Watch Tip: Easter Traditions Can Kill Pets

Posted on April 23rd, 2011 by Anna Nirva

Watch Tip LogoWeekly watch tip for the week of April 24:

Easter traditions can kill your pets. Easter lilies, Easter baskets, Easter gatherings—all are dangerous! Keep your pets in closed rooms or crates during parties so they do not get into trouble while you are busy. Remember, an over-stimulated pet can bite or scratch your visitors. IMPORTANT: immediately put your potted lilies and baskets high up and out of reach of inquisitive cats and dogs. Instruct your children to hide their baskets in drawers or closets.

The Pet Poison Helpline is fully-staffed and ready for business this weekend!

It’s too bad that cats and dogs don’t come with “warning” labels! If they did, certainly fewer of them would die during the Easter holidays. Keep this number handy if you have pets and plans for a traditional holiday in your home: 1-800-213-6680. This helpline is staffed by board-certified veterinary internal medicine (DACVIM) and emergency critical care (DACVECC) specialists and costs just $35 per call. Easter dangers include:

  • Easter Lilies are deadly to cats if eaten. Even small pieces of plant leaves and flower petals can cause sudden kidney failure and result in death. Do not grow these plants in your yard if you have cats or wandering cats live nearby: Easter, Tiger, Asiatic, Stargazer, and Day lilies. Emergency veterinary treatment is required to save your cat.
  • Easter grass can be deadly to cats if eaten. Cats will swallow strands of Easter basket grass, string, rubber bands, and thread. (They will even swallow needles.) Long strands of grass or thread or string can wind around the intestines, resulting in blockages that cut off circulation or it can “saw” through and cause death to intestinal tissues. Surgery can save your cat if diagnosis is prompt.
  • Chocolate candies and baked goods are toxic, but did you think only to dogs? Guess again. Chocolate is toxic to cats too.  A chemical found in chocolate and cocoa, theobromine, causes vomiting and diarrhea if eaten in small amounts. If your cat or dog eats a lot of it, seizures and heart arrhythmias will result. Immediate veterinary care is required.
  • Sugarless gum and candies sweetened with xylitol are poisonous to dogs. It causes liver failure within days and death can result.
  • Fatty ham scraps can cause digestive upset and pancreatitis in cats and dogs, leading to abdominal pain, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea.

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Watch Tip: Free to a Good Home

Posted on November 27th, 2010 by Anna Nirva

If a friend or family member plans to give away a pet using “free to a good home” ads, you must warn of common “stranger dangers,” which include pets being used as dogfighter bait, puppy mill breeding dogs, research lab victims, or food for pet snakes. Or the pet might simply be neglected and starved by a hoarder.

Lucy, a Give-Away Pet Advertised on Craigslist, became Dogfighter Bait

Her family didn’t want her any more and the craigslist ad worked just fine to get rid of her. Three years later, Milwaukee Animal Control discovered a microchip in a drowned, bleeding, starving, dying dog and called that family. Her name had been Lucy once. The new and old wounds from head to foot revealed her long suffering in dogfighting pits. But the cold, suffering dog was shaking so hard, they could hardly examine them. Read the rest of this entry »

Watch Tip: Help the Hungry

Posted on October 23rd, 2010 by Anna Nirva

Watch for hungry resident dogs and cats in your neighborhood. Look for protruding backbones, ribs, and hipbones before winter coats hide these signs of neglect. Look at every pet you pass. Can you afford to help with an anonymous gift of pet food to the household? Times are hard for so many.

Be an Organization of Just One Person and Change the Neighborhood.

Imagine if you were on a small fixed income and your rent just went up, or you just lost one of your three part time jobs. Your little family includes a dog or a cat or a few of them. How do you cope? Where can you cut expenses? Plus you are pretty sure that nobody really cares about your struggles. Then one day a big new fresh bag of pet food shows up on your porch. Now you know that someone cares! Someone has helped you this month, someone with a heart for animals! What a wonderful feeling. Maybe you can keep your cherished pets after all.

Do you know of a neighbor with pets who is struggling financially? Please think about an anonymous gift of pet food, a gift that may help keep the pets from making a tragic one-way trip to the pound. Remember that in many regressive municipalities, pets who are surrendered by their owners are not required to be kept alive for a mandatory period like stray animals, so they may die shortly after entering. That bag of pet food just might be the gift of life.

Click here to download for free an anonymous greeting card that reads “From my cat to your cat” or “From my dog to your dog.”

Not only can you possibly prevent a needless death, you can help your neighborhood be more neighborly. Your compassionate actions may contribute to a stronger sense of connection to the community for you and your neighbor both. Mahatma Gandhi said “Be the change that you want to see in the world.” Live it.

What is it with these pet food companies? Can’t they handle their products without letting them get contaminated?  Merrick’s previously announced recall on Texas Hold ’ems has been extended. Here is the first part of the official recall notice.

Merrick Pet Care Recalls Texas Hold’ems 10 oz Bag (Item # 60016 Lot 10127 Best by May 6 2012) because of Possible Salmonella Health Risk

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Watch Tip: Driveways

Posted on July 30th, 2010 by Anna Nirva

Weekly Watch Tip for week of Aug. 1:

Watch out for pets on driveways. Driveways are extremely high risk for dogs and cats who are excited to greet homecoming or visiting vehicles. They do not understand that tires will turn sharply. Speed is not the issue—even creeping vehicles run over pets. Older companion animals snoozing on warm driveways will not hear garage doors open or vehicles approach. Injuries are severe and often result in death. Please spread the word.

Watch Tip: Heat Alert

Posted on July 24th, 2010 by Anna Nirva

Watch for dogs who play or run with their owners in hot weather—they can’t regulate body heat by sweating like humans do. Heat stroke kills dogs because they run until collapse. Watch for hard panting, ropey saliva, wobbly movements, red gums and tongue, vomiting, diarrhea. Intervene immediately or the dog could die.

Summer dangers to pets

Frisbee? Fetch? Hiking? Walks on the beach? Dog park afternoons? Happy times with your four-legged friends can end in tragedy for the uninformed.

Dogs—and cats too—can’t expel heat through the skin like humans can. They can sweat through the pads of their feet and by panting. On hot days, these methods are not enough to expel body heat built up by mild or vigorous activity, or by being trapped in hot cars or hot kennels and crates.

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Watch Tip: Chronic Ill Health

Posted on July 16th, 2010 by Anna Nirva

Watch Tip for week of July 18:

Watch for signs of chronic ill health in your neighborhood’s dogs and cats as you pass. Do you see matter streaming from eyes, ears, or noses? Is the pet unusually lethargic? Is the animal very thin with a big belly, indicating parasites? Is the animal attracting many flies?—This is the sign of a maggot infestation in a wound or matted fur, a very urgent condition. Listen for coughs or sneezes. Please make every effort to talk to the owner.

Poor health causes long-term suffering and illness can spread to pets living nearby. Take action.

Learn to confidently recognize signs of illness or poor health conditions to be prepared to help neglected animals. Undertake three analyses: 1-Signs of ill health, 2-Overall condition of the animal, and 3-State of the pet-keeping environment. Take notes. Determine if urgent veterinary care is needed. All of these are common-sense judgments; you should of course be objective and rational and avoid jumping to conclusions, while trusting what you see and hear, and your intuition.

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Watch Tip: Fireworks and Holidays

Posted on July 3rd, 2010 by Anna Nirva

Watch and listen for stray pets who panic when holiday fireworks detonate—they may bolt through traffic or get lost. They might eat live or spent fireworks casings left on the ground. Be alert for violent cruelty to animals during this holiday in particular, when some troubled people become overexcited or aggressive!

Holidays are always high-risk for pets. Be vigilant.

What effects do all holidays have on your household? Holiday event schedules are busy and stressful. Your home might fill up with visitors and special dishes. Entrance doors and gates swing open and shut more often, and with so many distractions, tempting foods may be left out on counters. Spills occur and containers of cleaning supplies appear. New and unfamiliar people visit at odd hours. Interesting (sometimes fragrant) wrapped gifts and packages are sitting out.

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Watch Tip: Watch and Listen

Posted on June 26th, 2010 by Anna Nirva

Weekly Watch Tip for week of June 27:

Listen and watch for pets abandoned in empty homes, apartments, and empty buildings. Continual or persistent cries, barks and whines are signs of dogs or cats needing your help. A dog or cat is likely trapped and suffering. You may be the only one who hears.

My annual vigil for Sunbear starts July 1 … will you join me?

Sunbear’s owner called Sunbear into the laundry room, turned out the light and shut the door. Next to the door he put the 20 lb. bag of Sunbear’s dog food for the family who had casually agreed to adopt him.  That family had changed its mind but communication broke down. And so it began as the front door slammed. Sunbear was trapped in that dark little room without water and food until August 11.

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The FDA just announced a new recall on Pro-Pet Adult Vitamins.  Here’s the body of the announcement:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE –- June 22, 2010 – United Pet Group, Cincinnati, Ohio is voluntarily recalling all unexpired lots of its PRO-PET ADULT DAILY VITAMIN Supplement tablets for Dogs due to possible Salmonella contamination.  The Food and Drug Administration is aware of this recall.

The product was sold nationally at various retailers.  The product comes in 100-count white plastic bottles with a light blue label, and UPC code 26851-01800.  These products are being removed from retail stores and consumers should immediately stop feeding these supplements to their pets.  The affected products are those with expiration dates on or before “06/13”. The expiration date can be found imprinted vertically on the right side of the product label.

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