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Monthly Archives: March 2021

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.

 

Tips for Traveling with a Cat: What You Need to Know

Tips for Traveling with a Cat

No-Fuss Tips for Travelling with a Cat

How to calm down a cat in the car is not what you want to be frantically Googling while you’re already on the road. If you’re considering taking a trip with your feline friend –– whether by plane, train, or automobile, you’ll appreciate the following tips for traveling with a cat.

  1. Talk to your veterinarian. Some cats are unphased by car travel, others may feel stress, and some may need medication to help them stay calm and happy. Some cats can also get carsick, so watch for signs like panting, crying, or vomiting. Your veterinarian can help.
  2. Get your cat used to car trips gradually. Bringing your cat along for short trips helps get them acclimated to the environment and movement, so there’s less fuss and distress to contend with in the future.
  3. Introduce the cat carrier early. Some cats will freak out the second they see the cat carrier, which is always a challenge. Cats love boxes, but a carrier is the enemy to many due to unpleasant associations. 
  4. Keep your cat inside the carrier. It’s tempting to let them out, but the carrier helps keep everyone safer and reduces the chance of an accident.
  5. Bring all your cat’s necessities on longer trips. Don’t forget food, bowls, toys, medications, travel-sized litter, and a bed or blanket. When choosing bedding, opt for your cat’s favorite or the one in which they choose to spend the most time. The familiar feel and scents provide a sense of security.
  6. Make frequent pit-stops. Animals can’t tell you, “I need to use the bathroom!” and the last thing you want is to have to clean up potty accidents. Plan on stopping every 2-3 hours so everyone can stretch a bit, hydrate, grab a bite to eat if needed, and use the bathroom.

How to Travel With a Cat on a Plane

Traveling by plane with your cat doesn’t have to be an ordeal. With a bit of careful planning and preparation, you can minimize any stress. Utilize the below tips for traveling with a cat on a plane.

  1. Confirm pet travel details with your airline. How to transport a cat varies by airline, so confirming the details will help you determine whether your cat can travel in the cabin under the seat or if pets are restricted to cargo only.
  2. Always double-check the carrier dimensions. The weight requirements and dimensions for in-cabin carriers are essential so you can choose the correct size, or your pet may be relegated to the cargo hold or refused for travel. 
  3. Organize any required paperwork. These can include vaccination records and health certificates for travel, pet passports, or special vaccinations, which may require a pre-travel veterinary check-up.
  4. Consult your veterinarian about any sedatives that might be required. If your cat is a scaredy-cat, a little medication can make all the difference.
  5. TSA Screening. Your cat’s carrier must go through the X-ray screening sans cat, so this will require carrying your pet through the human screening devices. Make sure to have a form-fitting harness and leash to keep control. 
  6. Remember Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines. These require ALL pets in the airplane cabin to remain secured in their carriers throughout the flight.
  7. Skip feeding before a flight. An empty stomach will help minimize the risk of nausea and vomiting.
  8. Bring along extra potty pads, food, a water bottle, and medications. Zip-lock bags, wipes or paper towels, and latex gloves are also recommended in case you need to make a fast cleanup after potty time.

Remember, consult with your veterinarian before embarking on a trip or long car journey. Together, you can explore the different tips for traveling with a cat and determine the specific recommendations for your pet’s personality and individual needs. Happy travels!

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.

How to Prevent Dogs from Eating Poop & Why They’re Doing It

how to prevent dogs from eating poop

Why Did My Dog Eat Poop?!

Although poop-eating, or coprophagia, is relatively normal for dogs and puppies, it’s a wildly unsightly habit. Not to mention, there’s really nothing more grotesque than watching your pup munch on its own or another dog’s stool before moseying over and planting a wet one on your face. 

Among all of the gross hobbies your dog could have––drinking toilet water, rolling in mud, licking their behinds––poop-eating is among the least ideal. Fortunately, there are several ways to discourage it. Here are some key tips for how to prevent dogs from eating poop altogether.

Reasons Why Dogs Eat Poop

American Kennel Club (AKC) shares that in many cases, dogs will take up poop-eating as a result of some sort of environmental stress or behavior triggers, including:

  1. Isolation: Research shows that dogs cooped up in a kennel or basement away from their families are more likely to eat stool than those living in spaces near their family.
  2. Confinement: Dogs who spend excessive amounts of time confined in small spaces can develop poop-eating habits, which means it’s not uncommon to see this in dogs who have been rescued from shelters. 
  3. Anxiety: Coprophagia is a typical response to punishment or harsh house training methods. In this case, dogs may eat their own poop to remove any evidence of using the bathroom where they shouldn’t have.
  4. Seeking Attention: Dogs who consume their own poop may be out to get a reaction or consider it a game.
  5. Association With Real Food: Dogs fed in the same proximity as their poop may make a connection between the odors and ultimately, over time, be unable to differentiate.
  6. Nursing Mothers: Nursing females often eat the feces of their young to keep their space clean.
  7. Nursing Pups: In some cases, puppies will become confused by sniffing fecal odor on their mother’s breath after she’s cleaned them or their den. Mothers may often vomit food mixed with fecal matter, which may lead the puppy to develop this same habit.
  8. Elderly/Sick Pet: Sometimes, a healthy dog will consume feces from a weaker canine family member. Researchers predict this may be related to a dog’s instinct to protect its pack.
  9. Taste: Dogs sometimes eat the stool of another species like cats or horses solely because they find the taste enjoyable.

Furthermore, if your pet starts snacking away on poop, you should consult with your vet to rule out other underlying problems like:

  • Parasites
  • Nutrient-deficient diets
  • Malabsorption syndromes
  • Diabetes, Cushing’s, thyroid disease, and other appetite-increasing conditions 
  • Steroids or other drugs

How to Prevent Dogs From Eating Poop

Is it bad for dogs to eat poop? Stool, especially found in other species, often contains certain beneficial nutrients. However, it can also contain harmful bacteria, so it’s best to dissuade them as best as possible. Try out strategies like vitamin supplementation, enzyme supplementation, and taste-aversion products like poop-eating deterrents. Along with that, dog owners have seen improvements following training and environmental management methods such as:

  • Keep the dog’s living space clean
  • Keep the yard clean and free of poop
  • For owners with both dogs and cats, store the litter box out of reach
  • Closely monitor dogs on walks and immediately pick up after them
  • Work on commands like “leave it” and “come,” rewarding with a treat

Additionally, AKC provided these facts on fecal-eating for pet parents to consider:

  • Coprophagia was more common in multi-dog households. In single-dog homes, only 20 percent of dogs had the habit, while in homes with three dogs, that rose to 33 percent
  • Poop eaters are no harder to house train than any other dogs
  • Females are more likely to eat poop, and intact males were least likely
  • 92 percent of poop eaters want fresh stuff, only one to two days old
  • 85 percent of poop eaters will not eat their own feces, only that of other dogs
  • Greedy eaters—dogs who steal food off tables—tend to be poop eaters

So, is it normal for dogs to eat their poop? Yes. But as you’ve learned, the causes and solutions to this are not always simple. Assess the situation as well as your dog’s everyday living and eating environment, and adjust accordingly to minimize exposure and ultimately any poop-eating opportunity. If you find these at-home prevention tips and tricks are ineffective, contact your local AZPetVet so we can help you come up with a plan for how to prevent your dog from eating poop.

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.

Spring Cleaning Safety Tips for You & Your Furry Friends

spring cleaning safety tips

Spring Cleaning Safety Tips & Advice for Pet Owners

Believe it or not, spring has nearly sprung, which means it’s time to wash away the winter germs and welcome the change of seasons with a clean home. Your pets may be small, but they are a mighty part of the house, carrying with them some mighty odors along with mighty amounts of dirt, hair, and saliva. As the weather begins to warm, the winter coat begins to shed, and that fur collects in every corner of the house –– under furniture, on top of furniture, and even on your clothing. A lint roller only goes so far, so time to bust out the big cleaning guns.

Luckily, we have some spring cleaning safety tips and advice on how to disinfect dog toys and some suggestions for dog supply organizers that every pet parent should know about.

Spring Cleaning Tips

  1. Donate Old Toys & Accessories
    • Toys aren’t meant to last forever. If your pet’s toy bin is getting out of hand, go through and create three separate piles: keep, donate, trash. Store any favorites back in the bin, set a date to deliver those in good condition to your local shelter, then trash the broken or scrapped ones. This will eliminate clutter and rid your home of the unwanted germs and bacteria living on that 3-year-old, de-stuffed, de-squeaked, saliva- soaked, unidentifiable plush toy pelt.
  2. Wash Beds & Bedding
    • Don’t just wait for spring to give your pet’s beds a really good wash. Just as you would wash your own bedding frequently, the same goes for your furry friend. Otherwise, the buildup of hair, dirt, food, saliva, and other germs will often produce a putrid odor or even attract unwanted creepy crawlies over time. 
  3. Sanitize Bowls
    • It’s great to get in the habit of rinsing your pet’s bowls every night but to ensure no bacteria and germs are being passed to your pet, take some extra time every week to scrub them out or throw them into the dishwasher for a thorough cleaning. 
  4. Deep Clean Carpets & Floors
    • Regular cleaning and vacuuming is a must, but spring is the perfect time to give your floors some extra love. Puppy potty-training wreaks havoc on the carpet and dirty paws track muck and mud indoors, so do some research. You may determine it’s worth the bucks to invest in a high-end carpet cleaning appliance or professional service.
  5. Replace Air Filters
    • Spring cleaning time is the perfect time to replace the air filters in your home. You can scrub the dishes, wash the beds, and deep clean the floors, but if you neglect to eliminate the primary source of storage for dust, hair, and dangerous allergens, then all that hard work will have been in vain. Look into specialized air filters for pet owners that work hard to minimize this kind of buildup.

Spring Cleaning Safety Tips for Pets

  1. Store any cleaners and chemicals out of reach.
  2. Immediately toss used rags in the laundry bin and dispose of paper towels in a closed/ sealable wastebasket. 
  3. Invest in pet-safe soap and other natural cleaning supplies.
  4. Put your pet in another room or outside if weather permits whenever you’re vacuuming/mopping to avoid injury.
  5. Ensure floors are 100% dry before allowing pets to return to the space.
  6. Inventory your pet’s first-aid supplies (if you don’t have a first-aid kit, now’s the time to create one!) and take a few minutes to look over expiration dates on any medications or products and refill as needed.

How to Disinfect Dog Toys

Your pet’s toys spend a significant amount of time in their mouths, in the yard, on their beds (or yours), in puddles, and many other places where dirt and grime can collect. How to disinfect dog toys is a distant thought for many, but neglecting to do so is a habit we should quickly work to reverse.

  1. Soak in a natural dog-safe sanitizer like a water and vinegar solution (avoid bleach, peroxide, Lysol, or similar products)
  2. Pay extra attention to outdoor toys, soaking in double the amount of vinegar/natural sanitizer for double the amount of time.
  3. Rotate your pet’s toys to make cleaning easier, giving them a set to play with while the other is being washed.
  4. Re-introduce the toy with enthusiasm as washing certain toys often means removing the smells and other elements that gave them their “mojo” in the first place. This way, you associate positivity with a clean toy – essentially telling your pet that clean is good!
  5. Clean the toy bin. Additionally, it’s best to store toys in a bin rather than a basket as the plastic or hard surface is much easier to sanitize than fabric.

Deep cleaning and decluttering the space is one thing but keeping the space clean is another. Consider trying out any of these dog supply organizers from Rover to keep your pet’s areas and accessories organized. 

Lastly, if you’re prepping your space for some serious spring cleaning and unsure which supplies are pet-safe, check with your veterinarian or local pet supply store for recommendations for you and your household!

[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.