pet safety

Deadly Diet- Surprising foods you should never feed your pet

If you are like many dog owners, you may find tableside begging one of the hardest habits to break in your pet. Who can resist those big puppy dog eyes pleading for just a nibble from your plate? You should know, however, that some foods should never be shared with your dog. Some foods contain ingredients and compounds that can do more than cause a minor upset stomach; they can actually be deadly for your dog.  Here are the worst culprits you will want to avoid sharing with your furry friend:

Grapes and Raisins Although the exact toxin is unknown, grapes and raisins have been associated with kidney failure in dogs. Symptoms of grape or raisin exposure include vomiting, lethargy or diarrhea within 12 hours of ingestion. Dogs become increasingly lethargic and dehydrated, and death can occur within three to four days, so extreme care must be taken to ensure your dog never has access to grapes or raisins.

Xylitol Found in some candies and chewing gum, xylitol is a sweetener that can be deadly for your dog. When ingested, xylitol stimulates the release of insulin which can lead to hypoglycemia. Vomiting, lethargy and trouble with coordination are warning signs that should not be ignored; if left untreated, xylitol toxicity can be fatal.

Alcohol Alcoholic beverages can have the same effect on a dog as a human, but most dog breeds are smaller than the average human, making the effects much more acute. Vomiting, liver damage and brain damage can result from even a small amount of alcohol, so use care when consuming alcohol around your pet and dispose of cans and bottles safely.

Apple Core/Apricot Pits The core and pits of these fruits contain cyanogenic glycosides, which can cause cyanide poisoning in dogs. Signs of toxicity include excess salivation, dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, dizziness, collapse, coma, seizures and shock.

Avocado Avocados are toxic to a number of animals, and that includes the family dog. The toxicity comes from a compound called persin, which is found inside the avocado as well as in its skin. There are reports of damage to the heart of some dogs that have ingested sufficient quantities of avocado. The best advice is to avoid feeding your dog avocado altogether.

Chocolate, Coffee, Caffeine These foods all contain methylxanthines, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. As a general rule, the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is to pets, with powdered cocoa and dark baking chocolate being the most deadly.

Dairy Products Milk and other dairy products, though not dangerously toxic, cannot be properly digested by adult dogs because they lack the enzyme to break down lactose, the sugar found in dairy. This can lead to excess gas and diarrhea.

Macadamia Nuts Consuming even just a small handful of macadamia nuts can cause extreme distress to your dog, resulting in weakness, muscle tremors and joint pain. The toxicity can quickly become fatal, so do your best to prevent your dog from having access to them.

Onions, Garlic, Chives Onions, garlic and chives can cause gastrointestinal irritation and can lead to red blood cell damage. Although cats are even more susceptible, dogs can also be affected if exposed to concentrated forms of onion or garlic, such as dehydrated onions, onion powder or onion soup mix.

If you suspect your dog may have eaten something dangerous, do not wait to seek veterinary care. The sooner your four-legged family member can be properly treated, the better the outcome will be.

dangerous-foods-dogs

Safe Summer Tips For Your Pet

pet tips_summerWe all love spending the long, sunny days of summer outdoors with our furry companions, but being overeager in hot weather can spell danger, ASPCA experts warn.

“Most people love to spend the warmer days enjoying the outdoors with friends and family, but it is important to remember that some activities can be dangerous for our pets,” said Dr. Camille DeClementi, Senior Toxicologist at the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center. “By following a few simple rules, it is easy to keep your pet safe while still having fun in the sun.”

Take these simple precautions, provided by ASPCA experts, to help prevent your pet from overheating. And if you suspect your pet is suffering from heat stroke, get help from your veterinarian immediately.

Visit the Vet
A visit to the veterinarian for a spring or early summer check-up is a must. Make sure your pets get tested for heartworm if they aren’t on year-round preventive medication. Do parasites bug your animal companions? Ask your doctor to recommend a safe flea and tick control program.

Made in the Shade
Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot outdoors. Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun, be careful to not over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot.

Know the Warning Signs
Symptoms of overheating in pets include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. They can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees. Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with the elderly, the overweight, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.

No Parking!
Never leave your animals alone in a parked vehicle. “On a hot day, a parked car can become a furnace in no time-even with the windows open-which could lead to fatal heat stroke,” says Dr. Louise Murray, Vice President of ASPCA Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital. Also, leaving pets unattended in cars in extreme weather is illegal in several states.

Make a Safe Splash   
Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool-not all dogs are good swimmers. Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear floatation devices when on boats. Rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from his fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals that could cause stomach upset.

Screen Test
“During warmer months, the ASPCA sees an increase in injured animals as a result of High-rise Syndrome which occurs when pets-mostly cats-fall out of windows or doors and are seriously or fatally injured,” says Dr. Murray. “Pet owners need to know that this is completely preventable if they take simple precautions.” Keep all unscreened windows or doors in your home closed and make sure adjustable screens are tightly secured.

Summer Style
Feel free to trim longer hair on your dog, but never shave your dog: The layers of dogs’ coats protect them from overheating and sunburn. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat. And be sure that any sunscreen or insect repellent product you use on your pets is labeled specifically for use on animals.

Street Smarts
When the temperature is very high, don’t let your dog linger on hot asphalt. Being so close the ground, your pooch’s body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn. Keep walks during these times to a minimum.

Avoid Chemicals
Commonly used flea and tick products, rodenticides (mouse and rat baits), and lawn and garden insecticides can be harmful to cats and dogs if ingested, so keep them out of reach. When walking your dog, steer clear of areas that you suspect have been sprayed with insecticides or other chemicals. Keep citronella candles, oil products and insect coils out of pets’ reach as well. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435

Party Animals
Taking Fido to a backyard barbeque or party? Remember that the food and drink offered to guests may be poisonous to pets. Keep alcoholic beverages away from pets, as they can cause intoxication, depression and comas. Similarly, remember that the snacks enjoyed by your human friends should not be a treat for your pet; any change of diet, even for one meal, may give your dog or cat severe digestive ailments. Avoid raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate and products with the sweetener xylitol.

Fireworks Aren’t Very Pet-riotic
Please leave pets at home when you head out to Fourth of July celebrations, and never use fireworks around pets. Exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns or trauma to curious pets, and even unused fireworks can be hazardous. Many types of fireworks contain potentially toxic substances such as potassium nitrate, copper, chlorates, arsenic and other heavy metals.