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Winter and Holiday health hazards for animals

TEXAS: With the arrival of the winter months and holiday season, there are additional health hazards that are of concern for animals; some are potentially fatal. A few of these health risks could be brought into the home inadvertently, thereby increasing a pet’s possibility of exposure. To keep the season safe, protect animals from contact with or ingestion of the following:

1. Antifreeze – this mixture contains ethylene glycol, a product that can cause lethal kidney failure and metabolic acidosis (accumulation of acid in the blood and body tissues) if ingested. It has a sweet taste that attracts animals and can be toxic in small doses (i.e. 1-2 tablespoons can produce toxicity in a medium-sized dog). Antifreeze can be toxic even when diluted in water.At least one brand of antifreeze is available that uses propylene glycol for the active component as an alternative to ethylene glycol. Larger quantities of the propylene glycol-based antifreeze usually have to be swallowed to produce toxicity as compared to ethylene glycol-based antifreeze. Additionally, propylene glycol-based antifreeze does not metabolize in the animal’s system to form products that cause kidney damage; however, it can still cause illness and death via metabolic acidosis.An antidote is available for antifreeze poisoning, but early recognition of ingestion and immediate intensive treatment are imperative for the survival of the animal. The best medicine, though, is to prevent animals from being in contact with this toxic substance by having antifreeze changed by a professional who knows how to properly dispose of it. If individuals change their own antifreeze, they should not drain it into the sewer or leave it setting out in a pan for any amount of time (all it takes is a few seconds for an animal to ingest it). It is worth noting that some snow globes may contain this product as well, so keep them out of reach from your pets.

2. Chocolate – Baker’s or baking chocolate is the form of chocolate that contains a higher concentration of stimulant (the obromine) than either semi-sweet or regular milk chocolate. The extent of toxicity an animal exhibits after consuming chocolate is based on a variety of factors, such as the type of chocolate ingested, the size of the animal, or an animal’s individual sensitivity to chocolate. Some typical clinical signs of chocolate toxicity include excessive excitability, restlessness, increased heart rate, muscle tremors, vomiting, and diarrhea. The last two clinical signs may be transiently present due to an animal consuming any amount of chocolate (i.e., any ingestion of chocolate may cause gastrointestinal upset, but not extensive toxicity). The literature gives a wide range of toxic levels, so a veterinarian should be consulted immediately to discuss the appropriate action to be taken if an animal has consumed chocolate. There is no specific antidote for chocolate toxicity. Animals can be treated by a veterinarian to address any clinical signs they are exhibiting; vomiting may be induced within 2-hours of the chocolate consumption depending on the amount ingested and other factors.

3. Mistletoe – the berry of this plant is the most toxic component, especially if it is chewed instead of swallowed whole. If the berry is ingested in sufficient quantity, it can cause gastrointestinal and neurological signs, including convulsions.

4. Poinsettia – whether or not this plant is toxic has been debated for years. The most recent findings are that it contains no toxic chemical. However, as with any plant that an animal is not accustomed to eating, it can cause diarrhea and vomiting (a protective mechanism to eliminate the foreign substance). Animals tend to be attracted to poinsettias, so it is a good practice to keep these plants out of their reach.

5. Ivy – this plant is not acutely toxic, but it can cause gastrointestinal upset if ingested.

6. Christmas cactus – this plant is nontoxic, but it can cause vomiting and transient diarrhea if consumed.

7. Tinsel – cats in particular are attracted to playing with Christmas tree tinsel. If ingested, it can cause an intestinal blockage or intussusception (prolapsing of one part of the intestine into the cavity of an immediately adjoining part). If indoor cats are present, it would be prudent to avoid using strands of tinsel. It would also be advisable to place breakable ornaments at the top of the tree. An investment in shatterproof ornaments might also be worthwhile.

8. Glow jewelry – dibutyl phthalate is a chemical contained in glow-in-the-dark jewelry, which are popular items at a variety of festivities. Although the chemical may have the potential to cause death via respiratory paralysis, cats generally will only ingest a minimal amount due to its unpleasant taste and the fact that only a small amount of the chemical is present in the jewelry. Cats that have bitten into the jewelry may exhibit heavy salivation, hyperactivity, and aggressive behavior, but they typically recover within minutes. Immediately after a cat happens to ingest this chemical, it helps to feed it small quantities of milk, canned food, or tuna juice to dilute the chemical in its mouth. Wash off any drops of the chemical that might be on the cat’s coat and flush the cat’s eyes with water if there has been ocular exposure. There is no known antidote for dibutyl phthalate; cats that have ingested large quantities should be closely monitored and given supportive treatment if warranted.

9. Cold – the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s Animal Welfare Act recommends that ambient temperature should not drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, especially when sick, aged, or young animals are present. Additionally, animals should always be provided with adequate protection and shelter from the direct effect of wind,rain, or snow. Remember, animals in Texas are not acclimated to cold weather, so they must be protected from extreme weather conditions accordingly.

If you know or suspect that an animal has ingested any of the above items (1-8), immediately consult a veterinarian, animal emergency clinic, or poison control center. The Central Texas Poison Center can be reached at 1-800-764-7661 (1-800-POISON- 1).

Source: San Saba News & Star

Related:

Pet Food Recall (December 2011)

Pets and Toxic Plants, including Poinsettias and Herbs We Cook With for the Holidays

December 16, 2011 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Holidays With Pets, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , | 7 Comments

Ensure Holiday Fun For Your Whole Family Including the Furry and Feathered Members

“Holidays Are Great and Fun To Share With Our Pets, Who Love To Be Part of the Family Activities, As Long As We Avoid the No-No Foods”

thanksgiving-pets-2While giving your pets Thanksgiving leftovers or scraps from the table can be a heartwarming experience for you and an exciting experience for them, it is important to be aware of which Thanksgiving leftovers are pet friendly, and which ones should remain in your fridge and away from your pets’ food dish.

To help you decipher which Thanksgiving leftovers are safe for your pets to eat, we have compiled two lists below — a “safe” list and a “not safe” list — that you can use as a quick reference during your Thanksgiving meal. But be sure to pay attention to the pets mentioned in the lists, and how the food should be prepared; just because something is safe for a dog doesn’t mean it’s safe for a cat.

If you, or your family, eat a food during the Thanksgiving holiday that is not mentioned on the lists below, do some additional research or talk to your local vet about the safety of the food in question.

Thanksgiving Safety Tips For Pets

‘Tis the season for friends, family and holiday feasts—but also for possible distress for our animal companions. Pets won’t be so thankful if they munch on undercooked turkey or a pet-unfriendly floral arrangement, or if they stumble upon an unattended alcoholic drink.

Check out the following tips from ASPCA experts for a fulfilling Thanksgiving that your pets can enjoy, too.

Sage Advice
Sage can make your Thanksgiving stuffing taste delish, but it and many other herbs contain essential oils and resins that can cause gastrointestinal upset and central nervous system depression to pets if eaten in large quantities. Cats are especially sensitive to the effects of certain essential oils.

No Bread Dough
Don’t spoil your pet’s holiday by giving him raw bread dough. According to ASPCA experts, when raw bread dough is ingested, an animal’s body heat causes the dough to rise in his stomach. As it expands, the pet may experience vomiting, severe abdominal pain and bloating, which could become a life-threatening emergency, requiring surgery.

Don’t Let Them Eat Cake
If you’re baking up Thanksgiving cakes, be sure your pets keep their noses out of the batter, especially if it includes raw eggs—they could contain salmonella bacteria that may lead to food poisoning.

Too Much of a Good Thing
Boneless pieces of cooked turkey, some mashed potato or even a lick of pumpkin pie or cheese cake shouldn’t pose a problem. However, don’t allow your pets to overindulge, especially if you don’t normally cook for your pets, as they could wind up with a case of stomach upset, diarrhea or even worse—an inflammatory condition of the pancreas known as pancreatitis. In fact, if your pets have sensitive stomachs, it is best to keep them on their regular diets during the holidays with just some table scraps added to their food.

A Feast Fit for a Kong
While the humans are chowing down, give your cat and dog their own little feast. Offer them rawhide strips, Nylabones or made-for-pet chew bones. Or stuff their usual dinner—perhaps with a few added tidbits of turkey, vegetables (try sweet potato or green beans) and dribbles of gravy—inside a Kong toy. They’ll be happily occupied for awhile, working hard to extract their dinner from the toy. 

The “Safe” List

Cranberry Sauce

While cranberry sauce is safe for most dogs, it has the potential to make them a little wild or give them an upset stomach if they’re not used to fruit or foods high in sugar. So if you want to give your dogs a little cranberry sauce this holiday season, start out slow and see how your dog reacts. Cranberry sauce should also be safe for cats and potbellied pigs, but again, only in small portions.

Green Beans

Safe for cats, dogs, potbellied pigs and guinea pigs, green beans that are low in sodium (try using unsalted ones) can actually be good for your pets when served in moderation. As long as the green beans you have leftover this Thanksgiving don’t have anything extra added (no green bean casserole!) they are pet friendly Thanksgiving leftovers.    

Ice Cream (Dogs Only), a Few Licks of Pumpkin Pie, Cheesecake or Carrot Cake Without Nuts

While it is not a good idea to give your cat, guinea pig, potbellied pig, or any other common pet type ice cream this Thanksgiving, ice cream is safe for dogs to eat in small amounts as long as it contains no chocolate.  A few licks of pumpkin pie, cheesecake or carrot cake without nuts are also fine.

Macaroni and Cheese (Dogs and Potbellied Pigs Only)

As long as you don’t give you dog or potbellied pig too much macaroni and cheese, it is safe for them to eat on occasion, but not all the time.

Mashed Potatoes

As long as you don’t add anything extra to your mashed potatoes (such as cheese, sour cream, or gravy) mashed potatoes should be safe for dogs, cats, and pigs. But again, remember portion control: don’t give them too much, and consider mixing a little bit of mashed potatoes into their dry food instead of giving them mashed potatoes by itself.

Turkey

While leftover turkey can be safe for dogs, cats, and potbellied pigs, make sure that the turkey does not have any bones, and that any excess fat and the skin has been removed. Also be careful about portion control, not giving your pets — no matter how big they are — human sized portions of turkey. It will be very rich for them, and could cause them to be sick if given too much.  If you decide to feed your pet a little nibble of turkey, make sure it’s boneless and well-cooked. Don’t offer her raw or undercooked turkey, which may contain salmonella bacteria.

The “Not So Safe” List

The following foods are not safe for dogs, cats, potbellied pigs, or guinea pigs. Never give the following foods or beverages to your pets:

  • Alcohol of any kind
  • Anything with Caffeine
  • Avocados – especially for birds and cats
  • Bones from Ham, Chicken, or Turkey
  • Candied Yams
  • Casseroles (unless you absolutely know that none of the no-no foods are in them)
  • Chocolate and Cocoa (this includes things like brownies and chocolate chip cookies) and dark chocolate is the worst
  • Jell-O Molds
  • Macadamia Nuts (this includes things like cookies and pies) and go easy on nuts in general
  • Pecan Pie
  • Potato Skins
  • Pork Products because of the nitrates
  • Stuffing (it usually contains onions, which is very harmful to pets)
  • Anything with onions in it  (and garlic should be fed in moderation)
  • Anything with Xylitol in it
  • Grapes or raisins
  • Raw eggs
  • Mushrooms
  • Baby food if it contains onion powder
  • Milk (and American Cheese) can be a problem for some dogs. They can be lactose intolerant like some people.

Poinsettias:

These plants are probably the most popular holiday plant and are easily recognizable by their large red, white, pink, or mottled leaves. These plants also contain a thick, milky irritant sap. In general, it would take ingestion of a large amount of this plant to see possible clinical signs in your pet. Signs could include vomiting, anorexia and depression. The symptoms are generally self-limiting and treatment is rarely needed. Your Vet may recommend limiting food and water intake for 1 or 2 hours if your pet is suspected of becoming sick after ingestion of poinsettias.  Ingestion of poinsettias will not kill your pets, but keeping them out of reach is a good idea; and fake ones might be even a better idea!

 

 Thanksgiving Pet Recipe of the Day

Simple Roasted Organs

(This is a great recipe to make up for Thanksgiving to feed your canine friends… you can substitute chicken for the turkey and add a few turkey scraps at carving time, or just bake the liver and giblets and add the warm turkey as you carve… just go easy on the skin and watch for bones.)

This dish can actually double up as a treat, or healthy topping to your pet’s usual meal. Turkey giblets (hearts, livers and kidneys) are available from butcher shops and many natural food markets – and also come included with most Thanksgiving turkeys!

This recipe is super-simple and just about all pets love it! Since this recipe is cooked, turkey necks should not be used.

Ingredients

Up to 1 lb Turkey scraps, organs/giblets (don’t include bones)

6 tbsp Olive Oil

½ tsp Dried or Fresh Rosemary

1 Clove Garlic, crushed or finely diced (optional)

Preparation 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Arrange the organs on a baking sheet. Slowly pour on the olive and gently shake the pan so that the oil is evenly distributed. Sprinkle on the rosemary and crushed garlic. Place in the oven and cook for about 35 minutes, until golden brown. Cool before serving and refrigerate any leftovers for up to 3 days.

For cats, dice the organs finely with a sharp knife before serving. This technique also works well to create bite-sized training treats that are a little bit different.

By Ask Marion – JustOneMorePet

November 25, 2008 Posted by | Just One More Pet, On The Lighter Side, Pets, Success Stories | , , , , | 2 Comments

No Halloween Boo! Hoos: Says The ASPCA

No Boo! Hoos: Treat Your Pets to a Safe Halloween

That parade of kids, adults—and yes, even pets—in funny outfits is due to arrive at your door next week, bringing all the sweet and scary joys of Halloween! But pet parents, as you carve the jack-o-lanterns and fill those bowls of candy, please be aware that your furry friends may stumble upon dangers you hadn’t thought of.

Warns Dr. Steven Hansen, Senior Vice President, ASPCA Animal Health Services, which includes the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center in Urbana, IL, “Many of our favorite Halloween traditions could pose a potential threat to our companion animals. As pet parents start to make plans for trick-or-treating or costumes, they should be aware of Halloween-related products and activities that can be potentially dangerous to pets.”

The following are just a few precautions you should take:

No Chocolate: Even if your pet has a sweet tooth, ingesting chocolate—especially baker’s and dark chocolate—can be dangerous for dogs and cats, possibly causing vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity and even seizures.

No Sweets for the Sweet: Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar, which leads to depression, lack of coordination and seizures.

Dangerous Décor: Keep wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations out of reach. If chewed, your pet could experience damage to his mouth from shards of glass or plastic, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.

Don’t Play with Fire: Keep your pets away from jack-o-lanterns with lit candles inside—knocking the pumpkin over can easily cause a fire. And curious kittens can get burned or singed by candle flames.

Costume Caution: Please don’t put your pet in a costume unless you know that he or she loves it. Costumes can cause skin irritations, obstruct a pet’s vision or impede his breathing.  And get them used to it slowly ahead of Halloween or the event.

October 24, 2008 Posted by | Animal Rights And Awareness, Just One More Pet, Pet Abuse, Pets | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment