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Dogs & Batteries – More Dangerous Than You Might Think


Dogs and Batteries — Yes, Really!

You might already know by now that dogs are experimenters and their mouth is the laboratory. What you might not be aware of though is that one thing dogs often like to "test out" are batteries. (Don't forget, they also readily gobble up cat poop, fishing hooks, and rocks... so are batteries really that big of a surprise?!?!)

Another thing you might not yet know is that while all batteries can pose serious dangers to dogs when chewed or eaten, there's one type of battery that carries an even greater risk for dogs (and kids) – the disc or "button" type batteries.

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

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 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 and deplete your bank account. 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

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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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