Thursday, October 25, 2018

How To Keep Your Pet Safe From Household Hazards

Every home contains a variety of everyday items and substances that can be dangerous or even fatal if ingested by dogs and cats. You can protect your pet’s health by becoming aware of the most common health hazards found in many pet-owning households.

Hazards in the Kitchen

Many foods are perfectly safe for humans, but could be harmful or potentially deadly to pets. To be safe, keep the following food items out of your pet’s menu:Kitten sitting behind a hydrangea blossom

•Coffee grounds
•Fatty foods
•Yeast dough
•Macadamia nuts
•Any products containing xylitol (an artificial sweetener)
Always keep garbage out of a pet’s reach, as rotting food contains molds or bacteria that could cause food poisoning.

Cleaning Products

Many household cleaners can be used safely around pets. However, the key to safe use lies in reading and following product directions for proper use and storage.

For instance, if the label states “keep pets and children away from area until dry”, follow those directions to prevent possible health risks. Products containing bleach can safely disinfect many household surfaces when used properly, but can cause stomach upset, drooling, vomiting or diarrhea, severe burns if swallowed, and respiratory tract irritation if inhaled in a high enough concentration. In addition, skin contact with concentrated solutions may produce serious chemical burns. Some detergents can produce a similar reaction and cats can be particularly sensitive to certain ingredients such as phenols.

As a general rule, store all cleaning products in a secure cabinet out of the reach of pets and keep them in their original packaging, or in a clearly labeled and tightly sealed container.

As with household cleaners, read and follow label instructions before using any type of pesticide in your pet’s environment. For example, flea and tick products labeled “for use on dogs only” should never be used on cats or other species, as serious or even life-threatening problems could result. Always consult with your veterinarian about the safe use of these products for your pet.

If a pet ingests rat or mouse poison, potentially serious or even life-threatening illness can result; therefore, when using any rodenticide, it is important to place the poison in areas completely inaccessible to pets. Some of the newer rodenticides have no known antidote, and can pose significant safety risks to animals and people.

Hazards in the Bathroom

All medicines should be tightly closed and stored securely and away from pets.
Medications that treat human medical conditions can make pets very sick. Never give your pet any medication, including over-the-counter medications, unless directed by your veterinarian. As a rule, all medicines should be tightly closed and stored securely and away from pets.

Medications that pose higher risk include:

•Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen
•Diet Pills/Vitamins
•Cold Medicines
•Prescription Drugs
Soaps and other Sundries
Bath and hand soaps, toothpaste and sun screens should also be kept away from your pets. They can cause stomach upset, vomiting or diarrhea. Keep toilet lids closed to prevent your pets from consuming treated toilet bowl water that could irritate their digestive tract.

Hazards in the Bedroom & Living Room

While they may smell good, many liquid potpourri products contain ingredients that can cause oral ulcerations and other problems, so keep them out of the reach of your pets.

Just one mothball has the potential to sicken a dog or cat; mothballs that contain naphthalene can cause serious illness, including digestive tract irritation, liver, kidney and blood cell damage, swelling of the brain tissues, seizures, coma, respiratory tract damage (if inhaled) and even death (if ingested). Tobacco products, pennies (those minted after 1982 contain zinc) and alkaline batteries (like those in your remote controls) can also be hazardous when ingested.

Hazards in the Garage & Yard

Antifreeze, Herbicides and Insecticides
Ethylene glycol-containing antifreeze and coolants, even in small quantities, can be fatal to pets. While antifreeze products containing propylene glycol are less toxic than those containing ethylene glycol, they can still be dangerous. In addition to antifreeze, other substances routinely stored in the garage including insecticides, plant/lawn fertilizers, weed killers, ice-melting products, and gasoline also pose a threat to your pet’s health if ingested.

When chemical treatments are applied to grassy areas, be sure and keep your pet off the lawn for the manufacturer’s recommended time. If pets are exposed to wet chemicals or granules that adhere to their legs or body, they may lick it off later; stomach upset or more serious problems could result.

Polyurethane adhesives are found in a large number of household products, and some can be very dangerous if ingested by pets. In particular, several brands of expanding wood glues – those containing diphenylmethane diisocyanate (often abbreviated as MDI) – have the potential to form obstructive gastrointestinal masses if ingested. The ingested adhesive can form an expanding ball of glue in your pet’s esophagus and/or stomach, creating a firm mass that can be 4-8 times the glue’s original volume. This effect has been reported from as little as 2 oz. of glue, with the obstructive mass forming within minutes of the pet ingesting the adhesive.

Paints and Solvents
Paint thinners, mineral spirits, and other solvents are dangerous and can cause severe irritation or chemical burns if swallowed or if they come in contact with your pet’s skin.

While most latex house paints typically produce a minor stomach upset, some types of artist’s or other specialty paints may contain heavy metals or volatile substances that could become harmful if inhaled or ingested.

Plants - Inside or Around the House
There are many household and yard plants that can sicken your pet. Some of the most commonly grown greenery that should be kept away from pets includes:

•Certain types of lilies (Lilium and Hemerocallis species) are highly toxic to cats, resulting in kidney failure — even if only small amounts are ingested.
•Lily of the Valley, oleander, yew, foxglove, and kalanchoe may cause heart problems if ingested.
•Sago palms (Cycas species) can cause severe intestinal problems, seizures and liver damage, especially if the nut portion of the plant is consumed.
•Azaleas, rhododendrons and tulip/narcissus bulbs can cause intestinal upset, weakness, depression, heart problems, coma and death.
•Castor bean can cause severe intestinal problems, seizures, coma, and death. Other plants that can cause intestinal upset include cyclamen, amaryllis, chrysanthemums, pothos, English ivy, philodendron, corn plant, mother-in-law’s tongue, hibiscus, hydrangea, peace lily and schefflera/scheffleria.
•Rhubarb leaves and shamrock contain substances that can produce kidney failure.
•Additionally, fungi (such as certain varieties of mushrooms) can cause liver damage or other illnesses.
A few other potentially harmful plants include the yesterday-today-and-tomorrow plant (Brunfelsia species), autumn crocus (Colchicum species), and glory lily (Gloriosa species).

Other Household Hazards
Small items that fall on the floor can be easily swallowed by a curious pet. Such items include coins, buttons, small children’s toys, medicine bottles, jewelry, nails and screws. The result may be damage to your pet’s digestive tract and the need for surgical removal of the object.

While electrical cords are especially tempting to puppies, ferrets and pet rodents who like to chew on almost anything, even an adult dog or cat could find them of interest; burns or electrocution could result from chewing on live cords. Prevent this by using cord covers and blocking access to wires.

A note about narcotics
Narcotics, including marijuana, can pose life-threatening risks to your pets if ingested. If you suspect your pet has ingested any narcotics, please notify your veterinarian immediately so your pet can receive the life-saving treatment they need.

Holiday Hazards

Holidays and visitors can pose a special challenge to your pets. Discourage well-meaning guests from spoiling pets with extra treats and scraps from the dinner table. Fatty, rich, or spicy foods can cause vomiting and diarrhea and lead to inflammation of the pancreas, which can be life-threatening. Poultry or other soft bones can splinter and damage your pet’s mouth or esophagus.

While trick-or-treating is fun for children, it can be hazardous to pets. Halloween treats such as chocolate or candy sweetened with xylitol can make a harmful snack. Certain  holiday decorations (especially tinsel, ribbons and ornaments) also pose a hazard to pets, so make sure nothing is left on the floor or on tables within reach.

String-like items can damage your pet’s intestine and could prove fatal if not surgically removed. While poinsettia is not deadly as popular legend would have it, it could still cause an upset stomach if consumed. Holly and mistletoe are more toxic than poinsettias and can cause intestinal upset. Christmas tree water treated with preservatives (including fertilizers) can also cause an upset stomach. Water that is allowed to stagnate in tree stands contains bacteria that, if ingested, could lead to nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

A Special Note of Caution to Bird Owners
Most hazards listed here also apply to your pet bird, particularly if it is allowed to roam freely outside of its cage. In addition, birds are especially vulnerable to inhaled particles and fumes from aerosol products, tobacco products, certain glues, paints and air fresheners. Birds should never be allowed in areas where such products are being used. As a rule, birds should never be kept in kitchens because cooking fumes, smoke and odors can present a potentially fatal hazard.

What to do if your pet is poisoned
Don’t wait! Time is critical for successfully treating accidental poisoning. Pick up the phone and call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (1-888-426-4435; a consultation fee may apply). Be prepared to provide your pet’s breed, age, weight and any symptoms. Keep the product container or plant sample with you to assist in identification so the appropriate treatment recommendations can be made.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

How to Keep Your Pets Safe This Winter

If its 32 degrees or below, limit time for animals to be outside. Keep pets inside for the bulk of day and if anything at the very least overnight.

Know when winter gear is actually necessary. If your town is known for salting or using de-icer on the streets and sidewalks during winter it might be wise to invest in some doggie booties. However if anything clean your pet's paws with some luke warm warm and apply some paw palm. Jackets and sweaters are cute but should only be use on dog with short coats otherwise it's rather pointless. Most dogs will develop a winter coat before it gets too cold, specifically dogs use to being outdoors for a extended period of time.

Monitor working dogs, puppies and older dogs that are primarily outside for long periods or live in outdoor kennels. Ensure outdoor dogs have access to warmth when its really cold. Be it a daft-less covered sheltered with hay for insulation or inside a heated area.

Ensure outdoor cats have access to a safe, warm shelter. Ensure there is adequate drinking supply for outdoor cats 24/7. Always bank on you car hood or physically check under you car hood to ensure a cat has not decided to use the area to keep warm.

Make sure indoor cats stay indoor. If let outside strictly indoor cats ca get confused, freak out and get lost. Which goes to say always make sure your pet has a identification tag and is micro-chipped.

Prepare your pooch for long hikes. Ensure you have enough fresh water and food for both you and you pet.

Store antifreeze in a secure place and if you have a spill near your vehicle, clean up immediately with absorbent material like cat litter. Antifreeze is poisonous to animals!

Don't feed pets holiday dinner scraps. Some foods are poisonous. Fatty foods can give pets upset stomachs and bones can get stuck in their thoughts or perforate their digestive tract.

Keep decorations out of pet's reach. Poinsettias are toxic and garland, strings and tinsel can cause gastrointestinal obstruction.

Ensure your pet is comfortable around people. Have a quiet place set up away from people for pets with anxiety. Make sure your pet does not boly out the door while guests are going in and out of your house.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Hazards for Pets During the Fall Season

School begins so watch for glue sticks, paint, pencils and crayons that can be toxic to your pets. Ensure these items are stowed in a high shelf/cabinet space where your pets cannot reach.

When changing fluids such as antifreeze in your vehicle, clean up any mess thorughly and ensure vehicle fluids like antifreeze are stowed away from pets and children. Stow in a locked cabinet if need be.

Watch out for wild mushrooms growing from all the fall moisture. Although some are edible, many mushroom varieties can be poisonous to people and pets.

If putting out poisons for pesky critters like rodents and insects ensure your pet cannot get into it nor eat the poisoned animal left behind. Dispose of used traps and dead bugs and rodents immediately in a trash can with a lid.

During holidays ensure pets keep away from candy, cooked bones and fatty foods which can wreak havoc in your pet's stomach and may even have the potential to cause death.

Ensure electrical wires, plastics, sharp objects and glass are kept far away and out of reach of pets and children.

If needed, use flea, tick and heartworm medicine all year round and not just in the Fall.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Halloween Safety Tips for Pets

The following tips will help make sure pets have just as happy a Halloween as everyone else.

•Chocolate and candies can be toxic to pets. Be sure to keep candy out of your pet's reach during and after the festivities.

•Bring all pets indoors before the trick-or-treating begins. Outdoor cats and dogs left in the backyard can fall victim to Halloween pranks.

•Make sure your pet has proper ID tags and is microchipped in case they get separated from you!

•If your pet is wary of strangers or people in costumes, keep your pet away from the front door and trick-or-treaters. Putting your pet in another room during trick-or-treating hours may provide a safe hiding place and reduce your pet's stress level.

•Keep pumpkins with candles, wires, and cords from holiday decorations out of your pet's reach.

•Halloween plants such as pumpkins and corn can give your pet a stomach ache. Although these plants are non-toxic, they can certainly make your pet uncomfortable if ingested.

•Don't force your pets to wear costumes if it is not clear he or she enjoys being dressed up. It can cause undue stress.

•If your pet is going to wear a costume, make sure it doesn't restrict their ability to move, see, breathe, bark, or meow. Equally important, make sure there are no small pieces on the costume that your pet can chew and swallow.

As for trick-or-treaters,  be cautious about approaching animals you or your children don't know--especially during Halloween.

If anyone comes across an animal that appears to be acting abnormally or if an animal bites a human, be sure to call Animal Control or 911 immediately.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Things You Need to Know About Protecting Your Pet After You Die

  1. Pets are tangible property. In most states, pets fall into the same category as your car, furniture and jewelry. While they mean so much more to us than that, the law looks at them as an object. Since the law regards pets as possessions, ownership of them is typically transferred in a will along with the artwork and household furnishings.

  2. Choose a caretaker wisely. Most people leave their pets to a child or immediate family member who will happily take care of the pet without additional monies left expressly for that purpose. If you don’t have a close family member to take your pet, consider leaving them to a friend, neighbor or other more distant relative. One of my elderly clients is leaving her pet to her dog walker who has already agreed to take the dog. Other clients, who have no one to take their pets, have left them to the local humane society or pet shelter with a substantial donation.

  3. Follow the money. Some clients will leave an outright gift of a certain dollar amount. The money is intended to be used to care for the pet, but often there is no requirement that the person use the money for the pet. Be aware that second cousin Lester could take your cat Puff and the money, but then drop Puff off at a shelter the next day. You can condition the cash gift to Lester on his keeping Puff, but who is going to police that? And how do you ensure the level of care that Puff receives? A pet trust is the best way to prevent this scenario from happening.

  4. Creating a pet trust. Many states allow for pet trusts. You create a trust and on your death transfer ownership of the pet and cash to the trustee. The trustee then has to use the cash to care for the pet. On the animal’s death, the remaining assets are distributed in accordance with your written instructions in the trust. The trustee cannot use the trust assets for himself, although he can take a fee.

  5. Don’t leave your pet too much money. If you do, the court may reduce the amount of money held in trust for the pet’s benefit. Courts do not like to see folks punishing their heirs by leaving all the money to the dog. Example: the story of Leona Helmsley, the New York hotel heiress who left the bulk of her $12 million estate to her little white Maltese named Trouble? Helmsley was dubbed the “Queen of Mean” for disinheriting family members and leaving so much to a dog instead of family members or charities. A judge later reduced Trouble’s trust to $2 million, but Trouble still lived out her life in the lap of luxury with round-the-clock care and a security guard in Florida (there were kidnapping threats). The cost of her care was reportedly $100,000 per year.
Most pets do not need hundred of thousands of dollars per year for care. A much smaller amount will often suffice. And when the pet passes away, the rest can go to your family members, or better yet, to your local pet shelter or humane society.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Flying with Your Pets

1. Do you have to fly with your pets? Consider alternatives, if possible—whether it’s traveling by car or, for shorter trips, finding a good sitter or boarding kennel.

2. Make sure you research online about airline polices and airline traveler consumer reports

3.Most airlines require a health certificate for animals, usually required within 10 days before travel. This is also a good time to ensure your pets are up for the trip, that their vaccinations are up to date and that they don't have any illnesses that could be made worse by heat or stress.

Some pets have may have breathing issues that make travel more risky. That’s why some airlines have placed restrictions on flying with brachycephalic (flat-faced) animals such as pugs, bulldogs and Persian cats.

4. Practice with your pet in crate and/or carrier training to ensure they are comfortable in a small space for a extended period of time.

5. Navigate the airport especially know security guidelines. If your pets aren’t traveling with you in the cabin, you should still find a way to keep tabs on them—especially in the event of delays or transfers. Check on their status with a gate agent or airline employee.

6. Don't overlook the destination. If you’re flying internationally, or even to Hawaii, your pets may need to be quarantined upon arrival. They may also require import forms. Familiarize yourself with the requirements, where they’ll be quarantined and for how long.Make sure your pets are wearing collars and identification, that their microchip information is up to date, and that you have current photos, just in case they go missing.

Enjoy your flight and be safe!