Although we love to take our pets everywhere with us, leaving your dog or cat inside a car in the summer can be deadly. Temperatures inside a car can quickly climb to more than 120 degrees-so it is best to leave them at home if you will need to be in shopping or doing other activities that require you to leave them alone in the parked car. We always encourage exercise outdoors, but be careful not to overexert your pets, especially older dogs or dogs that may not be well conditioned. Stop frequently if they are panting, and provide plenty of water on hikes. Make sure your outdoor pets have plenty of shade from the sun and fresh water at all times-non tip bowls are best! Watch for the warning signs of heat stroke such as anxiety, panting, rapid heart rates, vomiting and lethargy or confusion. If you see these signs, you may spray your pet with cool water or immerse him/her. Call a veterinarian immediately, as further treatment such as IV fluids may be necessary to avoid organ damage.
Fourth of July, Fireworks and Thunderstorms
Many pets, especially dogs, experience much anxiety due to fireworks and thunderstorms. The best advice is to plan ahead to help your pet overcome these fears. There are a variety of methods for training your dogs to learn not be afraid of loud noises. We recommend using a combination of desensitization, using CD’s of scary noises played at low levels repeatedly, increasing volume over time, while comforting your pet by feeding, stroking him or her, etc. Another very useful tool is the DAP dog pheromone sprays (we have cat pheromone sprays too) which are available at our clinic and which can be sprayed on bedding, crates, etc. We also have a natural herbal/vitamin supplement called Comfortis which has been very helpful for many of our patients for many types of stressful situations. Lastly, there is some evidence that “swaddling” your dog with a very snug t-shirt can help a great deal. There are even “thunder-shirts” available on the internet! As a last resort, we can discuss a variety of anti-anxiety medications & sedatives that may help for short or long term anxiety conditions.These medications must be prescribed by a veterinarian, and often bloodwork must be drawn to check your pet’s organ functions to make sure it is safe to use the medicine for your individual pet-some older pets or animals with heart conditions cannot tolerate sedatives. We require a thorough physical examination on all pets before prescribing these medications. We would love to set up an appointment to discuss all these options with you and give you literature on the many different options to best help your pet not be startled by the fireworks!
Toxic Plants (Inside and Outside)
It is beyond the scope of this article to list all toxic plants, and we recommend consulting a local plant nursery for questions about specific plants but some common ones that we and the poison centers often receive calls about are:
These are especially toxic to birds-may cause fluid around heart, respiratory distress and death.
All parts of plant are toxic and cause acute kidney failure.
Castor Beans and Precatory Beans
These beans are very toxic, a single bean can kill a dog.
All parts can cause liver and GI disease, but seeds are the worst.
Diffenbachia, Dumb Cane, Caladiums, Calla Lilies, Philodendrons
All these are very irritating to the mouth and can cause swelling of tongue which may interfere with breathing.
Bulb, plant or flower can cause GI upset, convulsions, and heart arrhythmia
Can causes heart arrhythmia, GI upset, and weakness
Cherries and Apricots
Stems and leaves especially when withering, have cyanides and cause shock.
Can cause GI upset, salivation, weakness, and difficulty breathing.
Can cause GI upset.
Kalanchoe (Lowering succulent)
GI upset and heart arrhythmia.
Severe GI upset, CNS depression, slow heart rate, and weakness
Irritating to mouth, GI upset, but in small amounts not as toxic as many other plants.
Rhododendron and Azaleas
GI upset, central nervous system and cardiovascular collapse, weakness
Fertilizers, Snail Bait, Plant Foods and Some Lawn Herbicides
These can be toxic to your pet. Be sure to read the labels on the items listed above to see how they would effect your animals.
This is only a partial list. Click here to check out other plants to see if they are safe for your animals.