Tag: pets

Household Items That Can Poison Pets

Homes are filled with many items that are relatively harmless to people but can be quite dangerous to pets if ingested or inhaled. Much in the way new parents must baby-proof a home to keep youngsters safe, the same level of concern should be applied to assessing the home, garage and yard for potential pet hazards.

Safety-proofing a home with four-legged companions (or even other types of pets) comes down to recognizing hazards and making plans to keep items out of reach.

Pharmaceuticals

Although some medicines for people can be safe for pets in doses carefully indicated by veterinarians, medicines also can be dangerous. Simple pain relievers like acetaminophen can interfere with oxygen flow and may do irreparable harm to the livers of companion animals, says Rover.com. Similarly, pet medications, such as flea and tick or heartworm medicines, must be carefully controlled. Often they are flavored, which means pets who gain access may gobble them up. Always store medications well out of reach for pets (including crafty cats who climb).

Insecticides

Many homeowners rely on chemical insecticides to keep pest numbers down. Ant, fly, bee, and roach baits and traps may be toxic to pets. And even if they aren’t, some smaller bait traps can be swallowed and cause choking. Pets may become stuck to glue traps designed for catching bugs and rodents. Always read package labels to check for use around pets. A relatively new trend is to have outdoor areas sprayed with mosquito and tick products. Although most of the companies indicate they are safe for pets, this may only be after the solution has adequately dried. Even then, it’s best to confirm if a dog or cat that likes to nibble on grass or sniff around will be safe.

Whenever possible look to all-natural ways to keep pests at bay, such as sealing packages against ants and removing stray brush and matter where rodents and insects could hide away from the home.

Laundry and Detergents

Pets often eat inedible items. The Food and Drug Administration says that ingesting laundry detergent, dryer sheets and various chemical cleaning products can have serious implications for dogs and cats, potentially leading to ulcers and even proving fatal to dogs and cats or other companion animals. Consider storing these products in locked cabinets.

Tobacco Products

Just like tobacco products, such as pipes and cigarettes, aren’t exactly healthy for human use, they can be quite dangerous to pets. Tobacco products contain nicotine, and ingestion at high doses may cause hyperexcitability, hypersalivation, fast breathing, twitching, and even coma or death, according to Metropolitan Veterinary Associates in Pennsylvania. Consider quitting tobacco, or at the very least, keep these products out of reach.

Toilet Drop-Ins

Toilet tank drop-in products used to keep bowls clean and fresh may inadvertently poison pets who sneak a sip now and then. Most use corrosive cleaning agents. Due to the dilution in the water, toxins may not be very high, but there’s still a risk. Think about alternative cleaning options or even a safety-proofing latch on the toilet lid.

Various chemical-based dangers lurk in the average home. Such products can contribute to adverse health outcomes for pets, underscoring the need to keep them well beyond the reach of curious animals.

How To Choose Pets Based On Your Lifestyle

Getting a pet can seem like a fabulous idea in the heat of the moment when puppy dog eyes are blinking back from behind the bars of a cage or when a cuddly hamster peeks out from his hiding spot and makes kids swoon. Even though pets can make wonderful companions, approximately 6.3 million pets enter United States shelters nationwide every year, according to the ASPCA. In addition, around 80,000 cats and dogs entered shelters in Canada in 2021, according to Humane Canada. Such figures suggest companion animals are not suitable to every animal lover’s lifestyle.

Though many shelter pets find new homes, one of the ways to reduce the number of surrendered pets is to avoid impulse decisions. A careful consideration of lifestyle can ensure potential pet owners find an animal they’re fully capable of caring for.

Consider Time Constraints

People can be honest about their schedules and how pets can fit in. A busy executive who works 12-hour days and travels often may not be able to have a high-maintenance pet. Animals that do not require much interaction, such as aquarium fish or reptiles, may be better fits.

Consider Your Interests

It can be beneficial to find a pet who aligns with one’s interests and hobbies, as this can make the connection even stronger. A person who likes to hike may benefit from a pet that can handle long periods traversing the great outdoors.

Factor In Budget

Pets can be expensive. The American Kennel Club says the lifetime costs of dog ownership can range from $14,480 to $15,051 depending on the size of the dog (which relates to life expectancy). Exotic pets, such as macaws, may have large expenses for specialty vet care and cages. If money is tight, a pet that has minimal expenses might be a smarter move.

Assess Your Personal Health

Someone with allergies may have to avoid furry pets because dander and fur may trigger allergic reactions. Mobility issues can make it challenging for someone to walk a dog every day, making a cat who is relatively independent a more practical choice.

Lifestyle should be a major consideration when deciding if the time is right to introduce a pet into a home. A pet who aligns with the household dynamic can increase the likelihood of a successful pet-owner relationship.

How To Pet Proof Your Home When Decking The Halls

The holiday season is a special time of year. Many factors combine to make the holiday season so unique and festive, and that includes all the effort people put into decorating their homes. Much thought is giving to holiday lighting arrangements and which tree to buy, but it’s equally important to consider pets when decorating. Many common household pets are naturally curious, and that curiosity can make it difficult to decorate safely come the holiday season. But various pet-proofing strategies can ensure holiday decorations and displays aren’t compromised by four-legged friends this season.

Secure the Christmas Tree

Much like other residents of the home, pets may be mesmerized by a glowing Christmas tree. Pets may sniff around the tree or investigate it closely, which can increase the chances that it tips over. That poses a significant safety hazard and underscores the importance of using a sturdy stand. Fastening the tree to a wall, much like one might do with a television that isn’t mounted, adds a further layer of protection from tip-overs.

Block Off The Base Of A Live Tree

Live trees need water to stay green and keep their needles throughout the season. That water could prove enticing to thirsty pets. Drinking water from a tree stand could increase the risk of the tree tipping over and the water could upset the stomach of pets if the tree was treated with pesticides prior to being brought home. When decorating with a live tree, make sure the base of the tree where the water will be is blocked off. A small fence around the tree could keep curious pets away. The room where the tree is located should be locked or inaccessible when pets are home alone.

Inspect And Conceal Light Wires

Wires can become frayed over time, and that could pique pets’ curiosity. Lighting wires should always be inspected prior to decorating and frayed or damaged wires should be thrown away, even if it means replacing lights. If wires are still sturdy, conceal them along the base of the wall using a cable concealer, which prevents pets from chewing on them.

Avoid Lighting Candles

Candles should not be lit in homes with pets. Even candles on shelves that are seemingly beyond pets’ reach can be hazardous, as pets, especially cats, have a way of accessing spaces they seemingly shouldn’t be able to reach. Use electric candles in lieu of traditional ones.

Speak To A Vet About Seasonal Plants And Flowers

Pet owners can speak with their veterinarians before bringing poinsettias, holly and other seasonal plants and flowers into their homes. Some pets could suffer allergic reactions if they eat certain seasonal plants, so it’s best to be on the side of caution and speak to a vet before including live plants and flowers in decorative displays.

Decorating is part of the holiday season. Pet owners must exercise an extra bit of caution to keep their pets and homes safe when decorating during this special time of year.

Adoption Gives Dogs A New ‘Leash’ On Life

“Adopt don’t shop” is a mantra utilized by many organizations devoted to finding loving homes for shelter animals. With thousands of dogs, cats and other companion animals residing in shelters or being fostered until they can find their forever homes, rescue organizations urge the pet-loving public to adopt rather than purchase dogs from private breeders.

Individuals who choose to adopt a dog from a private rescue, humane society, animal shelter, or another welfare group would be wise to follow some guidelines that can help individuals and families find the best matches with their new pets.

“It’s important to be honest with the rescue group regarding, not only what you’re looking for in a dog, such as disposition, energy level, age, and size, but to describe the overall household dynamic,” advises Toni Diamond, founder of Diamond Dogs Rescue, Inc. (www.diamonddogsrescueinc.com), a foster-based rescue with resources in New Jersey and Massachusetts. “This way the rescue can match your needs with the dogs they have available to ensure the best opportunity the placed pet will remain in your home.”

Here are some other tips to consider if you’re thinking of adopting a pet.

· Think about fostering first. If you’re on the fence about whether to take in a dog right now, fostering offers a way to gauge how life can change with a dog in the household. Fostering a dog can free up resources and enable rescues to help other dogs. Many “foster fails” are dogs that foster families adopted themselves because they couldn’t bear to give the dogs up.

· Expect to be vetted. Rescue groups generally do some type of adopter check, which includes an application questionnaire, and may want to visit your home to be sure that it is safe and comfortable for the dog. Expect an adoption fee, as this helps defray the cost of sheltering animals.

· Don’t feel limited by geography. Rescues handle dogs from across the country. Some may even be willing to facilitate travel from one area to another. If you see a dog online that seems to be a perfect fit but is a good distance away, contact the rescue to see what can be done.

· Be patient and open-minded. Rescued animals often have been jostled around a bit, moving from place to place. Expect a transition period for the shell-shocked animal to settle down before judging his or her true personality. It’s possible for rescued dogs to have accidents in a home, act out or be hesitant around people while they learn to trust their new owners.

Adopting a dog can be a great way to add to the family and provide a loving animal with new beginnings.

Foods that Cats and Dogs Should Never Eat

Nutritious diets are essential to long-term pet health. Many well-intentioned pet owners feed their pets foods they believe are nutritious, only to learn that certain foods, even those deemed healthy for humans, can be quite dangerous to dogs and cats.

Cats and dogs metabolize foods and other substances differently from humans. WebMD reports that each year, there are more than 100,000 cases of pet poisoning in the United States. Many of these instances were caused by household substances that may seem perfectly harmless. Medications, cleaning products and certain foods can poison pets. Dogs tend to be at higher risk for food poisoning, particularly because they are less discriminatory with regard to food.

Before caving into the temptation to share snacks with their pets, pet owners should recognize the common foods the ASPCA and other pet welfare organizations list as the most likely to contribute to pet poisonings worldwide.

· Chocolate: Chocolate is accountable for roughly one-quarter of all toxic exposures. Chocolate contains methylxanthines, which are found in cacao seeds. When ingested by pets, methylxanthines can cause excessive thirst and urination, panting, vomiting, diarrhea, abnormal heart rhythm, and seizures. Serious cases can be fatal. Dark chocolate and baking chocolate are especially dangerous for pets.

· Grapes/raisins: Grapes, raisins, sultanas, and currants, whether raw or cooked, can cause kidney failure in dogs. Not all dogs are affected. However, these fruits should be avoided. Symptoms include lethargy, diarrhea and vomiting within 24 hours of consumption.

· Hops: Commonly used for brewing beer, hops have become a greater risk for pets now that home brewing as a hobby or side business has become popular. When ingested, hops can cause a rapid heart rate, anxiety, vomiting, and other abdominal symptoms. Essential oils and tannins in hops also can cause high fever when pets ingest them.

· Macadamia nuts: These nuts can cause depression, vomiting, tremors, and hyperthermia in dogs.

· Milk and dairy: Do not give dogs and cats milk to lap up, and avoid giving them high amounts of cheese and other dairy foods. Pets do not possess significant amounts of lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk. Therefore, diarrhea and digestive upset is likely to occur when pets consume dairy.

· Onions/garlic: These aromatic ingredients are not a good idea for pets, particularly cats. Onions contain an ingredient called thiosulphate, which is toxic to cats and dogs. The ingestion of onions and onion-related foods can cause a condition called hemolytic anemia. This is damage to red blood cells that causes the cells circulating throughout the pet’s body to burst.

· Xylitol: Keep pets away from sugarless gums and candies that contain Xylitol, which also may be used in toothpaste. The substance causes insulin to release in most species, which can lead to liver failure.

Pet owners should be aware that the foods they eat regularly may not be safe for their pets. Always consult with a veterinarian before giving pets foods commonly eaten by humans.

Keep Pets Cool, Comfortable & Safe During Hot Weather

Summer may be a time for vacations and recreational activities for human beings, but pets may not be privy to the same luxuries. Summer recreation may not always include our four-legged friends, as summer heat and other issues can pose a threat to companion animals. As a result, pet parents must make pet safety a priority when the weather heats up.

The Humane Society of the United States says that the summer months can be uncomfortable and dangerous for pets. Temperatures that may be tolerable for adults and children who are dressed accordingly may not be so for animals covered in fur. It’s vital to help pets stay comfortable and safe as summer temperatures heat up. Pet parents also must be aware of particular dangers that go hand-in-hand with summertime activities.

· Practice vehicle safety. It is never acceptable to leave pets in parked cars, even for a minute. Temperatures inside vehicles can rise quickly and considerably in a matter of minutes, even with the windows opened slightly. HSUS says on an 85-degree-day, temperatures inside parked cars can reach 102 F within 10 minutes. Pets can suffer irreversible and even fatal organ damage in that period of time. If you have to run errands, keep dogs and cats at home where they will be more comfortable.

· Stay off of hot asphalt. If you’ve ever walked on the hot sand or an asphalt driveway on a hot day, you understand just how scorching those surfaces can get. Dogs and cats do not have protective shoes to wear, so safeguard the delicate pads of their paws by keeping companion animals off of hot surfaces. Schedule walks in the early morning or late afternoon when temperatures are cooler.

· Schedule a pet grooming visit. The American Veterinary Medical Foundation suggests speaking with your veterinarian to see if it’s appropriate for your pet to get clipped shorter or to be shaved in the summer. But a fur coat can offer protection from the sun, so weigh the pros and cons before taking action. Apply sunscreen to your dog’s skin if he or she has a thin coat.

· Provide a way for pets to cool off. If you’re hot, chances are your pet is hot, too. Offer a means for pets too cool off, such as a wading pool when you are outside. Offer plenty of fresh water. Keep pets who do not enjoy the heat indoors with the air conditioner running on hot days.

· Look for indicators of heat stress. The American Veterinary Association says heat stress is marked by heavy panting, dry or bright red gums, thick drool, vomiting, diarrhea, or wobbly legs. Move pets exhibiting such symptoms to a cool place, drape a damp towel over the animal’s body, rewetting the cloth frequently, and get the animal to the vet as soon as you possibly can.

· Exercise caution in the water. Dogs can get swept away by rip currents just like human swimmers. If you will be boating, invest in a life jacket for your pooch and look for water hazards, such as currents, sink holes, and blue-green algae in lakes and ponds.

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