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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.

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.

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.