Pet Poison Prevention

It’s National Pet Poison Prevention Week

March 20 – 26, 2016

Pet Poison Prevention

pet poison prevention

Beautiful AND lethal to cats

Managing all the steps necessary to keep our pets safe, healthy and happy can keep us on our toes. That’s one of the reasons we need reminders such as National Pet Poison Prevention Week. There are so many dangers for our pets that it’s difficult to keep up with all of them.

In the Garden

For instance, did you know that for a cat exposure to any part of a Lily can lead to kidney failure?  Don’t feel badly. More than 70% of cat owners don’t know about all the dangers of lilies. While I was doing research for this blog post I was stunned to learn that even exposure to the water in a vase containing lilies can be lethal for cats.

The Pet Poison Hotline has developed loads of information that we can use. They have developed an awareness campaign, No Lilies for Kitties that provides methods we can use to educate ourselves and each other. I especially like their short videos that highlight the most significant information.  I learned that day lilies, tiger lilies and Easter lilies are among the most deadly.

For cats, exposure to any part of the Lily can lead to kidney failure. Although you can start first aid at home, there are no home remedies for the treatment phase. It’s essential that your cat begin treatment by the veterinarian as soon as possible after exposure and in no case more than 18 hours after exposure.  Any more time than that and your cat will have an extremely poor prognosis, most likely resulting in the need to euthanize your cat due to acute kidney failure.

 

 

Along with the Lily there are other plants in the garden and landscape that are poisonous to dogs or cats or both. Be sure to learn about any plants you already have as well as any new plants you are considering. The ASPCA offers a list of toxic and non-toxic plants for dogs, cats and horses.

pet poison prevention

Harwell Family Vegetable Garden

If you grow vegetables that are toxic to cats or dogs you may want to put a fence around that part of your garden. We learned this the hard way one year after Beau and Luke took a romp through our garden while we had the soaker hose on.  Fortunately, the dogs were not hurt, but we decided to protect our garden from being raided by our pets as well as the deer that live in our woods.

Common vegetables found in the garden that are poisonous include onions, garlic and chives.  Although the ripe fruits of the nightshade family are safe for dogs and cats, the plants are not safe. These include tomato and rhubarb leaves and stems and green potatoes and green tomatoes. We even keep the compost bin inside the fenced in area of the garden.

Dangerous ornamental plants include the sago palm, azalea, hibiscus, daffodil, dieffenbachia, geraniums and hydrangeas. Cocoa mulch gives off a chocolate aroma that is attractive to dogs but not safe for them to ingest. Remember that lawn and garden fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides are poisonous to our pets too. Yet another reason to consider organic gardening.

Around the House

The Pet Poison Hotline offers  Preventing-Pet-Poisonings-Infographic (2)that is easy to read and follow. As you walk through your house thinking about pet poison prevention consider these items.

pet poison prevention

3 Hungry Pups Waiting for Peanut Butter

Food: Chocolate, grapes, apple and pear seeds, avocado, onion, garlic, chives, macadamia nuts, caffeine, alcohol, salt, unbaked yeast dough, moldy food and any items containing the artificial ingredient xylitol are poisonous. Even some peanut butter is now sweetened with xylitol so be sure to read the label.

Cleaners:  Laundry and dishwasher soap pods are attractive to pets and dangerous. Oven cleaner, fabric softener, bleach and dryer sheets, rust and lime removers, toilet cleaners and ammonia should all be kept out of reach of our pets. Perhaps you are ready to explore making your own cleaners with far safer ingredients including baking soda and white vinegar. But still exercise caution in storage of these items.

Medications: All prescription and over-the-counter medications should be kept out of reach and sight of pets. We all know how curious they can be. It never ceases to amaze me at what kind of containers and doors determined dogs and cats can open. Be particularly vigilant about medications for the heart and acetaminophen. Whether in human or pet dosages these can be deadly.

Decorative Items: The batteries in our remote control devices are poisonous to our pets.  We need to be very careful with liquid air fresheners and potpourri. Remember our earlier discussion regarding houseplants too. The most dangerous plants are those in the Lily family. Other house plants including asparagus ferns, corn plant, dieffenbachia, cyclamen, philodendron, jade, aloe and pothos are poisonous.

Miscellaneous Items: Often times you will find these items stored in the garage because we use them in or on our vehicles and garden equipment.  These items include anti-freeze, de-icers, windshield cleaners, motor oil, gasoline, kerosene, paint, paint thinner, water softeners and gardening chemicals.


 

We often hear the old adage, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That’s certainly true for pet position prevention. We hope these reminders will keep you and your pets safe as you prepare to enjoy your Spring together.

pet poison prevention

Daisy Mae’s Adoption Day Intro to Her New Yard

It’s a Delicate Subject…but….we all need to pick up the dog poop.

…we all need to pick up the dog poop.

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Not only is it disgusting to step in, but it’s unsanitary. Do you really want your dogs to carry waste back inside your house on their paws? Do you really want to carry it inside on the soles of your shoes? What about your children and their hand to mouth habit? Do you know that dog poop frequently contains E. coli, tapeworms, roundworms, giardia, parvo, salmonella, hookworms and a host of other horrors?  YUCK!!  That’s why …we all need to pick up the dog poop.

 

PICK-UP-POO

Then there is the matter of pollution of our waterways.  Dog waste left in your yard, at the local park or on the trails at Lake Norman State Park will make its way into the water.  According to the EPA the decaying of your pets’ poop creates nutrients that weeds and algae thrive on. These unwanted plants choke out the oxygen and do harm to the fish.

It is really pretty simple to use a scoop in your own yard or doggie waste bags on your walk. The unused waste pick up bags can be tied on your dog’s leash, or carried in your waist pack. You can carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your pocket too. Simply stop when the dog goes potty, pick up the waste with the plastic bag over your hand and turn the bag inside out and tie it shut. Deposit in the nearest public trash can.

earth-rated-poop-bags-300ct

I prefer the scented waste bags because dog poop really stinks, but the important thing is that you always carry pick up bags when you take your dog anywhere and that you regularly pick up your own yard (preferably every 24 hours). By the way, dog poop is not a good fertilizer for your yard so please don’t scatter it with your lawn mower. If you are not physically able to pick up the poop from your yard there are companies who provide this service. Please get that scooping going!!Cool

Author:  Beth Leatherman Harwell
Dog Walkers & More at Coddle Creek, LLC
www.coddlecreekpetservices.com

How to Transition Your Outdoor Cat to an Indoor Cat

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Outdoor Cat

Are you ready to bring your outdoor cat inside to live? Great because outdoor cats, on average, live to age 5 while indoor cats may live into their late teens or early twenties. While you may not be able to transition a feral or barn cat, most cats can successfully make the adjustments. It will take patience and time but can be successfully done.

 

Indoor Cat

Be sure to provide scratching posts and pads for your kitty. To attract the kitty to the scratching post you may want to sprinkle some fresh catnip on it. Cat furniture that is sturdy and stable and has vertical and horizontal angles will be most appealing. Be sure your kitty has some perches where she can survey the outdoors.

 

 

cat scratching posy

cat scratching posy

Cat gets comfortable in litter box

Cat gets comfortable in litter box

Locate her litter boxes away from her food and water bowls because cats are known for not wanting to eat in or near their own bathroom.  You need a litter box on every floor of your house the cat has access to and at least one more litter box than the number of cats you have.
Cats love to play no matter their age so provide safe and fun toys. Furry little mice toys and ping pong balls are great options. Avoid string though because it’s a choking hazard. When you are available to play with the kitty use laser pointers or feathers on a wand to engage your cat. Be sure to put out some paper bags or boxes because most cats love them. And be prepared to share your sink.

 

 

For more information consult The Cat Behavior Answer Book by Arden Moore Catbehaviorcover

or Indoor Pet Initiative of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Ohio State University.

http://indoorpet.osu.edu/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author:  Beth Leatherman Harwell

www.coddlecreekpetservices.com

 

Special Pet Days and Weeks in August

August is steaming hot.  Let’s celebrate the special pet days and weeks in August for a little relief.

dog days of summerdownload
We’ve all experienced the dog days of summer.  We have no idea where the term came from.  Maybe it was because the heat and humidity makes us feel dog tired.  At any rate, we believe every day with our pets is special, but here are more reasons to celebrate those special pet days and weeks in August.  While you are at it, be sure to make some cooling pupsickles for your pets.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month.

This a great time to be sure our pets’ shots are up to date and to consult the the veterinarian about titers.

 Special Pet Days and Weeks in August

August 3 – 9        International Assistance Dog Week

August 15            National Check the Chip Day

August 15            International Homeless Animals Day

August 22           National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day

August 26           National Dog Day

 

Assistance dogs provide a necessary service for children in schools, wounded warriors and folks with hearing or vision impairments.  Without these highly trained dogs, the lives of many people would be barren and bleak.  Micro chipping our pets is a great way to improve the chances of a lost or stolen dog being returned home. That helps to reduce the likelihood of more homeless animals.

Cats are not known for liking to travel. Consider leaving your cat’s carrier out so she can go in and out of it at will.  that will make her trips to the vet a lot less traumatic.  You may also want to consider using a vet office that has separate entrances for cats and dogs or seeking the services of a mobile vet.

So, let’s enjoy the dog days of summer.

Daisy in a Rare Quiet Moment

It is so cold outside that even I, the one and only Daisy Mae Harwell decided that it would feel good to snuggle up in my blankie.

Daisy Mae Getting Warm in her Blankie
I don’t really have a favorite blankie, but I let Mommy think I do.  BOL.

How to “Pill” a Cat

How to “Pill” a Cat

Does your cat need daily medication?  Does little Susie take her pills willingly? cat-sniffing-tablet

 

 

Yeah, that’s what we thought too.  Recently we had a new client who needed medication for an overactive thyroid two times a day.  We surely needed to know how to pill a cat.

Like lambs led to the slaughter, we both bravely tried to administer said meds.  Billy was bitten first.  So up next, your intrepid pet sitter # 2.  The first time I wore thick outdoor gloves and bravely followed the instructions of the kitty parent to pry open her mouth and put pill inside and then massage the side of her neck.  Success!  But all good things must come to an end.  The next morning said kitty hissed at Billy so he left her alone until the evening visit.   I tried to bond with said kitty while she hid out under the end table. So far….so good.  She even allowed me to pet her.  Then her Beagle siblings came out of their crates to greet her.  Still all was well.  Then I made the fateful mistake of trying to brush away a tiny speck of dust…….and she pounced!  Ouch went that sharp canine tooth into the flesh of my hand. Those puncture wounds hurt.  And in my case, caused an infection.  Within two hours you could see the swelling and red streaks.  So, off to the doc for a tetanus shot and an antibiotic shot followed by 7 days of oral antibiotics.

Time to do some research on how to give meds to a cat.  First up a conversation with a long time pet sitter.  She asked how I would feel if a stranger picked me up and tried to shove a pill down my throat.  Now, I GET it!!  Enter her two favorite methods altered slightly by me. Here is our new take on giving pills to cats who own our clients.

Preferred Method #1:  Put the pill in a teaspoon of canned cat food and place in kitty’s bowl.  We will heartily recommend this method to all our clients even if their kitty usually eats dry kibble.  Besides, we learned that kitties need some canned food every day because they don’t naturally drink enough water to keep their little bowels in prime shape.

Preferred Method # 2:  If the medication can safely be crushed and dissolved, we will dissolve it in a small amount of hot water.  Next we will pour some tasty tuna water in the solution and moisten a few pieces of kibble.

Short of those methods we will have to decline clients whose cats need pills.  We don’t want to traumatize any precious fur babies and we don’t ever again want to be bitten by a cat!!

by coddlecreekpetservices on January 5, 2014 at

Pet Death and Grief

Beau the Snow Dog in his prime

Beau the Snow Dog in his prime

Dealing with Pet Death and Grief

 

Losing a beloved pet is so very hard. We are sharing some general tips along with a bit of our journey in hopes that our experiences will be helpful to you.

As a licensed clinical social worker in a local hospice agency I know that everyone’s grief journey is personal and individual. What is right for you may not be right for me. The beauty of the journey is that we each get to make our own choices.

We had no idea how hard it is until last May when our precious Beau was diagnosed with lymphoma. He was just two days short of his 8th birthday when he crossed over the Rainbow Bridge and we had just under two weeks to adjust to the idea. By the time he was diagnosed he was pretty far along. When he vomited every meal for two days it was time to take him to our vet.

The initial impression was that he either had a “dietary indiscretion”, pancreatitis or something wrong with his liver. We were given pain meds and prednisone and strongly encouraged to take him to the specialty vet clinic for an ultrasound. We followed up the next day. When the vet told us that Beau had lymphoma I almost fell to the floor. A co-worker’s Golden Retriever had died from lymphoma less than a year earlier and I knew instantly what was going to happen. They told us that dogs can go into remission from lymphoma with chemo and that chemo is not as difficult on a dog as it is on a human. The goal is remission, not cure. We chose to manage the remainder of Beau’s days with comfort directed care. For us that was the right decision. We would have felt selfish to put Beau through any amount of discomfort. For others, we know the decision to treat is the right one. Neither of us can stand in judgment on the other.

While at the specialty clinic I went into the ladies room and sobbed as quietly as I could. That night we invited Beau up on the bed with us. As I tried to go to sleep my mind and heart kept going to the sadness until once again my body was wracked with sobs. I sobbed so hard and so loud that Beau got off the bed never to get on it again.

We strongly advocated for all the comfort measures possible for Beau and felt that we had done for him the best we could do. I dropped out of training for my first half marathon to spend more time with him. We took him on car rides, to our favorite restaurant, for one last hike at Lake Norman State Park and on lots of hikes in our woods. We took video and still pictures of him. And we told him endlessly how much we loved him.

Beau at the restaurant at the lake

Beau at the restaurant at the lake

He declined much more quickly than we had anticipated. It was torture watching him try to poop and not be able to. We called the vet and learned that canned pumpkin helps with constipation.  So we fed him canned pumpkin. Next he lost his appetite (he was a large Brittany who weighed 50 pounds and loved to eat). We tried everything except standing on our heads to get him to eat. We did learn that he liked cottage cheese and plain Greek yogurt. Who knew??? But what he ate at one meal was untouchable at the next meal. We bought very expensive highly palatable canned dog food and sometimes he ate it and sometimes he did not. We cooked veggies and sometimes he ate them and sometimes he did not. Once again we called the vet; this time about his poor appetite. The vet recommended that we back off on his pain meds. But when we did that he just shook from the pain.

Meanwhile I had been researching cures for cancer in dogs along with searching for vets who made home visits for the purpose of euthanasia. We did not want to go to the vet’s office to “put him down.”   While I researched these items Billy dug the grave in our woods. On Beau’s final night with us I looked into his eyes and told him what a good boy he had always been. I told him how much we loved his desire and need to run and be independent. And I told him we would not let him suffer anymore. I told him that I would talk to his Daddy the next day and we would let him go.

Beau's last day

Beau’s last day

On Beau’s last day with us he went on a hike with his Daddy and brother Luke in the woods. We had called the vet (we chose Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice for Beau) and made an appointment. We let Luke wait inside the house and we went outside where Beau was hanging out under his favorite tree next to his wading pool. That is where we said goodbye to him. We were there holding his paw, stroking his head and telling him how much we loved him during his final moments on this earth. We let Luke come out to say goodbye and let Luke watch us wheel Beau in our wheelbarrow to his grave. We laid him to rest with a blankie, a tennis ball and a dog cookie (three of his favorite things). As always Beau was good for a laugh. We had a large tarp under him and used that to lift his body from the wheelbarrow into the grave. As we slipped the tarp out from under him he rolled over and over into the grave. Only our thunder-chasing Beau could do something like that. We covered him with landscape cloth because Daddy could not stand to throw dirt on his face. Together we shoveled the earth over him and piled rocks to mark the grave. It is odd, I am not a grave visitor. But I visit Beau’s grave frequently.

At several points during this process I found myself feeling guilty for feeling his loss so intensely……..maybe more so than even when my parents died. Now don’t get me wrong. I grieved mightily for both my parents, but never did cry. In searching for answers to these strange feelings I discovered other writings that suggested it is not abnormal to grieve so intensely about our pets. After all, they love us unconditionally and never do anything to hurt us intentionally. We tell them things we might not tell humans. They bring laughter to our lives every day. I felt better with those explanations.

Fortunately the intensity did not last nearly as long as my grief over my parents and my healing journey has been peaceful and strong. I still miss Beau every day and know there will never be another dog like him. I visit his grave whenever I want, look at his picture daily and stroke his fur and collar whenever I want.  I talk about him with my husband and Luke.  And I tell our two new rescues Daisy and Trooper all about him.  Poor dogs; they probably have a complex after hearing so much about Beau!!  These are the things that have worked for us.  We hope the tips listed below will be of help to you on your grief journey.

1.  Talk to your pet and tell him how much you love him
2.  Tell your pet goodbye
3.  Keep your pet’s remains in an urn or bury her body where you can visit
4.  Keep a picture and other mementos (we have a clay paw print, a swatch of his fur, his      picture and his collar)
5.  Talk to and with others who have lost a beloved pet
6.  Go on regular walks where you and your fur-baby used to walk
7.  Consider adopting another pet in his honor (we adopted Daisy Mae and now are fostering Trooper with a plan to adopt him)
8.  Volunteer to walk dogs at your local shelter
9.  Volunteer for a pet rescue organization
10. Advocate with your state and federal representatives for the elimination of puppy mills and the elimination of breed specific bans
11. Advocate for the end of gas chambers for dogs and cats in local shelters
12. Contribute to funds for low-cost spay and neuter programs to end pet over-population
13. Advocate for the end of lab experiments on dogs
14. Our favorite one is to start a pet related business. Our loss led us to this one and now we get to play with numerous cats and dogs on a regular basis. Now that is a win-win situation!

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The Joys of Off Leash Walks

In September we had the opportunity to participate in a “walk-about” with a whole lotta Springers and a few wannabee’s.   The occasion was a fund-raiser for the NC Chapter of the English Springer Rescue America (ESRA) group.  As members of this group and the proud owners of Springer Luke and wannabee Daisy (our lovely Brittany) we decided it would be a fun activity to participate in.  And were we ever right!    It was so much fun seeing all those Springers in one place that a few short weeks later we brought another Springer into our household.  But more about sweet Trooper another day. today we want to focus on the joys of off leash walks.

So just what is a walk-about?  Loads of fun, that’s what.  We gathered in a fenced in compound of several acres containing a few out buildings, a huge open field, woods and joy oh joy a POND!  A local trainer was there to give us guidance as we gathered in a large circle in the open field and took the leashes off our dogs.  Slowly they began to mill about and explore.  Just as the trainer had told us, our dogs “checked-in” with us from time to time as they explored the area and each other.  We wound around through the woods to find the pond where the more adventurous pups dived in for a swim.

Billy & Beth 038

We learned a lot that day about how different dogs interact without the constraints of leashes.  Noted behaviorist Patricia McConnell has lots to say about that.  It was a beautiful sight to behold.  We came home inspired.

We are very lucky in that we own five acres just outside the town limits of our little town.  Our dogs have lots of opportunities to run free within the confines of half of our acreage while wearing their collars for the electronic fence.  But after this experience we began taking them for more off leash hikes through our woods and the private drive owned by our neighbors.  Luke and Daisy are gaining in confidence with every off leash walk.  This makes us wonder though, just where can the average dog and his human go for off leash walks?  We are not great fans of dog parks and most municipal, state and federal parks require leashes.  So where do your pups take you for off leash walks?  We are eager to learn.

Pet Safety at Halloween

cute-halloween-dog               With smart planning, Halloween can be a barrel full of fun and safe treats for pets and humans.

Halloween is loads of fun. However, joy can turn to tragedy if simple precautions are not taken to ensure the safety of your pets.

“Pets are curious by nature,” said Dr. Steve Hansen, a board-certified veterinary toxicologist and senior vice president of The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Hansen, whose department also includes the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center, asks pet parents to be mindful of their pets this fall.

“Thinking about your home from your pet’s point of view will help ensure everyone has happy and safe holidays,” Hansen said. “Pets have the ability to get into everything, especially during the holidays when there is more to see and do.”

To ensure a happy and safe Halloween for you and your pets, Dog Walkers & More at Coddle Creek, LLC recommends that pet owners be cautious of the following:

Ringing door bells and scary costumes  The constant chatter and squeals are upsetting to some pets.  If your dog or cat is skittish, confine them to a bedroom with the door shut and provide an interactive toy to keep them occupied.

Pet Costumes  Chances are Snoopy and Snuggles will not think a costume is very cute.  You know your pet better than anyone else so assess his comfort level.  You may need to take the costume off after the photo opportunity.  Be sure your pet will not overheat, the costume doesn’t have any dangly pieces that can easily be chewed off, and your pet can still breathe, meow and bark.

Escape artists Sometimes our best efforts are not enough and a pet gets out the door.  Make sure Fluffy and Rover are always wearing collars with identification.  If you have a microchip (we heartily recommend this) be certain you have registered with the microchip company and keep the information up to date.

Tricksters  Keep your pets indoors on Halloween even if that is not your normal custom.  Some adolescent tricksters think it is funny to scare your pet.  Funky costumes can freak out your pet even if not intentional.  Black cats are especially at risk on the weekends before and after Halloween as well as the actual day.

Candles  The glow of candles inside pumpkins is festive. But curious cats and dogs can easily be injured or create a fire hazard.  Be sure to keep a barrier between your pets and lighted decorations or use battery powered lights instead.

Dark and baker’s chocolate While milk chocolate is not poisonous, it will cause your pet to have an upset stomach.  On the other hand, dark chocolate and baker’s chocolate contain high levels of theobromine and caffeine.  Animals are extremely sensitive to both and ingesting either type of chocolate could be fatal.

Xylitol This sugar substitute causes a dog’s blood sugar to drop quickly.  This poisoning can be treated, but causes liver failure if not treated properly.

“Healthy treats” Some people choose to hand out grapes and raisins as an alternative to all the candy.  But be aware that grapes and raisins are extremely toxic to cats and dogs. Ingestion of these substances can lead to kidney failure for your dog or cat.  We don’t even want to think about what could happen with chocolate covered raisins!

Candy wrappers Your pets will not unwrap treats first and those foil and cellophane wrappers can cause an intestinal blockage.

It pays to plan ahead. Remind your children that pets’ digestive systems are easily upset or   compromised by food items humans can safely ingest. Be sure to have a ready supply of the treats your cats and dogs like and are accustomed to eating.  Remember to meet the needs of your cats and dogs for interactive play, attention, brushing and loads of walks for your dogs so they will be calm before the potentially frightful night begins

If your pet ingests any potentially harmful product, call your vet or a local emergency animal  hospital immediately. Other alternatives include the ASPCA Animal Poison Control (888) 426- 4435 for a fee of $65.00 or the Pet Poison Helpline 1-800-213-6680 for a fee of $39.00.

Dog Walkers & More at Coddle Creek, LLC offers pet owners these helpful hints to keep pets out of danger, while still enjoying the food, fun and festivities that accompany Halloween.