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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.

 

How to Recognize Diabetes in Pets

 

diabetes sign with exclamation pointWhat To Do If Your Dog or Cat has Diabetes

Diabetes is an endocrine disorder that affects the way the body produces or processes
the hormone insulin, which helps the body turn glucose (sugar) from food into energy.
Unfortunately, Diabetes is not curable in either dogs or cats. However, early diagnosis,
along with regular treatment and care, means your furry friend can still live a very long
and happy life.

Being aware and able to recognize the signs of Diabetes in your dog or cat is critical to
ensuring they get the help they need. Left unmanaged, Diabetes can have irreversible
effects. If you suspect your beloved dog or cat has Diabetes, be sure to consult your
veterinarian.

Symptoms of Diabetes in Dogs

If your dog is experiencing the following symptoms, make a veterinary appointment as
they could be indicators that your dog has Diabetes. Please note that these symptoms
overlap with many other health conditions, so blood work is necessary to make a proper diagnosis.

● Change in appetite
● Excessive thirst/increase in water consumption
● Weight loss
● Increased urination
● Unusually sweet-smelling or fruity breath
● Lethargy
● Dehydration
● Urinary tract infections
● Vomiting
● Cataract formation, blindness
● Chronic skin infections

While Diabetes is more common in middle-aged to older dogs, especially among
females, it’s not uncommon for younger dogs to develop Diabetes. Certain breeds are
more likely to develop Diabetes, including German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and
Cocker Spaniels.

Symptoms of Diabetes in Cats

Diabetes is the second most common endocrine disease in cats. If your cat is
experiencing the following symptoms, make a veterinary appointment as they could be
indicators that your cat has Diabetes. Please note that these symptoms overlap with many other health conditions, so blood work is necessary to make a proper diagnosis.

● Increased thirst (polydipsia) and urination (polyuria)
● Inappropriate elimination (cats also experience increased urinary tract infections)
● Change in appetite (increased or decreased appetite is an indicator of a problem)
● Weight loss
● Change in gait (walking)
● Reduced activity, weakness, depression
● Vomiting

Diabetes tends to be more common among middle-aged to older cats, as well as among
felines that are overweight. However, unlike dogs, neutered male cats are more likely to
develop Diabetes. While any cat can develop Diabetes, breeds that are more prone to
this disease include Siamese, Maine Coon, and Burmese.

What To Do if Your Dog or Cat has Diabetes

If you find out your furry friend has Diabetes, it’s totally normal to feel worried and
anxious. First, take a deep breath. With the right kind of care and treatment, your beloved cat or dog can still live a happy and productive life. Your veterinarian can discuss various lifestyle changes
you will need to make in your pet’s life to ensure they remain healthy. These can include
more exercise, diet changes, oral medication, and insulin injections.

Still not sure if your furry friend has Diabetes? Take the quiz and see if your pet could be
at risk or schedule an appointment at one of our 21 locations.

With proper veterinary care, Diabetes can be manageable. Working together, we can help your pet live a long and healthy life.

[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.

Common Signs of Pain in Animals

How to recognize the common signs of pain in animals

It’s not uncommon for pets to get injured. With all the outdoor activities and rough-and-tumble play throughout the day, accidents are certainly unavoidable. While injuries are a source of pain for many animals, health ailments are also responsible for pain and discomfort in pets. Pain commonly causes changes in an animal’s demeanor and often indicates that they are experiencing discomfort. Behaviors like whimpering, anxiety, and other changes are the ways our animals communicate to us that there is something wrong and they need our help.

Dogs and cats have different ways of showing pain, but there is some overlap in the behaviors that these animals display if they’re feeling under the weather. Some of these shared behaviors may include:

  • Decrease or loss of appetite
  • Quiet or submissive behavior
  • Hissing, howling, whimpering or growling
  • Increased and excessive grooming, licking self, biting self, etc.

While there are many similar pain-related behaviors among dogs and cats, here are some symptoms that can often be unique to each animal.

Signs of Dog Pain

Unique to dogs, these indicators can signal that a trip to the vet is in order:

    • Increased aggression. Unlike cats, dogs can display aggression if they aren’t feeling well. Don’t take this behavior personally. Aggression when sick is known as a defense mechanism used to protect against unwanted bothering.

 

  • Restlessness. A dog in pain may not be able to settle down comfortably. If your dog seems agitated and stiff, watch for a limp and lethargy – these can be important clues for recognizing hip pain or arthritis. A dog that arches their back or tends to stretch more than usual may also be indicating back pain or spinal issues.

 

  • Squinting. Dogs with eye pain may react by squinting. Smaller pupils can also be an indication of pain. Corneal ulcers and other eye diseases should be treated immediately to reduce the chances of permanent damage.

Signs of Cat Pain

Often quiet and lackadaisical, it can be hard to know when these creatures are hurting. So how exactly do you know if a cat is in pain? Keep a lookout for these behaviors:

 

  • Hiding. Hiding is one way that cats can ensure that they won’t be bothered. Typically social creatures, a cat that’s in hiding for long periods of time may be a sign of something awry.
  • Hunching posture. A change in posture can signal a cat in pain. Sitting with their paws underneath them, showing disinterest in their surroundings or sitting alone could indicate a number of different health ailments, including abdominal pain, constipation, urinary infections and in some cases an abscess, cancer, pancreatitis, feline panleukopenia, or gastrointestinal obstruction.
  • Trouble using the litter box. Back or hip pain can prevent a cat from crouching in the right position to use the litter box. Feces and urine on the sides of the box may hint that your cat is having some mobility issues.

 

What to do when your dog or cat shows signs of pain

If your pet is exhibiting one or more of these behaviors, it’s best to take them in for a visit with your veterinarian. Even though animals can be masters at masking their injury or ailments, it’s important that you still take your pet to the vet for further examination. There are many options available to treat pain in animals including analgesic medications, physical rehabilitation, acupuncture, laser therapy, and therapeutic massage. Your vet can provide insight into what’s happening with your pet, and discuss treatment options. If you suspect your pet may be experiencing pain and discomfort, make an appointment with your vet right away. The team at AZPetVet is available 7 days a week to help you ensure your pet is living their best life, pain free.

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 Choose a Quality Dog Food, Knowing What’s Inside

Knowing Which Ingredients are Best for Your Furry Friend

Choosing a dog food can be overwhelming with so many varieties on the market. So, how do you determine what is the healthiest choice for your dog? Here are some tips that can help you find the best quality food for your pooch:

Read the Ingredients Label 

No matter what the age of your pet, you’re going to want to see some specific things in the ingredients to be sure it’s good quality food. In pet food, the ingredients are listed by weight/quantity – so the first few ingredients will comprise the bulk of the food.

The first ingredients should always include some form of named animal protein like beef, chicken, lamb, or fish. Caution: avoid ‘meat by-products or poultry by-products’ as these are usually manufactured from low-cost parts that could come from any number of sources. If a listing includes ‘meal’ – a named type such as beef meal or chicken meal is better than ‘meat meal.’

Whole Vegetables, Fruits & Grains

Like humans, dogs get nutritional benefits from whole foods. Good quality dog food formulas will include added essential vitamins and minerals derived from legumes, fruits, vegetables, grains, or meat. If you prefer to leave grain out – whether by choice or necessity due to sensitivities – there are many quality grain-free foods on the market. If you’re not sure, talk to your veterinarian.

Quality Fats & Oils 

A balanced diet provides about 10-15 percent fat, which promotes healthy skin and a shiny coat. Animal fats in dog food provide energy, add taste and flavor to foods, and assist in the absorption of specific vitamins. Quality fats in dog foods can be found in vegetable oil, soybean oil, and fish oil. Various vegetable oils in dog food can be very beneficial in your pup’s diet — especially sunflower and flaxseed oil. Vegetable oils are commonly found in dog food; however, excessive vegetable oil can cause your dog to gain weight or experience diarrhea. Be mindful of how much vegetable oil your furry friend is taking in. Another option for quality fats is poultry fats. Other animal fats that may be found in dog food include beef, lamb, and pork fats. Avoid foods with a generic ‘animal fat’ listing as they can come from less than desirable sources. 

Choose a Food for Your Pet’s Particular Size, Activity Levels & Life Stage

The nutritional needs of a puppy are quite different from an adult or senior dog. Also, the size and activity levels of the dog can be significant. Some pet foods are formulated to meet the dietary needs of a specific breed. For example – a breed that’s susceptible to joint problems might benefit from a diet that includes vitamins and minerals that help strengthen bones.

What to Avoid

Say no to artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives like BHA, BHT, and ethoxyquin. Look for natural preservatives, such as tocopherols (forms of vitamin E), vitamin C, and rosemary extract instead. Watch out for added sugar or artificial sweeteners! Dogs love sweet things too, and these are often added to foods to coax dogs to eat sub-standard foods. 

Note the Important Dates on the Bag

Natural preservatives mean the food has a shorter shelf life than those using artificial preservatives. Look for the freshest products by checking the date of manufacture and’ best by’ dates.

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. 

What To Do If Your Dog, Cat, or Smaller Pet Gets Lost and How to Find Them

Your Dog, Cat, or Smaller Pet Gets Lost, What Do You Do Next?

Having a beloved pet go missing is a painful experience, and it’s one that no pet owner should ever have to experience. The good news is that there are various preventive measures you can take to help ensure that your furry friend doesn’t get lost. Here are some tips from the AZPetVet team:

Get Them Microchipped 

Getting your pet microchipped is the simplest and quickest measure to take in helping to prevent your pet from getting lost. Whether or not your dog or cat is a runner or a homebody — be sure to get your friend microchipped during their first vet visit. This will allow others to help your pet find its way home if it does run away or accidentally get out. After your pet is microchipped, be sure to always keep your contact information up to date to ensure anyone who finds your pet will have your current information available. Since pets like hamsters, turtles, or birds spend much of their time in their cages, aside from monitored adventures around the house, it isn’t as crucial for these pets get microchipped; but it is available. Outdoor tortoises have been known to escape from the yard, so you can definitely have them chipped as a precautionary measure.

Collar & Tags

Make sure your pet always wears a collar with tags that have updated contact information. When buying a collar and tags, try to find something that is durable and weather-resistant, so it will last. 

How To Find Your Lost Pet

If you do find yourself in the terrible situation of a missing animal, there are specific steps to take to find your lost pet. For the most part, these rules can apply to any kind of pet — just with some slight variations. Here is what you should do if your dog, cat, or other pet gets lost: 

Make Posters

Be sure to include all of the most essential information when creating posters. People need to know your pet’s name, the cross streets of where you live, and your contact details. It’s also wise to include a current and clear photo of your dog or cat with a description, including weight, fur color, and any other physical features that will help people best identify your pet. Post this information around your neighborhood, local grocery stores, vet offices, pet stores, and community centers. 

Post On Social Media

Social media platforms can be a great tool to share pictures and information about your missing pet. Use your own personal accounts across various platforms to share photos and details about your pet. Through shares and comments, the news of your lost furry friend will likely spread, which will increase the chance of someone helping them find their way home. You can also use platforms such as Straydar and NextDoor, which have a community of highly engaged users who can help you in your search. 

Call Local Animal Control and Shelters

File a lost pet report with shelters and rescue organizations as soon as you notice your friend has gone missing. Once the report is filed, try to visit local animal shelters daily if possible.  

What To Do If Your Small Animal Goes Missing In Your Home

If you keep your small creature in a tank or cage inside your house, your pet likely hasn’t gone too far. Be sure to check in the little nooks and crannies in the room you keep them in — your furry friend could just be playing hide and seek!

If you lose your animal outside, it’s very possible they’re hiding under a bush or tucked away in another shady area. While searching, try placing tempting pieces of food into visible, open spaces. Small animals tend to have a great sense of smell and might make an appearance for a bite to eat. If you still can’t find your missing pet, start following the steps outlined above to ensure they get back home safely. 

Knowing what to do when your dog or other beloved pet gets lost is crucial to helping them find their way home. 

Hopefully, you never have to experience a pet running away or getting lost, but it’s always important to educate yourself on the preventative measures and steps to take so you can be better prepared to jump into action as quickly as possible.