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The Truth About Avocado For Dogs & Cats


Like many others who have emailed us, you may be thinking that you should avoid avocados around your cats and dogs at all costs. There does appear to be conflicting information out there, doesn’t there?

Avocados seem to routinely show up on “Top 10 Pet Hazard” lists, yet there’s avocado in (at least) one brand of pet food. You’d be right for wondering “what gives?”

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Topics: Dog Safety, Cat Safety, Food, Foods that aren't good for dogs, Myth Busters

Homemade Playdough - salty and dangerous for pets


When looking for something fun and easy to do with kids at home many people turn to homemade playdough.

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Topics: Dog Safety, Cat Safety, pet safety tips, pet safety, toxicity in cats, Dog Emergency, Dog, Cat Emergency, Toxicity in dogs, Poison control, Digestive obstruction, Seizures, Digestive irritation, Neurological problems, Coma, Salt toxicity, Heart Problems, Homemade playdough

Antifreeze is Poisonous to Dogs and Cats


If you’re like most people, you likely don’t think about the antifreeze in your car very often. And you likely only change it, or have it changed, every few years. But if you’ve got pets (or children, or care about the environment), the antifreeze you and your neighbors have in your cars and garages is actually very important.

Ethylene Glycol – What Every Pet Owner Should Know

Most antifreezes contain ethylene glycol, a chemical compound that causes significant, often fatal, problems for both cats and dogs.

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Topics: Dog Safety, Cat Safety, pet safety, toxicity in cats, Dog, Excessive drinking, Antifreeze, Toxicity in dogs, Poison control, Blog, Dog Tips, Cat Tips, Excessive drooling, Staggering, Skin irritation, Winter pet hazards, Ethylene Glycol, EG toxicity, Loss of balance

The 12 Days of Christmas: Pet Hazards Series


Quick...

… what’s the most dangerous Christmas plant you can bring into your home and have around your pets this holiday season?
    A.    Cyclamen
    B.    Poinsettia
    C.    Mistletoe
    D.    Holly
    E.    Contrary to (very) popular belief, NOT the Poinsettia

Did you choose answer “E”?

If so, good for you. If not, don’t worry, you’re not even remotely alone. Nor would you be alone if you thought that a “Cyclamen” was a group of hipsters riding unicycles, while sipping artisan coffee, wearing skinny jeans, and singing Christmas Carols.

We at Preventive Vet want you and your pets to have a fun, joyous, safe, and healthy holiday season. Yet we also realize that you’ve likely got lots of shopping, planning, wrapping, cooking, and other things still to do — and that’s before the blur that is Christmas Day even arrives!

To help, we’ve put together for you this Pet Hazard Series of the 12 Days of Christmas. Below are 12 common Christmas pet hazards that we feel belong on Santa’s “naughty” list — after all, St. Nick is a huge pet lover, right? Each hazard is listed below, along with some important quick-look information and awareness. And there's more in-depth information in the article, so you’ll have all the awareness and tips you need to ensure that your pets receive the greatest present you can give them… a happy, healthy, safe time with you and your family.

The 12 Days of Christmas: Pet Hazards Series

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Topics: Dog Safety, Cat Safety, pet safety, holiday pet safety tips, Christmas pet hazards, Poinsettias

The 12 Days of Christmas: Pet Hazards Series (Day 12 - Houseguests)


Day 12: Houseguests

I know, it seems a bit curmudgeonly to declare “houseguests” as a pet hazard. After all, it's Christmas! And isn't this holiday about nothing else if not spending it with friends, family, and loved ones?

It is indeed — both for you and your pets. From the perspective of the health and safety of your pets though, it truly is important for you to be aware of all the dangers that your friends, family members, and other loved ones will most certainly (albeit inadvertently) expose your pets to during this year’s Christmas festivities.

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Topics: Dog Safety, Cat Safety, pet safety, toxicity, Xylitol, holiday pet safety tips, Hepatic Lipidosis, Vomiting, Poison control, Christmas pet hazards, Pet safety and houseguests, Diarrhea, Batteries

The 12 Days of Christmas: Pet Hazards Series (Day 7 - Lights & Electrical Cords)


DAY 7: Light Strands & Electrical Cords

Though strands of Christmas lights can really add a beautiful holiday glow to your tree or house decorations, its important to also appreciate that they can cause a curious pet quite a shock and some pretty significant resulting health problems, too. And if chewed on, these tree adornments can even lead to a house fire.

Be aware

Pets that chew on electric cords ,can sustain burns on their tongues and elsewhere in their mouth. These pets may also develop a buildup of fluid within their lungs, as a result of the electrical shock. This fluid buildup within the lungs, that results from a cause other than heart failure, is known as non-cardiogenic pulmonary edema, it can lead to breathing problems, and it can be fatal, too.

The oral cavity burns these pets suffer from can result in significant pain and can cause them to go off their food. This scorched tissue is also at risk of becoming infected. If your pet chews through an electric cord and their burns are bad enough that they won't take food, they will need to be hospitalized for care and they may need to have a temporary feeding tube placed. These tubes can be lifesaving interventions, but they can be fairly costly too - with hospitalization for tube placement and the necessary nursing care often costing in the range of $1,000-3,000 (depending on the severity of their injuries and how well and quickly they respond to treatment).

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Topics: Cat Health, Dog Safety, Dog Health, Cat Safety, pet safety tips, pet safety, holiday pet safety tips, Christmas pet hazards, Hiding, Electrical shock, Electrical Cords, Burns, Excessive drooling, Scorched tissue

The 12 Days of Christmas: Pet Hazards Series (Day 4 - Batteries)


DAY 4: Batteries

Christmas and batteries just seem to go hand-in-hand, don't they? Among other things, they're in (or necessary for) many toys, digital cameras, watches, remote controls, and even those (annoying?) singing greeting cards. Heck, Santa even sometimes gives packs of batteries as stocking stuffers! Unfortunately though, batteries can pose a very significant danger to dogs – a danger that is likely more serious than you even know. Especially if they swallow certain types of batteries!

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Topics: Cat Health, Dog Safety, Dog Health, Cat Safety, pet safety tips, pet safety, Vomiting, Pet safety and houseguests, Pet emergency, Batteries, Lithium Battery

The 12 Days of Christmas: Pet Hazards Series (Day 2 - Fruitcake)


DAY 2: Fruitcake

Ah, the Christmas fruitcake! Whether you use it as a doorstop or an actual dessert, be careful around your pets with this staple of Christmas festivities. If the alcohol in these dense cakes doesn't cause a problem for your 'furkids,' the raisins, currants, and yeast they often contain likely will.

Raisins and currants

Most fruitcake recipes call for dried fruits, and this typically includes raisins and/or currants, which can be highly toxic to your dog's kidneys. Not all dogs are affected by the toxin, and we don't yet know what the exact toxin is. However, in those dogs that are affected, the result can be devastating, permanent, expensive, and potentially fatal acute renal (kidney) failure.

The costs associated with treatment for acute kidney failure can vary widely and will mostly depend on how quickly they receive appropriate medical care and how well they respond to it. When it comes to treatment for acute kidney failure, from any cause, not all medical facilities and their capabilities are the same. Given the need for round the clock IV fluid diuresis, intensive monitoring, and the benefits of advanced treatment modalities (such as dialysis or renal replacement therapy), cases of acute kidney failure can truly only be effectively treated in facilities that are staffed around the clock and typically in hospitals staffed by doctors and technicians with advanced training. *Note that this is not the same type of kidney failure that develops slowly in cats and dogs as they age, that type of failure is called chronic kidney failure and it can often be effectively managed in your regular veterinarian's office.

Alcohol

Similar to the effects it can have in people, alcohol can cause several problems in your dogs and cats. And unlike the uncle that everyone is embarrassed by at the holidays, it doesn't take much alcohol for your pets to get into trouble. While you won't typically need to worry about your intoxicated dog or cat getting behind the wheel of a car (unless their name is "Toonces" - check out this classic SNL video if that name doesn't ring a bell), you still have to worry about the results of their alcohol ingestion none the less.

Alcohol can lead to both metabolic and neurologic problems in your pets that can result in vomiting, breathing problems, coma, and death. Given the high 'proof' of many Christmas fruitcakes, you'd be wise to take the steps necessary to keep them well out of your pet's reach. And keep the wine glasses and cocktails off the low-lying tables too while you're at it.

Uncooked yeast

Some fruitcake recipes call for yeast to be used in the dough, making the uncooked dough a potential danger to your curious or mischievous pet. As I covered in this Thanksgiving Pet Safety article, uncooked yeast can cause a very dangerous buildup of alcohol and gas within your pet's stomach resulting in their death or a very stressful trip to the veterinarian.

Be aware

Whether you call it 'fruitcake,' 'stollen,' 'panettone,' or 'birnenbrot,' these laden-with-fruit cakes can pose a variety of dangers to any pet that might venture to try them. From kidney failure to a gas distended stomach leading to cardiovascular collapse and shock, the potential hazard (and cost) is high.

What to do if your pet eats fruitcake

If your pet does get into the holiday fruitcake, cooked or uncooked, contact a veterinarian or pet-specific poison control hotline immediately for advice. Especially in the case of raisin and currant or raw yeast ingestion, time is of the essence! If your pet is staggering, attempting to vomit without success, or has collapsed, bring them for immediate veterinary evaluation. Do not attempt to induce vomiting without first speaking with a vet.

Always remember...

  • Put uncooked bread dough in the microwave or conventional oven to rise, rather than leaving them out on a countertop or table.
  • Don't leave a fruitcake under the tree... wrapping paper is no match for a dog's nose and teeth.
  • Keep your pets well away from the dessert table. Better yet, give your pets their own 'safe room' to stay in while the family enjoys Christmas dinner.
  • Be careful where you put your dessert plate down.
  • Make sure that all of your guests are aware of the dangers associated with this and all the other common pet hazards associated with the holidays.
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Topics: Cat Health, Dog Safety, Dog Health, Cat Safety, pet safety tips, Kidney Failure, Are Currants Safe for Dogs, Raisin Toxicity, holiday safety, holiday pet safety tips, pet poison control, Vomiting, Christmas pet hazards, Pet safety and houseguests, Pet Hazard, Alcohol toxicity, Fruitcake

Pet Safety – When Holiday Houseguests Come to Visit


Gifts, holiday foods, and food preparation materials aren’t the only dangers your pets are likely to face during the holiday season. Along with the presents, wrapping, and large meals common this time of year, this is also often a time for a revolving door of house visitors and overnight guests. And whether those guests are neighbors and friends popping in briefly from down the street, or friends and family coming to stay from across the country, many will inadvertently bring with them toxins and other pet hazards that could ruin your holiday. With some important awareness and some simple precautions, you’ll be able to welcome your friends and family warmly and with open arms, without compromising your pet’s safety and well-being.

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Topics: Dog Safety, Cat Safety, pet safety tips, pet safety, Lilies, Xylitol, holiday safety, Cats, chocolate toxicity in dogs, Dog, Dog Tips, Cat Tips, Christmas pet hazards, Pet Hazards at Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Safety, Christmas pet dangers, Pet safety and houseguests, Poinsettias

Thanksgiving Safety For Cats and Dogs


Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday and a great time to join together with friends and family - be they two legged or four (or even three, lest we forget about our "tripawd" dogs and cats). But as you’re preparing your Thanksgiving plans, it’s important to be aware of the common pet hazards associated with this day of friends, family, feasting, fun, and football. If you’re not, you could end up spending your Thanksgiving in the animal emergency room.

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Topics: Dog Safety, Cat Safety, pet safety tips, pet safety, Grape and Raisin Toxicity in Dogs, Are Raisins Safe for Dogs, Cats, Dog, Pancreatitis, Blog, Dog Treats, Dog Tips, Bowel Perforation, Gastroenteritis, Onions, Are bones safe for dogs, Safe pet treats, Yeast, Safe dog treats, Pet Hazards at Thanksgiving, Turkey, Stuffing, Thanksgiving Safety

Photo Credit: Preventive Vet

Please do not ask emergency or other specific medical questions about your pets in the blog comments. As an online informational resource, Preventive Vet is unable to and does not provide specific medical advice or counseling. A thorough physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinary-patient-client relationship is required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet is having an emergency or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic medical conditions, please contact or visit your veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.

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