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National Pet ID Week: Microchip Tags & Pet Identification Collars

microchip tag

Lost Pets: Identifying Them with Microchip Tags and Pet Identification Collars

One-third of all dogs and cats in the United States are reported missing in their lifetimes. More than 80% are never found. Between 9,450,000 and 9,632,000 pets that wind up in shelters in the US are euthanized. – ASPCA

Pet owners will tell you that the best parts about coming home after a long day are the loving greetings waiting for us. Dogs get excited, usually demonstrated through happy barks, and their tails thump, thump, thumping. Cats will coolly saunter up and rub against our legs, which is simply their way of telling us to “pick up the can-opener already.”

Now imagine coming home to silence. Your pet has slipped free of their collar and escaped from your home or yard. How would you find them? Would they be able to find you? It’s a horrible, helpless feeling unless you’re well prepared. 

Despite our best efforts, some pets have a knack for escaping the house or yard and getting lost. That’s why it’s essential to have your pets microchipped! A microchip tag can mean the difference between a lost dog or cat ending up in a shelter (and potentially being euthanized) and finding their way home. It’s essential for pet owners to ensure information remains current. The problem is that people tend to forget about the microchip tag, which is only as current as the information contained in the National Pet Register. While there are many different microchip tag manufacturers and registry sites, the one we’ve linked to is the most comprehensive and is used by veterinary professionals across the country when scanning lost or injured pets. National Pet ID Week (April 17-23, 2021) is an excellent reminder for pet parents to review their pet’s identification methods, from collar tags to microchips, and make any necessary updates.

What should I put on my pet ID tag?” is a frequently asked question. Including the pet’s name, a current phone number, city and address, and a microchip tag number are ideal, plus any medical needs. Of course, space is at a premium, so customize to include the most vital information first. Since pet ID tags are cheap and easy to get, you can use the front and back of the tag if needed.

Best Pet Identification Methods

According to recent statistics, cats with microchips were 20 times more likely to be returned to their homes than lost cats without microchips. For dogs with microchips, the return rate is 2.5 times higher than those without. But those are just the beginning!

  1. Microchip Tag: The best method for animal identification is the permanent microchip tag. Microchipping is a quick and painless procedure for animals that can make the difference between a happy ending and heartbreak should they get lost or injured. Most veterinary practices and shelters routinely scan for microchip tags in stray or injured animals. If you haven’t talked to your veterinarian about microchipping, do it today.
  2. Pet Identification Collars: All pets (indoor or outdoor) should have a collar and tags with their name, along with your current address and phone number. Vaccination and license tags can also help identify lost or stolen animals.
  3. QR Code Tags: Most of us are familiar with QR codes, which allow us to scan the code with our smartphone to visit a website, get information or buy products. Pet tags are a great option for the technology! Adding a QR code tag to your pet’s collar is another layer of protection for your pet in case they get lost or injured. Anyone with a smartphone can scan the tag or visit your pet’s profile online to view your contact details and pet’s critical information, skipping a trip to a local vet to have the pet scanned for a microchip tag.
  4. GPS Collars: These are an excellent option for pets that spend time outdoors or that tend to roam (cats, we’re looking at you). With a GPS collar, you can locate your pet at any time of day or night. For a great list of the best GPS collar options, check out this article from PC Mag.
  5. Collar Tags: Pet owners can get personalized pet collar tags at local pet stores or order a wide variety of styles online. Make sure your pet’s tags are correct and have the most up-to-date information on them and that the information is easily readable and hasn’t been scratched or worn away. Did you move recently? Check to be sure all tags and information have been updated to include your new address and contact information.

Finally, if your pet doesn’t have a microchip tag, give your veterinarian a call or have it done at your pet’s next wellness appointment. All of AZPetVet’s locations can perform microchipping. Click here to find the location nearest you.

Toxic Plants for Pets: Plants to Avoid Having in Your Home

toxic plants for pets

Avoiding Toxic Plants for Pets

House plants have many benefits, but it’s important to think twice before bringing certain types into your home, especially if you own pets. Cats and dogs are tempted to get into all sorts of things. Digging into the dirt of houseplants or chewing on the leaves, stems, or roots, or even eating them can be a messy problem, but choose the wrong type of plant and what looks like a harmless decor item can be hazardous to their health or worse. 

The most common toxic plants for pets include lilies, azaleas, autumn crocus, tulips, hyacinths, Lily of the Valley, daffodils, Cyclamen, Kalanchoe, Oleander, Dieffenbachia, and Sago Palms. If you also have these varieties in your yard or garden, it’s best to pet-proof them or rethink the choices altogether if they cannot be secured away from your pets while they are outside. 

Let’s begin with a list of plants toxic to cats and some of the effects. That’s where a little gardening knowledge can be most helpful. In fact, you can find a list of plants that are specifically dangerous for cats listed here – categorized by mildly toxic, medium toxicity, and highly toxic. 

Other resources include ASPCA’s comprehensive list of plants toxic to cats. As well as The Cat Fanciers Association’s extensive list plus a wide variety of other helpful topics for those who fancy felines.

House plants dangerous to dogs include a huge list of problem plants to avoid to help keep your pooch perky, happy, and healthy. The ASPCA offers a pretty comprehensive list here. The popular dog-focused website TheBark.com also has a shorter list that includes common plants you might already have in your home that are most dangerous for pets.

Safe House Plants for Cats

Cats love plants, so why not give them their own? Cat grass is fully edible, and cats love it. Catnip is also a favorite for felines, from the aromatic leaves to the flowers, but don’t let them overindulge, or things might get a bit crazy.

Safe House Plants for Dogs

Having plants not toxic to dogs is very important inside your home, as well as outside. ‘Be Chewy’, the pet blog from online favorite Chewy.com has a wonderful article about plants for your garden that are safe for dogs. Treehugger also provides a general list of 15 types of houseplants that are safe for both cats and dogs, as well as being easy to maintain (very helpful for those of us born without the green thumb).

Need more options? Architectural Digest has a list of 21 houseplants that are safer for cats and dogs that will naturally clean the air and look pretty while they do it.

While we can’t prevent our pets from taking the occasional bite from a house plant or digging up the soil just for fun, at least you can rest assured that the only risk they’re taking is your disapproval. Finally, if you suspect your pet has been poisoned by noshing on a houseplant or other substance, don’t wait – call your veterinarian right away. If it’s after hours, turn to an emergency vet or call the ASPCA poison control hotline at (888) 426-4435.

Disclaimer

Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.

Mask Policy Update: 3/31/2021

MASK POLICY UPDATE: Recently, the Governor issued an Executive Order that lifted the state-wide mandate for masks. The order also encouraged businesses to follow CDC guidelines for their employees and patrons, which currently recommend wearing masks at this time to continue to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. While we respect everyone’s personal choices surrounding this matter, the nature of our jobs require that we work in close proximity of each other and our clients; therefore believe it is in the best interest of our business to follow CDC guidelines and continue wearing masks for the time being. We will revisit this policy once we have more time and information to evaluate the impact the executive order has on our community. In the meantime, we simply ask that while you are providing us the privilege of helping to ensure the health and wellbeing of your pet, that you also respect our masking policy.

We understand that this has been a trying time for all involved, and we are ready to get back to normal as soon as possible! We’re working hard to create processes that will allow us to do so, and are confident that within a short time we will return to normal if we all work together. We are very excited to see your smiling faces again soon! Thank you for your continued support.

Does Your House Smell Like Pets? Spring Cleaning Tips to Remove Pet Odor

Spring Cleaning Tips for When Your House Smells Like Pets

Have pets? It’s likely your house smells like pets. While we love our furry family members, none of us love the variety of funky pet smells and debris that can creep into every room of the house. Getting the animal smell out of the house can be challenging to figure out, and it’s not as simple as just opening the windows (although it helps). If you really want to get the animal smell out of the house, a good spring cleaning and regular maintenance will do the trick! Owned by cats? We’ve included ways to make cat litter smell better for everyone.

How to Get Pet Odors Out of Your House

  1. Clean up all hard floor surfaces: We can limit the ways we bring the outside into our homes, but pets can’t leave their shoes outside. Pets, kids, and even some adults have a real talent for tracking things in, especially dirt or mud. Some pets just love to roll in smelly stuff, the grass, dirt, or mud. Sweep or mop high traffic hard floors daily, and clean up potentially smelly messes or potty accident sites as they happen. Give the floors a once over with a non-toxic, pet-safe floor cleaner or a Swiffer dry mop daily.
    • Light Spring Clean Tip: Begin by sweeping gently so you don’t kick up dirt and dander into the air. Mop up any remaining loose debris like pet hair, dander, and outside dirt tracked inside after potty breaks or playtime outdoors.
    • Deep Spring Clean Tip: Start scrubbing. Scrub the bare floors, baseboards, and walls. Focus especially where pets have marked with a vinegar and water solution or an antibacterial, odor-neutralizing pet-friendly product. Some folks like to consider using a 1 part bleach to 9 parts water solution on cement floors or walls – just make sure to keep your pets at a safe distance from ALL harsh or and unsafe chemicals.
  2. Clean curtains, upholstery, fans & fabric shades. Things should be looking and smelling better by this step. But your mission to get the animal smell out of the house isn’t done yet. Animal odors, dust, dander, and other stains gradually work into curtains and upholstery, especially around the bottom edges where pets may leave markers. Don’t forget fabric window blinds, fabric lampshades, and fan blades.
    • Light Spring Clean Tip: Grab a pet-friendly odor neutralizer spray for fabrics and go to town! Use a pet-friendly spot cleaner with odor or enzymatic neutralizer on the upholstery to remove any stains.
    • Deep Spring Clean Tip: Wash or dry-clean any drapes or window coverings. For fabrics that cannot be laundered, try a steam cleaner or vacuum, and steam-clean any upholstered furniture to try to remove any smells. Wash pet bedding using a pet-friendly detergent and dry well. Be sure to check corners and seams for buried treats or hidden fabric tears before popping them into the washer. It happens. Repair or replace worn-out bedding for fresh new ones.
  3. Vacuum up pet hair, dirt, and dander: If you have pets who shed, managing the hair and loose fur is a daily struggle, especially if they’re allowed on the furniture. We’ve all seen the videos; pets will often ignore all the rules when you’re not home.
    • Deep Spring Clean Tip: Vacuum pet hair, dirt, and dander wherever it might be hiding. In the cushions of your couch (sometimes you’ll find hidden toys or treats). Vacuum under and behind furniture, plus any cracks and crevices in any spot your pet likes to hang out. Don’t forget the patio door tracks where dirt, hair, and dander can accumulate.
  4. Shampoo carpets and throw rugs. Many pet owners appreciate the convenience of a portable carpet cleaner for cleaning up pet accidents, but if you really want to get the animal smell out of the house, hire professionals who use cleaning methods and special solutions that are safe for pets.
  5. Clean toys, bowls, collars, leashes, and pet bedding: All of these items hold on to odor and bacteria, so you need to wash and launder them regularly to keep pet odor out of the house. Pet beds are gathering places for dirt, dander, and other nasties that smell. Food and water bowls along with some toys can run through the dishwasher.
  6. Get rid of cat odors. Ways to make cat litter smell better range from the habit of scooping daily to remove waste (and temptation for poo-eating dogs) to fancy automatic litter boxes with all the bells and whistles, so you get none of the smells. Unfortunately, the hi-tech versions of the litter box can be expensive but oh, so worth it if it’s in your budget. Speaking of budgets, start by making sure you have at least one box per cat in a well-ventilated area. Wash thoroughly once a month, or each time you change the litter. Add some baking soda to the bottom of the box before refilling. Replace the litter boxes each year.
  7. Schedule a grooming appointment for your pet. You’ll want a shower after all the spring pet cleaning! Why not bathe the dog, too? Book a grooming appointment or send them off for spa day while you’re spring cleaning. Your pet will come home squeaky clean and smelling great.

Schedule a grooming appointment today!

Pet Poison Prevention – Keeping Your Pet Safe

Pet Poison: How to Keep Your Pet Safe

Pet poison prevention is a necessary and critical part of pet care. National Animal Poison Prevention Week was established to raise awareness of one of the biggest killers of pets – poisoning. While it might seem a remote possibility, cases of pet poisoning are far more common than you think. Each year, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) issues a report on the Top Ten Pet Toxins. The most recent data from 2019 showed the APCC handled 232,000 pet poison cases, reflecting more than 18,000 additional cases than the previous year. A little knowledge and prevention can help keep everyone safer.

While the curious nature of pets is a given, there are a few specific items you should keep a close eye on. Here you will find some of the most common pet poison culprits along with some recommended actions pet owners can take to ensure pets don’t paw their way into serious trouble.

Top Pet Poison Hazards

  1. Medications: OTC & Prescription Medications – 46.2% of APCC calls

Most households have prescription medications for humans and pets as well as over-the-counter drugs on hand, so it’s no surprise that these top the charts as the most common pet toxins. Medications like ibuprofen, cold medicines, antidepressants, and ADHD medications were most commonly ingested by pets, followed by heart medications. Pets have also become casualties of the opioid crisis.

Over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen are particularly hazardous for dogs and cats. Acetaminophen can cause red blood cell (RBC) injury, difficulty breathing, lethargy, swelling and vomiting in cats, and liver failure, dry eye, and RBC injury in dogs. While ibuprofen may be prescribed for your pet to help manage pain and inflammation, it must be administered precisely to your veterinarian’s recommendation. Even small overdoses can have drastic consequences, including ulcers, anemia, lethargy, kidney failure, liver failure, and seizures. Chewable pet medications are also a temptation for pets. Keep all medications stored safely away from pets and children. 

  1. Foods: 12.1% of APCC calls

Certain foods that sit well with humans won’t sit as well with your pet. Chocolate is just one of the widely-known foods you shouldn’t feed your pet. This is why chocolate is dangerous to pets and other foods that you should keep away from your four-legged friends:

    • Chocolate – It might be one of the most popular foods in the world, but not for pets! Chocolate remains high on the list of pet poison cases, accounting for 10.7% of calls to APCC. Chocolate contains two deadly ingredients for dogs: caffeine and theobromine. These two substances, known as methylxanthines, can lead to medical complications and even death. The three main categories of chocolate to be aware of are milk chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, and baking chocolate. Baking chocolate has the highest concentration of caffeine and theobromine and is the most toxic, even in small quantities. If you suspect your dog has ingested chocolate, contact your veterinarian for help.
    • Grapes & Raisins – Believe it or not, chocolate isn’t the only food harmful to your dog. Grapes, raisins, and currants can be toxic to your dog, leading to potential kidney failure, anorexia, vomiting, and diarrhea. Keep all foods in that family, including grape juice, raisin bagels, and similar foods out of your pet’s reach.
    • Xylitol (sweeteners) – This sugar-free natural sweetener is popping up in all sorts of products, from sugar-free gum and mints to toothpaste, vitamins, food, and candy. While it might make a great sugar substitute for humans, it can be devastating to your dog, with symptoms ranging from weakness and collapse to coma and even death. Xylitol, even in very small amounts can cause immediate hypoglycemia, liver necrosis and liver failure, and requires immediate treatment.
    • Milk/Dairy
    • Nuts
    • Avocados
    • Citrus 
    • Raw Meat
    • Salt

Many of these foods have severe consequences for pets, including liver damage, hyperthermia, seizures, and central nervous system depression. Even if your animal is looking at you with their big, begging eyes, it’s best to stick to pet-approved foods only. 

  1. Household Cleaners/Personal Care Products – 7.7% of APCC calls

Household items are tricky because they are often things we keep lying around—items like pest control products, cleaning products, and personal care products. Oven cleaners, lime-removal products, concentrated toilet cleaners, pool chemicals, drain cleaners, and dishwashing chemicals are all highly corrosive. These products can cause severe injuries and burns to a pet’s fur and skin upon contact. Contact your veterinarian immediately with the details of what chemical they’ve come into contact with, assuming you know. 

  1. Antifreeze

Ethylene glycol, found in antifreeze, motor oil, brake fluid, paint solvents, and windshield de-icers, is extremely toxic to pets. Unfortunately, its sweet smell and taste can lure unsuspecting pets to taste it, often leading to deadly results. If you suspect ethylene glycol poisoning, it’s imperative you seek treatment immediately as the antidote needs to be administered within hours for your pet to survive. Without treatment, ethylene glycol is almost 100% fatal.

  1. Rodenticide Exposure – 6.8% of APCC calls

Rodenticide is just as harmful to your pet as it is to a rat or mouse. Even when using rodenticides in an area you believe your pet can’t access, rodents can still inadvertently transfer the toxic substances to other locations. This invisible transfer means your animal is more likely to come in contact with the product without you knowing it. We recommend you avoid using this product in your home altogether. 

  1. Plants & Garden Products – 8.5 % of APCC calls

Although houseplants have many benefits, you should think twice before bringing certain kinds into your home. Lilies, azaleas, autumn crocus, tulips, hyacinths, lily of the valley, daffodils, cyclamen, kalanchoe, oleander, dieffenbachia, and sago palms are all highly toxic to pets. Many garden products can be poison hazards too. Play it safe and keep hazardous houseplants and garden products away from your home.

  1. Insecticide Exposure – 5.1% of APCC calls

Watch out for carbamates and organophosphates (OP). Found most frequently in rose and flower herbicides and fertilizers, these chemicals can cause symptoms from nausea, tearing, and drooling to hypothermia, seizures, and even death. While the EPA is regulating the use of these chemicals, both cats and dogs can still fall prey to the harmful side-effects these products cause. If you’re a flower gardener, pay close attention to product labels to ensure proper pet poison control.

Signs & Symptoms of Pet Poisoning

For pets, many symptoms of poisoning will look similar to other illnesses and may include signs like:

  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Convulsions
  • Lethargy
  • Black/bloody stools
  • Lethargy

In Case of an Emergency

Be prepared. In case of a pet poisoning or other emergency, family members should all have the number of a preferred vet clinic or another emergency veterinary contact. Post these emergency numbers in a visible spot for everyone to reference. 

If you think your pet may have ingested or come into contact with a poison, call your veterinary clinic immediately. When known, bring the packaging, wrapper, dose, chemical name, etc. with you to the vet. It can help your veterinarian to know exactly what they have ingested.

Outside of your vet, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) is your best resource for any animal poison-related emergency, ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center: 888-426-4435. A consultation fee may apply.

Disclaimer: Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.