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Pet Poison Helpline

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012
Poison Prevention Week: Know Your Poisons

Poison Prevention Week is March 18-24 , a good time to check around the house for items that might hurt your pet(s). The Pet Poison Helpline website (@PetPoisonHelp on Twitter) is a great resource and yielded these Top Ten Lists.

The Pet Poison Helpline fields emergency calls from both pet guardians and veterinarians in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean. While the service charges a small fee ($39 U.S.), they have veterinary poison specialists on hand all the time. The information on the website is free.

If your dog or cat eats something poisonous call your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline immediately! The sooner a dog poisoning or cat poisoning is diagnosed, the easier, less expensive, and safer it is to treat your pet.

The Top Ten Dog Poisons

  • Chocolate
  • Insect bait stations
  • Mouse and rat poison
  • Fertilizers (even compost)
  • Xylitol-containing products (i.e., sugar-free gums and candies)
  • Ibuprofen (Advil® or Motrin® in brand name or generic form)
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol® in brand name or generic form)
  • Silica gel packs
  • Amphetamines (such as ADD/ADHD drugs)
  • Household cleaners

The Top Ten Cat Poisons

  • Lilies
  • Topical flea and tick medicine designed for dogs only
  • Household cleaners
  • Mouse and rat poison
  • Paints and varnishes
  • Veterinary non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (Rimadyl®, Deramaxx®)
  • Glow sticks/glow jewelry
  • Amphetamines (such as ADD/ADHD drugs)
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol® in brand name or generic form)
  • Ibuprofen (Advil® or Motrin® in brand name or generic form)

Pet Poison Prevention Week

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

March 18-24 is National Poison Prevention Week. Much about poison prevention is aimed at parents with small children, but don’t for­get your pets. Household pets are naturally curious and often can’t resist smelling or tasting items in the home or yard. Knowing which household and garden items are particularly dangerous to pets can go a long way to ensuring their safety. Here are a few tips:

  • Tidy up your living room. Many things commonly associated with your main living space can poison pets like toxic house plants, potpourri or other frangrance products, chewing gum, or smoke cessation gums.
  • Keep your kitchen garbage can shut with a tight fitting lid or hidden in the pantry. Many human foods like raisins, chocolate, or alcohol are poisonous to pets. Dogs may also try to dig discarded meat bones or raw meat packaging out of the garbage.
  • In the bathroom, keep all medications out of reach. Also, never try to treat your pet with human pain killers as some common human pain killers like acetomenaphin are extremely toxic to pets. In addition, keep all bathroom cleaners locked away. If licked or swallowed, they can cause severe chemical burns.
  • In your yard and garden, keep pets away from areas that have been sprayed with herbicides until dry. Also keep dogs away from fertilizers and other pest control agents. Some that contain blood meal or bone meal can be tasty to dogs.

For more information and tips on keeping your pets safe, visit

SOURCE Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association (PVMA)

10 Thanksgiving Foods Dangerous to Your Dog

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011


What foods should you avoid giving to your dog at Thanksgiving?

What foods should you avoid giving to your dog at Thanksgiving?

Thanks to for this article on keeping Fido safe at Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is a time for family to get together, give thanks, eat wonderful food and then pass out in front of the TV watching football. It’s also a great time for clever dogs to sneak off with the trimmings.

While tossing your dog a carrot or two, or even a piece of cooked turkey here and there, won’t be too harmful, some other Thanksgiving goodies are bad for him.

Here are 10 foods you should not give your dog on Thanksgiving, or any other day for that matter.

1. Bones: It seems counter-intuitive, we know, but bones are bad for dogs. Carmela Stamper, D.V.M., a veterinarian in the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the FDA, said, “Bones are unsafe, no matter what their size. Giving your dog a bone may make your pet a candidate for a trip to your veterinarian’s office later, possible emergency surgery or even death. Make sure you throw out bones from your own meals in a way that your dog can’t get to them.” (more…)

Top Ten Tips for a Pet-friendly Howl-o-ween

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

Trick or Treat!

Everyone likes a little trick-or-treat on Halloween, even the little fur balls in your life. But some trick-or treat activities may not be safe for animals. The ASPCA has several suggestions to help your pets’ Howl-o-ween be fun and safe.

  1. Candy is for trick-or-treaters only. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause problems. If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
  2. Loose candy wrappers, especially those made of aluminum foil or cellophane, can cause intestinal blockage and vomiting. Remind children not to share candy with pets.
  3. Fall decorations often include pumpkins and decorative corn. Animals should stay away from these popular Halloween plants as they may cause upset tummies in pets who nibble on them.
  4. Be sure to keep wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations out of your pets’ reach. If chewed, pets might suffer cuts or burns, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.
  5. Decorative items such as ribbons, streamers, confetti and those stretchy, stringy cobwebs can all be dangerous if ingested by a curious pet.
  6. Use caution if you choose to add candles to carved pumpkins. Pets may knock over a lit pumpkin and cause a fire, or possibly burn themselves. Consider flameless candles.
  7. Pet costumes are quite popular, yet you should dress your dog or cat in a costume only if you know your animal enjoys it. For some pets, wearing a costume may cause stress. For more information on animal costume safety, read our Halloween Costume Safety Tips for Pets.
  8. During trick-or treat hours, all but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room away from the front door. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pets.
  9. If you allow your pet to help with answering the door for trick-or-treaters, take care that at the sight of an open door your pet doesn’t dart outside.
  10. Always make sure your dog or cat has proper identification. If your pet escapes or becomes lost, a collar and tags or a microchip greatly increase the chances that your pet will be returned to you.

Have a safe and happy Howl-o-ween with your pet!

(Adapted from ASPCA web site)

Halloween Costume Safety Tips for Pets

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011


Everybody loves a cute pet in a Halloween costume. Pet costumes are very popular and are gaining more popularity every year.  You can make your own costume, or choose one of the many costumes that are available ready-made. Either way, when it comes to pets and costumes, keep the following in mind to help your costumed cat or dog stay safe.

First, don’t dress your dog or cat in a costume unless you know they enjoy it. For some pets, wearing a costume may cause stress.

If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume doesn’t annoy them. Costumes should not constrict your pet’s movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow.

Be sure to have a dress rehearsal and try on costumes before the big night. If your pet seems distressed, allergic or shows abnormal behavior while wearing their costume, consider letting your animal go au naturale or try a festive bandana.

Look closely at your pet’s costume and make sure it does not have small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that could choke your cat or dog. Also, outfits that do not fit well can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.

Follow these guidelines, and pets and pack leaders should have a safe and fun HOWL-O-Ween!

If you need a little inspiration, take a look at this video of the 2010 Halloween Dog Parade at Thompson Square Park in New York City – one of the larges pet costume parades in the country, and a NYC tradition for over 20 years.

Thomson Square Park 2010 Halloween Dog Costume Parade

Hot Tips for Cool Pets

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Hot Weather Tips for Dogs

We all love spending the long, sunny days of summer outdoors with our furry companions, but caution is due when temperatures rise, warn ASPCA experts.

“Even the healthiest pets can suffer from dehydration, heat stroke and sunburn if overexposed to the heat,” says Dr. Lila Miller, ASPCA Vice President of Veterinary Outreach, “and heat stroke can be fatal if not treated promptly.”

Take these simple precautions to help prevent your pet from overheating. If you suspect your pet is suffering from heat stroke, get help from your veterinarian immediately.

Visit the Vet
A visit to the veterinarian for a spring or early summer check-up is a must. Make sure your pets get tested for heartworm if they aren’t on year-round preventive medication. This is also a good time to be sure your pet is protected from fleas and ticks.

Be Cool
Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot outdoors. Make sure they have a shady place to get out of the sun. Be careful to not overdo outdoor exercising with them, and keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot.

Know the Warning Signs
According to Dr. Lila Miller, ASPCA Vice President of Veterinary Outreach, “Symptoms of overheating in pets include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. They can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees.” Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with older or overweight pets, and those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.


National Dog Bite Prevention Week (Video)

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

May 15-22, 2011 will mark this year’s annual National Dog Bite Prevention Week®. This special week aims to help stop the nearly five million dog bites that happen every year. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is joined by Animal Planet’s Victoria Stilwell, the United States Postal Service (USPS), pediatricians, plastic surgeons and representatives of the insurance industry in offering tips to prevent dog bites.

“Veterinarians recognize, while there are 72 million good dogs in the United States, any dog can bite if it is frightened or feels threatened, even the family pet. Unfortunately, children are most often the victims,” says Dr. Larry M. Kornegay, AVMA president. Bite injuries occur most often among children between ages 5 and 9 years old. In victims younger than 18 years old, the family dog inflicts 30 percent of all dog bites, and a neighbor’s dog is responsible for another 50 percent of these bites.

Victoria Stilwell explained, “Dogs need and want us to provide effective leadership, but the most effective leaders do not simply impose their will on their followers,” says Stilwell. “And I firmly believe the only way to truly ensure that we are successful in achieving the necessary balance with our dogs is by using positive reinforcement and treating them with the same respect that we ask of them. It’s not the breed of the dog that causes the bite, but rather how well the dog is trained and controlled.

To learn more about preventing dog bites, visit to view the AVMA brochure, community guidelines, podcast and video, and to learn more about The Blue Dog Parent Guide and CD, a scientifically validated educational program for preschoolers.

Toxic Plants ASPCA Video

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Dr. Steven Hansen, veterinary toxicologist & ASPCA Senior Vice President, shows you examples of the most common potentially dangerous plants that may be in or around your home.

Your Yard May Be Hazardous to Your Pets

Thursday, March 31st, 2011


Spring is in the air and plants and flowers are in bloom, but you may want to think twice before letting your dog get too close.

Many pet owners don’t realize that some of the most common plants and flowers can be toxic or even fatal to dogs. Even ingesting a small amount of certain toxic plants can cause severe damage to pets.

We must remember that our pets do not know what is, and is not, good for them. I always tell people to think of their dogs as toddlers — they don’t know any better so you must be their eyes and ears. The safest bet is to keep all plants and hazardous materials out of your pets’ reach. (more…)

Ruffwear Polar Trex™ Winter Dog Boots

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

The new Polar Trex™ Winter Dog Boots from Ruffwear protect your dog’s feet on snow and ice and provide better traction on slippery surfaces.