- Sunburn will look similar on a pet as it would on a human, and typically occurs in non-pigmented areas that have less or no hair - often the ears and nose in many breeds, or the underside of the belly. Since dogs and cats might lick off their sunblock, access to shade is critical. Try to keep them out of the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.. Aloe can soothe pets' burned skin, but they'll need to see the veterinarian if it is severe.
In general, it's important to avoid walks or hikes during the peak heat, and to keep up on normal wellness visits as recommended by your veterinarian. A summer check-up can help detect early problems such as kidney disease, which might get worse by the stress of heat during the summer.
On walks, be careful to avoid hot asphalt, which can burn pets' feet if they aren't toughened from exercise, or if it is extremely hot -- you can test it with your own hands or feet to be sure. Also, if your pet is thirsty, they'll be more prone to drink from puddles. This should be avoided in case chemicals such as antifreeze are in the puddles.
Hot cars and more -- It is important to avoid leaving pets inside their cars, as the heat can easily be 20-40 degrees warmer in a very short period of time.
It can also be a good idea to cut your pets' fur shorter in summer months.
And be careful around swimming pools.
By taking precautions to keep your pet safe from summer heat, you'll have little to worry about. Then you can focus on enjoying the weather together!
Review these tips to keep pets safe and healthy during the spring and summer seasons.
Skin and Body
Sweltering heat, booming thunder and fireworks that sound like gunshots...summer can be a scary and uncomfortable time for pets. Here's how you can help them deal.
For our furry friends, a thunderstorm or an intense round of fireworks in the neighborhood can be a highly traumatic event. Dogs with storm phobias can exhibit a variety of behaviors, including:
Fear of thunderstorms is made worse for some pets because their people mishandle the early signs of fear either by soothing the pets or punishing them. Soothing a dog (poor baby!/don't be afraid. Come here and get a hug!) is an action that actually rewards the behavior, while punishing a dog for its reaction makes a scary event even more frightening.
When puppies and young dogs show concern, don't soothe or punish them. Distract them. Give them something positive to do, such as starting a training session with lots of treats or playing a favorite game. In other words, ignore the storm, distract the dog and set the tone by acting unconcerned. It's of the most importance to be gentle, calm and patient with your dog. Dogs who have a negative reaction to storms or fireworks aren't being disobedient -- they are truly in a state of panic and are looking for help to deal with this traumatic event.
Keeping calm before the (next) storm
Once a dog has developed a full-blown phobia, however, fear of storms can be dangerous to all. Dogs have jumped through windows, bitten when handled or eaten through walls. If your dog is afraid of loud noises, talk to your veterinarian. He or she may have specific recommendations or refer you to a veterinary behaviorist. A veterinary behaviorist will work with you on a treatment plan that may include counterconditioning, pheromones or products like anti-anxiety wraps and capes in an effort to help your dog relax during storms. If all else fails, your veterinarian can prescribe a sedative to use just on days when there are storms or fireworks.
Review these tips to keep pets safe & healthy during the fall and winter seasons.
* Keep cats indoors and shorten exercise walks for dogs when the temperature falls. Safe outdoor temperatures for pets vary by breed and size.
* If your pet must be outside at all, provide adequate shelter. A dog house should be no more than three times the dog's size. The door should face away from the wind -- usually south. And avoid blankets and straw -- they can harbor fleas. Use cedar shavings for bedding instead. Provide similar shelter or access to a building for outdoor cats.
* Never allow your dog to walk on a lake or pond that looks frozen. The appearance of ice can be deceiving and pets can fall through and drown.
* Continue using monthly flea, tick and heartworm preventives. Pets should take these preventives year-round. Remember, it's often easier and cheaper to prevent parasites than treat them when a pet's infested or infected. Take your pet for fecal exams for internal parasites at least yearly, and keep your yard clean of feces.
Motor vehicles and antifreeze
* When the weather cools, cats like to sleep near a warm car engine, curling up on or under the hood. So be sure you know where your cat is and honk the horn before starting your car.
* Antifreeze can be lethal. It tastes sweet to pets and contains ethylene glycol, a toxic agent. So always clean up any antifreeze if it spills. Contact us immediately if you suspect your pet has consumed antifreeze.
Diet, food and water
* Like people, outdoor pets can burn more calories in the winter. However, most indoor pets don't need their diet adjusted for different seasons. We can help determine whether your pet's diet is adequate and balanced.
* To prevent dehydration, be sure your pet's water supply doesn't freeze. And use a non-metal water dish to keep your pet's tongue from sticking.
* Candy, especially chocolate, can make pets sick. A stomachache is the milder side effect, but chocolate poisoning -- caused by theobromine, a compound found naturally in chocolate and related to caffeine -- can be fatal.
* Rock salt, used to melt snow and ice, can irritate paw pads. Clean pads thoroughly after a trip outside.
* Uneven, icy surfaces can slash dogs' paw pads, so keep your dog on a leash or dress him in canine booties.
* Without hard surfaces to act as a natural file, dogs' toenails grow longer in winter, so regularly clip your pet's nails.
* If you have a tree-climbing cat or large dog, consider securing your holiday tree by anchoring the top of the tree to a wall using strong cord or rope. Make sure any presents accessible to pets are securely wrapped, and don't use ribbon or raffia.
* Frequently check the ground around holiday trees. Ingested pine needles can puncture pets' intestines.
* Keep all tree ornaments, yarn, ribbon and garlands well out of pets' reach by hanging them high on the tree. Don't use tinsel.
* Keep lit candles out of pets' reach.
* Holly, mistletoe and poinsettia plants are poisonous when consumed. Enjoy their beauty while keeping pets safe by placing them well out of pets' reach.
* Puppies and kittens like to chew, so keep electrical cords out of reach.
* When entertaining, be sure guests know these and other household rules that help keep your pet safe.