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Hazards to Pets

Toxins/Poisons

  • Laundry and dishwasher detergent pods are dangerous to pets. When a pet bites into a pod, the detergents are forcefully expelled and may be easily aspirated or swallowed, often in large and concentrated amounts.
  • Make sure to keep Halloween candy out of your pets’ reach. All chocolate (especially dark chocolate) can be dangerous or even lethal for dogs. Gum and candy often contains xylitol (an artificial sweetener), which is also poisonous.
  • Avoid a visit to the veterinary emergency hospital during the holiday season! Keep pets away from the kitchen, don’t let friends and family feed them and prevent access to the trash.
  • The Thanksgiving foods most dangerous to pets include: grapes and raisins, xylitol (an artificial sweetener), fatty table scraps, bones and turkey legs, onion, leeks, chives, garlic, unbaked yeast bread dough and alcohol.
  • Make sure mistletoe and holly berries are out of reach for your pet(s). They can cause gastrointestinal upset (vomiting, nausea, diarrhea), cardiovascular problems and lethargy.
  • Lilies even in small amounts can be lethal for cats. They are attracted to their smell, taste and texture. The petals, leaves, stems and pollen are very poisonous. If you suspect your kitty has ingested any part of a lily get her to the vet immediately.

Summer hazards

  • Heat stroke can become very dangerous and can be costly to treat if not caught early. To help prevent heatstroke, give your pet access to shade, a fan, or air conditioning and plenty of fresh water.
  • Resist the urge to take your dog(s) to Independence Day festivities. Instead, keep them safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home.
  • Noise from fireworks are a problem for many cats and dogs. If you anticipate your pet having a problem with noise on July 4th, please call our office to discuss solutions.
  • Pets can become dehydrated when their body fluid levels drop to less than normal. Fluid loss can be due to overheating in hot weather or from vomiting or diarrhea, especially in puppies.
  • A common problem in dogs that go to the beach is ingestion of sand. Ingestion is usually accidental when they snatch up a tennis ball or frisbee and can cause a serious intestional obstruction. To reduce the risk, play on hard-packed sand.
  • During hot summer months, exercise your dog(s) during the coolest time of the day. Remember to stay away from hot pavement. If it’s too hot for your feet, it’s also too hot for their feet.
  • Beach-going dogs can get sand in their eyes, which can be painful. If you notice squinting or redness, it’s best to take him or her to see the veterinarian to make sure the sand hasn’t scratched the cornea.
  • When it’s hot, keep your dog’s foot pads safe from burns. If you wouldn’t walk on the hot pavement in your bare feet, it is also too hot for your dog.
  • An estimated 500,000 pets are affected by home fires each year. Nearly 1,000 of those are started by pets. Take measures to keep your pet safe as well as help prevent him or her from starting a fire.
  • Avoid sunburns in pets. Speak to your vet to learn if your pets are sensitive to sun and how to protect them. Pink noses and skin are especially prone, and skin cancer is a risk for pets just as in people.
  • Never leave your pet unattended in the car. Even with the window cracked, the inside of your car can increase to life-threatening temperatures within minutes. Do your pet a favor and leave him or her at home.
  • If your pet is a swimmer, make sure he or she has an easy way to get out of the water and take the time to show them the way out. Consider getting a life jacket for your furry friend.
  • Pets can get sunburned, especially if they have light skin and short or thin coat. Apply a fragrance free, non-staining, UVA and UVB barrier sunscreen or a special sunscreen made for pets to help prevent sunburn.
  • Dogs and cats are particularly susceptible to heat stroke, which can be life threatening. Provide plenty of fresh water and shade or keep them in an air conditioned room.
  • Signs of heatstroke are panting or salivating excessively, weakness, staggering, vomiting, deep red or purple tongue, warm dry skin, glazed eyes and rapid pulse. Call your vet immediately and move the pet to a cooler area.

Holiday Hazards

  • Safely confine your cats and dogs in the house on Halloween. Scary trick-or-treaters can frighten pets, which may result in them escaping out the front door.
  • In the winter as the days are getting shorter; make sure you’re visible on late-afternoon or early-evening walks. Replace batteries in flashlights and invest in reflective vests: one for you and one for your dog.
  • Don’t leave animals unattended outdoors around Halloween. Cruel pranksters can hurt your animals, especially black cats. Make sure yours is safely inside!
  • After a holiday meal, don’t take a nap! Snap on your dog’s leash and go for a walk. It will be great exercise for you after a large meal and a great treat for your pooch.
  • Candles and pets don’t mix. There’s no telling where a wagging pet’s tail will end up! Your best option is to use battery-operated candles that look like the real thing.
  • If possible block pets from holiday gifts and decorations. Ribbon, tinsel, ornaments and chocolate are all dangerous if ingested. Strings of lights and extension cords are also prime targets and should be unplugged when not in use.
  • Make sure to keep Halloween candy out of your pets’ reach. All chocolate (especially dark chocolate) can be dangerous or even lethal for dogs. Gum and candy often contains xylitol (an artificial sweetener), which is also poisonous.
  • Avoid a visit to the veterinary emergency hospital during the holiday season! Keep pets away from the kitchen, don’t let friends and family feed them and prevent access to the trash.
  • The Thanksgiving foods most dangerous to pets include: grapes and raisins, xylitol (an artificial sweetener), fatty table scraps, bones and turkey legs, onion, leeks, chives, garlic, unbaked yeast bread dough and alcohol.
  • Make sure mistletoe and holly berries are out of reach for your pet(s). They can cause gastrointestinal upset (vomiting, nausea, diarrhea), cardiovascular problems and lethargy.
  • Noise from fireworks are a problem for many cats and dogs. If you anticipate your pet having a problem with noise on July 4th, please call our office to discuss solutions.