Announcement: Household Chemicals Toxic to Dogs

What’s He Into Now?

Household Chemicals Toxic to Dogs

Many items that we use every day in our homes can be dangerous and poisonous to our furry companions. Without knowing what they are, we can be putting our dogs in danger of severe illness, even death. The following is a partial list of substances that should be kept far from the reach of our dogs and other neighborhood animals.

Antifreeze, containing ethylene glycol, produces increased thirst and urination, vomiting and diarrhea, seizures, panting, loss of appetite, acute kidney failure and possibly death. As little as 2 ounces of anti-freeze can prove fatal to a medium-sized dog within 24 to 48 hours. If you suspect your pet has lapped up any antifreeze at all, consider this a veterinary emergency and get her to your veterinarian immediately.

Because of the theobromine, a type of stimulant found in cacao shells, cocoa bean mulch can be toxic to your dog if ingested. It results in restlessness, hyperactivity, panting, vomiting and diarrhea, irregular heart beat, seizures, coma and eventual death if enough is eaten. 

DEET, or N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide, found in insect repellents, was originally developed by the US Army as a pesticide to use during jungle warfare. It can cause tremors, over excitement, vomiting, and seizures if your dog eats any of it. It can also cause skin irritation if it gets on your pet’s coat and skin.

Acids and alkalis, such as those found in bleach, drain cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners,  and batteries, can result in burns on your dog’s tongue and gums, drooling, holes in the esophagus, stomach, and intestinal tract, severe abdominal pain, sepsis, and eventual death. You need to keep these products locked safely away from both pets and children.

Citrus oils, such as linalool and limonene, found in candles, mosquito deterrents, and room fresheners, produce weakness, drooling, tremors, depression, ataxia (the inability to walk correctly), low blood pressure, fevers and possible death.

Human pain medications, including aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen, should never be fed to dogs, unless recommended by a veterinarian. This includes products containing those medicines, including stomach gas reducers and certain antacids. These medicines trigger loss of appetite, bloody vomit, drooling, stomach ulcers, intense pain and drunken behavior.

Petroleum products, including gas, motor oil, kerosene, turpentine, paint thinner, and lighter fluid, result in tremors, breathing problems, coma, seizures, vomiting, respiratory failure and even death if not treated promptly after you dog ingests them. The old farmer’s remedy of treating mange with motor oil has long been proven ineffective, and can also kill your dog.

Mothballs, containing the chemicals naphthalene and dichlorobenene, are toxic to your dog, and if ingested, cause serious illness. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, damage to the liver, blood cells, and kidneys, brain swelling, seizures, coma, and even death. If your dog eats mothballs, you should consider this a veterinary emergency and seek immediate veterinary care.

Other toxins found in your home that can make you pet ill or even cause death include lawn fertilizers, the lead found in paint and golf balls (also responsible for intestinal obstructions), pine oils found in cleaning products, poisonous pest baits manufactured with arsenic, warfarin, and strychnine, and pennies made after 1982 that contain large amounts of zinc.

Note: If you suspect your pet has eaten any of these products or chemicals, please note the amount ingested and contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

Announcement: People Food That Can Harm Your Dog

What Did He Just Eat?

People Foods That Can Harm Your Dog

While chocolate, avocadoes, and macadamia nuts may sound like good food to you – allowing your dog to have a little nosh on those foods can not only make her sick, it can be fatal if she decides she likes those treats and goes for more. Avoid the following foods when preparing a homemade diet or giving your dog treats:

Yeast Dough

Raw yeast dough can rise in your dog’s stomach, causing painful gas in the intestinal tract, possible blockages and ruptures. Once the dough has risen and is fully cooked, you can give your pet small bites of bread as long as the treats don’t constitute more than 5 to 10 percent of his daily caloric intake.

Grapes and Raisins

According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, grapes and raisins are known toxins in dogs, having caused numerous cases of poisonings, even though veterinarians have yet to pinpoint the specific toxin involved. Dogs typically experience diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy and eventually kidney failure that can lead to death. While many dogs can eat the occasional grape without incident, the ASPCA recommends never feeding your pet a large amount and NEVER feeding raisins, as even small servings of raisins have been linked to toxic reactions.

Onions, Garlic, and Chives

These vegetables and herbs can cause intestinal distress and lead to hemolytic anemia, a disorder of the red blood cells that can affect your dog’s spleen, liver, and lymph nodes. While cats are more affected than dogs, any animal eating large quantities of these particular foods, or their associated powders, is susceptible.

Chocolate, Coffee, Caffeine

Methylxanthine, a type of stimulant, found in chocolate and coffee can cause severe digestive and neurological problems when ingested by your dog. Both theobromine, found in chocolate, and caffeine, found in coffee, are considered classes of methlyxanthine, and can induce vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. The darker and less sweet the chocolate, the more dangerous it is for dogs.

Macadamia Nuts

The macadamia nuts, commonly used in cooking and baking, can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, muscle spasms, and increased temperature in your dog. Symptoms usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and last approximately 12 to 48 hours.

Avocado

The fruit, seeds, leaves and bark of the avocado can cause severe diarrhea and vomiting in your dog, and can be especially harmful to pets of the smaller breeds. The avocado contains persin, a fungicidal toxin similar to a fatty acid that, while generally harmless to humans, has negative effects on dogs.

Eggplant

The skin, fruit, and seeds of the eggplant contain toxins that can cause severe diarrhea, vomiting, tremors, seizures, and heart arrhythmias in your dog. The seeds are particularly harmful as they contain cyanogenic glycosides that can result in cyanide poisoning.

Alcohol

Dogs absorb alcohol quickly and are prone to toxic reactions including diarrhea, vomiting, central nervous system depression, tremors, breathing difficulties, decreased coordination, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death. Never give any form of alcohol to your dog, including the kind found in certain food products.

Milk and Milk Products

While milk and its by-products, such as cheese, butter, and ice cream, are not necessarily considered toxic to dogs, canines are lactose intolerant and feeding these foods to your dog can cause intestinal distress, including vomiting and diarrhea.

Salt

Just like it does in humans, eating excessive amounts of salt can cause excessive thirst, increased urination, and possibly sodium poisoning in your dog. Too many salty foods result in symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, elevated body temperature, seizures and even death.

Note: If you suspect your dog has eaten any of these foods, please note the amount ingested and contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

Announcement: Winter Care for your Dog

 8 Ways to Keep Our Pets Safe and Healthy

Like humans, the cold weather can affect our dogs in ways we might not imagine. With the cold months upon us, it is imperative that we take extra precautions to keep our family dogs warm, protected, and healthy. 

During the cold winter months, be mindful of the time your dog spends outdoors. Don’t leave your dog outside for extended periods and bring her in if she gets wet or starts to shiver. Shivering means that her body temperature is lowering and the first sign of hypothermia. 

When your dog is inside, allow her to sleep on warm blankets or pads if she stays in a crate or on uncarpeted floors. Keep her bedding and feeding areas away from drafts and take her to a veterinarian if you notice any symptoms of respiratory illness, such as coughing, sneezing or a runny nose. Just like humans, dogs can get colds. 

Supplemental heat sources can burn your dog if you don’t take precautions. Portable heaters should be kept out of her reach, and all fireplaces need to be screened so that she doesn’t get injured by flying ashes. 

Keep her well groomed so that her healthy fur helps insulate her against the cold. Short-haired dogs – or those with coarse coats – have a tendency to feel the cold more than long-haired breeds, so consider purchasing a sweater or coat for your pet to wear when outside. If she gets wet from the rain or snow, use a blow dryer set on medium heat or a towel to dry her off. 

Make sure the hair is trimmed from around her toes and foot pads to facilitate snow and ice removal. You will need to rinse her feet with warm water if she walks on any rock salt used to melt the ice on sidewalks. Rubbing a small dab of petroleum into her pads softens them and prevents cracking in the dry cold. 

If your pet spends a lot of time playing outdoors, or is a working hunting or herding dog, plan on feeding her more calories during the cold weather to keep her body temperature regulated. It takes more calories in cold weather to stay warm for animals as well as humans. Also provide plenty of fresh water. Licking ice or eating snow do not compensate for a lack of water. Dehydration and a lowering of her core body temperature will result. 

Keep your dog away from any suspicious liquids during the winter, particularly any antifreeze that collects on driveways or roadways. Although it tastes and smells good to dogs, the propylene glycol in antifreeze is highly poisonous and can send a dog into kidney failure within 24 hours of ingestion. 

Knowing these handy tips and suggestions for your canine companion can keep her safe and in good physical shape until spring. 

 

Announcement: Dogs and Chocolate

How Serious Is The Risk?

 

Most dog owners know that chocolate can make their pets sick. But how serious is the risk? And what can we do if we suspect our pets have gotten into chocolate treats?

The reason chocolate is poisonous to dogs is because of a chemical compound called theobromine, related to caffeine and contained in the cocoa used to make chocolate. While theobromine causes humans to get a slight buzz from eating chocolate that lasts for a relatively short time, your dog’s body does not metabolize the chemical at the same rate. After 18 hours, half of the theobromine a dog ingests is still in his system creating problems.

Even small amounts of chocolate can cause diarrhea and vomiting in your dog. Toxic amounts can result in tremors, high blood pressure, hyperactivity, rapid heart rate, seizures, respiratory failure, and cardiac arrest.

So what is a toxic amount of chocolate for your dog? That depends on the amount of cocoa the chocolate contains.

Unsweetened baker’s chocolate contains about 10 times the amount of theobromine found in milk chocolate and more than twice the amount found in semi-sweet chocolate. White chocolate that is made with little to no cocoa had very tiny amounts of the chemical.

According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, one ounce of milk chocolate per pound of body weight is potentially lethal. And dark chocolate is potentially much worse. Merck reports that dogs have died having ingested as little as one-third of an ounce of dark chocolate per 2.2 pounds of body weight, and, at the least, have suffered serious toxic reactions. 

This means that 20 ounces of milk chocolate, 10 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate, and only 2¼ ounces of baking chocolate can kill a 22-pound dog.

If you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate, you need to consider this an emergency and contact your veterinarian immediately. Your vet may suggest that you induce vomiting to keep as much theobromine as possible from entering your pet’s system — if your dog isn’t vomiting on its own. You can do this by giving a solution of one-to-one water to hydrogen peroxide down your pet’s throat, or having it swallow syrup of ipecac. If that is not an option, your veterinarian can induce vomiting in the clinic with a dose of intravenous morphine.

While there is no specific antidote for chocolate poisoning, your veterinarian will most likely want to place your dog on intravenous fluids along with drugs to protect the heart and limit any possible seizures. Getting immediate veterinary care can save your dog’s life.

**NOTE:  The popular cocoa shell mulches used for landscaping can also pose a serious risk to dogs if ingested. Because manufacturers of the mulch are not required to warn customers of the potential danger to dogs, there is no way to know if the mulch you buy has had the theobromine removed.

Announcement: Teaching Your Dog to Come

Basic Training, Part 4

Teaching Your Dog to Come

The final part of the basic training of any dog is teaching her to come when called. Whether she’s playing with her doggy friends at the dog park or you’re asking her to come get a treat in a quiet, dignified manner, getting her to immediately respond and approach you when you command is necessary for her safety and your peace of mind.

Once your dog is sitting, lying down, and staying in place when you ask, go back to attaching a long lead onto her collar or halter. Ask her to “Stay” as you would normally, then back away a few feet and stop, still holding onto the lead.

Call her name, saying “Come” in a kind, but firm tone, and give her a treat when she responds. If she doesn’t respond immediately, pull on the lead gently to make her come to you, then treat her.

At this point, ask your dog to sit, lie down, and stay, and you back even further away. Stop, call her saying “Come,” then treat her when she responds. Every time she doesn’t come when called, pull gently on the lead until she answers.

Continue training this way, expanding the distance between your dog and yourself with every session. You may have to reinforce your teaching by starting each new session closer than you ended the previous one, but that is to be expected. As in all other training, don’t spend more than 20 minutes at a time teaching your dog a new trick.

As you become more and more confident that your pet is going to listen and respond to every part of the “sit, down, stay, and come” routine, you can begin to remove the lead and train without using it. Don’t attempt to take off the lead unless you are in your home, a fenced yard, or you have installed an in-ground dog fencing system and you know your pet cannot get away from you. 

 

Announcement: Teaching Your Dog to Stay

Basic Training, Part 3 – Teaching Your Dog to Stay

 

Now that your dog has learned how to sit and lie down when asked, teaching her to stay in one place without moving can provide you a measure of security that she won’t run off when she’s out in your yard, and she won’t be grabbing for her food dish when it’s time for dinner.

Attach a long lead, one that is approximately 15- to 20-feet in length, to your dog’s collar or halter.

Command her to sit, then lie down in front of you, and make sure all of her attention is focused on you.

Once she is lying down, put the flat of your hand in front of her face in a “stop” gesture, and say the word “Stay,” in a kind, yet firm tone.

Back slowly away from your pet, keeping your hand in the “stop” gesture until you are standing approximately 2 to 3 feet away from her. If she stays without moving, go quickly back and give her a treat. 

If she moves to come toward you, go back to your original position, ask her to “Sit” and go “Down,” and start over. Do not give her a treat if she moves.

Once your dog is staying at that distance consistently, begin to gradually move further away every time you command her to “Stay.” Remember to keep using the flat of your hand and the tone of your voice to ask her to pay attention to what you are wanting.

Train at each distance until she “stays” every time, then move away during the next training session. You may need to occasionally go back and repeat a training session at a previous distance as a refresher. 

As in the other training sessions, only spend 20-minutes increments teaching her this new command. Use her dinnertime to reinforce this training by not placing her food dish in front of her until she has successfully stayed in one place for 5 seconds. 

Announcement: Teaching Your Dog to Lie Down

Basic Training, Part 2 – Teaching Your Dog to Lie Down

Once your dog is sitting every time you ask, teaching her to lie down on command needs to be next on your agenda. A well-mannered dog that sits and lies down on command is a dog that will not jump on strangers or grab at food, treats, and toys.

While holding a treat in your hand, ask her to sit, making sure her eyes are on your face and you command her full attention.

Hold the treat directly in front of her nose and lower your hand to the floor. Say the word “Down” in a kind, but firm tone as you drop your hand. You may have to kneel or crouch close to the floor to make this move effective.

At this point, your pet should lower her head and drop her shoulders to follow the treat. If she doesn’t, repeat the gesture using your vocal command, and gently push down on her shoulders with the other to show what “Down” means.

When she lies down, give her the treat and pet and praise her. Make this a consistent part of your training – ask, reward, and praise.

Allow her to get up, then repeat the “Sit” and “Down” commands until she is responding on her own. At some point, you can slowly begin to withdraw the treats when she begins to react without them.

Practice this part of your training every time you want to give her a treat. As when you were teaching her to sit, only pursue this part of her learning in 20-minute increments. 

 

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