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Our Favorite Fun & Safe Halloween Costumes


Fall is such a fun time of year and Halloween is the perfect time to get your dog in the spirit with you! With so many costume ideas on the internet for you and your dog, you’re bound to find one that fits your dog’s personality or accompanies your costume.

If you’re thinking about dressing your dog up in a costume, first think of how they react to wearing things — if they hate things being placed over their head, or react negatively to velcro, stay away from those types of costumes. And, if your dog simply hates wearing anything, you’ll need to work on positive reinforcement training and desensitization to get them used to wearing a costume, which may mean not dressing them up this year.

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Topics: Dog Safety, pet safety tips, Dogs, Cats, holiday pet safety tips, Pet costumes, Halloween

The Top Halloween Dangers for Dogs & Cats


Ah, Halloween; the time of year when looking like a cast member from the Walking Dead is celebrated! And the one day when consuming mountains of chocolate is encouraged. While this night may be a wonderful time for you and your two-legged kids, it's important to keep in mind that ‘All Hallows Eve’ can present some new dangers for your cats and dogs and therefore may not be as fun an evening for your four-legged kids.

As with most things though, if you’re aware of the potential Halloween hazards for cats and dogs and take the easy steps provided here, your whole family will be far more likely to have a Halloween full of fun and great memories, rather than a night (and a sizable chunk of change) spent in the local Animal ER. To help you gear up for the ghoulish holiday, we’ve compiled the top Halloween dangers so that you can avoid a real nightmare for your dog or cat!

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Topics: Dog Safety, pet safety tips, Dogs, Cats, holiday pet safety tips, Pet costumes, Halloween

Why You SHOULDN’T Use Acepromazine Alone For Cats and Dogs With Fireworks or Thunderstorm Fears


Scaredy Cats and Frightened Fidos

A heartbreakingly large number of cats and dogs suffer terrible fear and anxiety from fireworks displays and thunderstorms.

Unfortunately, many of these pets are still given a medication called acepromazine (or as it’s more commonly called… “Ace”) in an effort to help them through these terrifying events.

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Topics: Summer Pet Safety Tips, holiday pet safety tips, 4th of July, Fireworks, Sedatives, Noise Phobias, Thunderstorms, noise aversions, New Year's

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 8 - Chocolate)


DAY 8: Chocolate

Hopefully you’re already aware that chocolate is bad for dogs, but do you know why?

Do you know which types of chocolate are the worst?

Do you know what signs would give you cause for concern if your dog gets into chocolate – or if you think they might have?


Chocolate is too common a gift this time of year, and it’s present in too many holiday-baked goods to not mention again. There’s lots that you likely aren’t yet aware of, and your pets will benefit from. Read our article on chocolate toxicity to learn more.

At this time of year, be cautious

  • Don't leave chocolate (or chocolate-containing foods) under the tree. Wrapped or not, your pets are sure to sniff them out and help themselves. Advise your friends, family, and other guests of this too, and though he should know better, be sure to mention it to Santa as well (perhaps write it on the note that you're planning to leave for him next to the milk and cookies.

  • Be careful what 'stuffers' you put in the stockings, and be sure to hang them well out of reach of your pets.

  • Don't leave desserts out on low-lying tables or near the edge of countertops. Be sure your guests and children are similarly cautious.
  • Be careful when doing the holiday baking... from chocolate chips (especially if dark) and chocolate bars to cocoa powder and blocks of chocolate, holiday baking often includes chocolate in quantities that can easily land your pet in the Animal ER.

  • Make sure your overnight houseguests keep their suitcases and other bags off the floor and that they keep the door to their room (and bathroom) securely closed as well. After all, you never really know what overnight guests bring in their suitcase, do you?
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Topics: Dog Safety, Dog Health, pet safety tips, pet safety, chocolate toxicity, holiday pet safety tips, chocolate toxicity in dogs, Christmas pet hazards, Pet safety and houseguests

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 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

Which Bones Are Safe For Your Dog?


There are dangers, regardless of whether they are raw or cooked bones, big or small.

It's a myth that raw bones are OK but cooked aren't

Are there dogs who chew and/or eat bones without incident? Of course. BUT there are also plenty of dogs, who do so with incident, including plenty who had previously done so without. In fact, there were so many reported illnesses and deaths due to "bone treats" in 2017 that the FDA issued a warning to pet owners.

What kinds of problems do we vets see with dogs chewing or eating bones?

Plenty. This type of dog emergency is painful, distressing, and costly. Some are even fatal. Here’s a sample of the bone-chewing/eating problems commonly seen by vets and experienced by dog owners:

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Topics: Dog Safety, pet safety tips, pet safety, Dog Emergency, holiday pet safety tips, Dog, Blog, Dog Treats, Dog Tips, Bowel Perforation, Digestive obstruction, Christmas pet hazards, Are bones safe for dogs, Safe pet treats, Safe dog treats, Pet Hazards at Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Safety, Broken teeth, Digestive irritation, Deer antlers, Cooked bones, Digestive tract perforation, Raw bones, Pet emergency, Pork bones

Chocolate: The Most Well-Known-About, Yet Still Common, Dog Toxin


Most pet owners already know that chocolate is bad for dogs. In fact, so many people are aware of this common toxicity that veterinary hospitals across the country regularly receive phone calls from pet owners concerned because they realized their pet just ate some chocolate – even if that pet is a 65-pound Labrador Retriever that just ate a few M&Ms.

So in this article, we won’t focus on the fact that chocolate is bad for pets – you (hopefully) already know that. We’re going to focus on why chocolate is toxic, which types of chocolates are the worst, and what signs you should look for in the event you suspect chocolate toxicity.

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Topics: Dog Safety, Dog Health, pet safety tips, pet safety, toxicity, chocolate toxicity dogs, dog chocolate toxicity, canine chocolate toxicity, dogs chocolate toxicity, dark chocolate toxicity in dogs, chocolate dogs toxicity, chocolate toxicity, holiday pet safety tips, dogs and chocolate toxicity, chocolate toxicity in dogs

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.

Please share your experiences and stories, your opinions and feedback about this blog, or what you've learned that you'd like to share with others.