Practice Basic Pet Summer Safety

 

 

Practice Basic Pet Summer Safety

The weather has finally started to warm up. Here are some basic safety tips to help keep your pets safe this spring and summer:

Never leave your pets in a parked car

Not even for a minute. Not even with the car running and air conditioner on. On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels. On an 85-degree day, for example, Falls Road Veterinary Hospitalthe temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. Your pet may suffer irreversible organ damage or die. If you see an animal in distress in a parked car, contact the nearest animal shelter or police.

Watch the humidity

It’s important to remember that it’s not just the ambient temperature but also the humidity that can affect your pet. Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. If the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves, and their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels—very quickly. Taking a dog’s temperature will quickly tell you if there is a serious problem. Dogs’ temperatures should not be allowed to get over 104 degrees. If your dog’s temperature does, contact your veterinarian immediately!

Limit exercise on hot days

Take care when exercising your pet. Adjust intensity and duration of exercise in accordance with the temperature. On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours, and be especially careful with short-nosed pets, who typically have difficulty breathing. Asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet’s paws, so walk your dog on the grass if possible. Always carry water with you to keep your dog from dehydrating.

Provide ample shade and water

Any time your pet is outside, make sure he or she has protection from heat and sun and plenty of fresh, cold water. In heat waves, add ice to water when possible. Tree shade and tarps are ideal because they don’t obstruct air flow. A doghouse does not provide relief from heat—in fact, it makes it worse.

Watch for signs of heat stroke

Extreme temperatures can cause heat stroke. Some signs of heat stroke are heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure, and unconsciousness.

Animals are at particular risk for heat stroke if they are very old, very young, overweight, not conditioned to prolonged exercise, or have heart or respiratory disease. Some breeds of dogs—like boxers, pugs, shih tzus, and other dogs and cats with short muzzles—will have a much harder time breathing in extreme heat.

How to treat a pet suffering from heat stroke

Move your pet into the shade or an air-conditioned area. Apply ice packs or cold towels to her head, neck, and chest or run cool (not cold) water over her. Let your pet drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes. Take your pet directly to a veterinarian.

Prepare for power outages

Before a summer storm takes out the power in your home, create a disaster plan to keep your pets safe from heat stroke and other temperature-related trouble.

Please feel free to contact here at Falls Road Veterinary Hospital with any questions or concerns. (301) 983-8400. http://www.greenbriarpets.com

 

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The Danger of Chocolate To Pets

For a human, a few too many Easter eggs can be seen as a bit indulgent and lead to an afternoon on the sofa in a self-inflicted Danger of chocolate to dogs Falls Road Veterinary Hospitalchocolate coma.

But for a dog it can be potentially life-threatening and, in the most extreme cases, result in death.

Dog owners are warned to be on high alert this Easter and ensure the chocolate is hidden away to ensure dogs are not harmed as a result of chocolate poisoning.

With more instances of discarded Easter Eggs or half-eaten Crème Eggs lying around at Easter than at other times of the year, it is a potential minefield for canines all over the country, and can result in many becoming ill – or even die.

The reason for this toxicity is due to a natural chemical in the cocoa bean called theobromine. Easily digestible by humans, theobromine cannot be broke down by the dog’s digestive system and becomes toxic to dogs, having a serious effect on their nervous system and heart.

As the Easter weekend approaches and people have more chocolate in the home than usual, we’re reminding those with dogs and cats to keep it well out of their reach.

Like with most poisons the toxic impact is dependent on the size of the dog.

Heavier dogs are far less likely to be affected by the same amount of chocolate than those of a smaller size.

For example, it would take just one tablespoon of dark chocolate to severely damage a small Yorkshire Terrier, while 5 tablespoons would lead to a Lab becoming seriously ill.

Yet, it is not only the amount of chocolate that can have effect on how badly a dog reacts. The level of cocoa and the darkness of the chocolate can also have an effect. With darker chocolate containing more of the toxic theobromine than milk chocolate, less is needed to have an adverse effect.

Symptoms of concern for owners can be anything from vomiting, to rapid breathing, to seizures and need to be acted on to ensure that there are not more fatal consequences.

The effects of chocolate poisoning in dogs usually appear within a few hours of eating, and can last as long as 24 hours.

Initial signs can include excessive thirst, vomiting, a sore stomach and restlessness.

These symptoms can then progress to tremors, an abnormal heart rhythm, raised body temperature and rapid breathing.

In severe cases dogs can experience fits, kidney failure and can even die.

If your pet ingest chocolate you should contact your vet for immediately. Please feel free to contact us here at Falls Road Veterinary Hospital with any questions or concerns. (301) 983-8400. http://www.fallsroadvet.com,

Easter Pet Safety And Hidden Dangers To Pets

Easter Pet Safety & Hidden Dangers To Pets

As you and your family prepare for Easter festivities here are Easter Dogsome Easter Pet Safety tips.

1. Easter grass is a decorative must for Easter baskets but can signal danger for your pet if ingested. If eaten it can cause several health problems even death. Easter grass can wrap around your pets intestine and cut off circulation. It can also cause vomiting, choking, constipation, painful defecation and abdominal pain. Instead opt for a safer alternative, tissue paper or real grass.

2. No Chocolate! Dogs can’t resist something sweet to gobble on, including the infamous chocolate bunny. Chocolate contains a highly toxic ingredient known as theobromine, making even small amounts of chocolate extremely hazardous to your pets health. Theobromine, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, seizures and an abnormally elevated heart rate. Although your dog should avoid all types of chocolate, dark chocolate contains the highest concentrations of theobromine making it the most toxic. Early symptoms of chocolate toxicity are vomiting, diarrhea and trembling. If your dog exhibits these symptoms please seek vet help immediately.

3. Avoid Sugar Substitutes: Xylitol, an artificial sweetener used in many candies, chewing gums and baked goods, is potentially very toxic to dogs and cats. If ingested can cause a rapid drop in blood sugar and can lead to seizures & liver failure.

4. Poisonous Easter Bouquets & Plants. Lilies, amaryllis, and kalanchoe are just a few popular flowers used in Easter floral arrangements. While they make for beautiful centerpieces on your Easter table, certain plants and flowers can be deadly for pets. The Easter Lily is a plant commonly found in bouquets this time of year but highly toxic to cats if ingested. If eaten this flower can cause vomiting and lethargy, and if untreated, may progress to kidney (renal) failure and death. Please call your veterinarian immediately if you suspect that your cat has eaten any part of a lily plant. Other potentially poisonous flowers to avoid include tulips, calla lilies, daisies, chrysanthemums and baby’s breath.

5. Real or fake plastic eggs can be dangerous. Pets may confuse a shiny plastic eggs for their next chew toy or tasty treat. If they chew and swallow the plastic it can cause intestinal damage which may require surgery. While hard-boiled have a tendency to be misplaced or not found during those Easter egg hunts and can easily spoil. If the egg is discovered days later and eaten by your pet it can cause an upset stomach. Make sure you keep track of the number of eggs hidden and their whereabouts so you can easily inventory at the end of the hunt.

6. Cute Easter toys are not meant to be eaten: Festive bunnies and chick toys make cute Easter basket stuffers for the kids, but may be viewed as a mid afternoon snack for your pet. Small toys are a choking hazard and should be kept away from cats and dogs. Please be mindful of your pets this Easter. Happy Easter!

Please contact us here at Falls Road Veterinary Hospital with any questions or concerns. (301) 983-8400. www,fallsroadvet.com

New Year’s Resolutions For Pet Owners

New Year’s Resolutions For Pet Owners

Happy New Year from Falls Road Veterinary Hospital where we are dedicated to helping you give your pet a high quality of life!

Our pets provide us with so much affection and unconditional love that we often consider them part of the family and may want to include them in our New Year’s resolutions.  The following are some ways to include your pets in your resolutions.

Save Money

At the top of almost everyone’s resolution list is to find ways to save money. Pet owners can help keep veterinary costs low by following a few simple guidelines in the New Year:

  • Keep pets up to date on important vaccinations and parasite prevention. It is much less expensive to prevent a disease than it is to treat it.
  • Don’t procrastinate or miss veterinary exams and visits. If your pet is injured or ill, delaying veterinary attention could actually lead to higher expenses!
  • Resolve to keep good communications with your veterinarian and veterinary staff.  Keeping your veterinarian up to date on pet health and behavior changes could catch problems earlier, at more treatable stages.
  • Consider investing in pet insurance or starting a pet health savings plan as the New Year begins. These simple steps can help you avoid financial issues if your pet is sick.

Exercise & Lose Weight

Next on many resolution lists is the promise to exercise more and lose weight. Why not let your pet help you keep that promise?

  • Like their humans, many pets in the US and Canada are overweight or obese. The New Year is a great time to make a commitment to losing those extra pounds.
  • Studies show that dog owners spend about twice as much time walking each week than non-dog owners. This positive reinforcement can be beneficial for your goals and help your pet lose weight, too!

Quality Time

Some people will make resolutions to spend more quality time with family. That resolution can be expanded to include the pets as well.

  • There is an old adage that “a tired dog is a good dog.” Including a small amount of time in our daily routine for our pets can help prevent destructive behavior issues.
  • Many pets could benefit from enrolling in a basic training and socialization class, especially if you have a new puppy. Consider this New Year as a great time to make sure your pet is a “good pet citizen.”
  • In addition, the extra exercise and activity you provide for your pets might help with weight loss and prevent medical issues, thereby saving money on veterinary costs.

Looking Your Best

Looking your best is another popular resolution each year…why not include your pets?

  • Keeping a pet well groomed can help prevent skin issues and the associated expense of a groomer or veterinarian.
  • Proper grooming and brushing is also another way to meet your resolution of spending more time with your pet.

Helping Others

Helping others is a promise that many people will make each New Year. Keep that promise by volunteering your time at or providing needed resources for your local animal rescue or shelter.

Talk to Your Veterinarian

Finally, a great resolution for all pet owners is to promise to discuss all aspects of your pet’s care with your veterinarian before acting on information found online.

  • Even though Internet searches and discussions with online friends might seem to be helpful, there is misinformation and bad advice present on the web.
  • Avoid using “Dr. Google” as your only source of pet health recommendations. Your veterinarians are the true “pet health experts” and are happy to answer your concerns.
  • Most importantly, your veterinarian’s advice will be custom fit for your pet!

Happy New Year! Please feel free to contact us here at Falls Road Veterinary Hospital with any questions or concerns. (301) 983-8400. http://www.fallsroadvet.com.

Winter Hazards To Your Cats

Winter Hazards To Your Cats

Winter Hazards To Your Cats

  • Outdoor cats depend on people for their warmth and survival during the winter months; special steps need to be taken to keep these cats safe.
  • Holidays are a time for celebration but can pose multiple risks to cats. Lilies, chocolate, alcohol, ribbons, tinsel, and other common holiday items can all be dangerous to our feline companions.

What You Need to Know

Cats that spend time outdoors are exposed to various environmental and physical dangers. In the winter, cats are at risk for frostbite and hypothermia (low body temperature), just like humans. Cats should not be left outside for long periods of time in the winter and should always have the option of coming inside. It’s important to be aware of these risks, so you can keep your cat safe and healthy.

Colder Temperatures

Once temperatures start to dip below the freezing point, remember that any outdoor water will freeze. Cats need a constant supply of fresh, unfrozen water. For outdoor cats that only have access to outdoor water, heated water bowls can be used to keep water from freezing. If an electrical source is not available, water should be kept in a covered, enclosed space to prevent it from freezing quickly. Dog igloos filled with straw work well for outdoor cats, giving them a warm place to eat, drink, and keep dry from the winter elements. Heated pet mats are also helpful and will help a cat retain its body temperature, which is especially important for old or sick cats. It is important to only use heated products that are approved for pets.

Cats that spend a lot of time outdoors during the winter months use more calories in order to stay warm. Giving your cat a higher-quality, protein-rich food will help him or her stay warm and healthy. If your cat has any medical problems, consult your veterinarian before making any diet changes.

Outdoor cats may seek warmth under car hoods and can be injured or killed by the car’s fan belt. Before getting into your car, knock loudly on the hood to ensure that a cat is not hiding beneath.

Even cats that are used to being outside can suffer hypothermia and frostbite. If severe winter storm warnings or extreme cold weather alerts recommending that humans stay indoors are issued in your area, it is a good idea to bring your cat indoors, too. If your cat cannot be brought indoors, a garage or mud room can provide enough shelter in some cases.

Antifreeze

Also known as ethylene glycol, antifreeze is probably one of the most common and dangerous winter toxins. Antifreeze is highly toxic, and cats are sometimes attracted to its sweet smell and taste. Once a cat drinks antifreeze, the toxin is rapidly absorbed, and signs such as vomiting, loss of coordination, and depression can appear within 1 hour. The kidneys are most severely affected by antifreeze, and even if signs start to improve with treatment, they may have already started to shut down. Acute kidney failure can occur within 12 to 24 hours after ingestion of antifreeze, so it is important to take your cat to the vet immediately if you suspect he or she has drunk even a small amount of antifreeze.

Salt and Chemical Ice Melts

Cats that walk on sidewalks or pathways that have been de-iced can have chapped, dry, painful paws. Also, because cats tend to lick their paws, they can be exposed to toxic chemicals found in some ice melts. Pet-safe ice melt products can be purchased at most home improvement and pet stores. However, not everyone in the neighborhood may use these products, so it is important to wash your cat’s feet with a warm cloth after he or she comes in from being outside.

Holiday Hazards

The holidays pose many risks to cats. Chocolate, alcohol, onions, and coffee are some of the popular party supplies that can cause health problems in your cat. A common holiday plant is the lily, found in many holiday arrangements. Lilies are poisonous to cats. If a cat eats any part of a lily, initial signs of poisoning could include lethargy (tiredness) and a lack of appetite, but kidney failure can occur within 36 to 72 hours. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you think your cat has eaten any part of a lily plant.

Most cats love tinsel and ribbon, which, if eaten, can damage the intestines, requiring surgery. Keep these items out of reach of your cat.

Cover up electrical cords to prevent them from dangling and being mistaken for cat toys. If chewed, these cords could electrocute your cat.

More Cold-Weather Tips

The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) has more cold-weather tips at its website: www.aspca.org. Additional information about toxic houseplants, antifreeze, and other winter toxins is available at the Animal Poison Control Center: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/.

Feel free to contact us here at Falls Road Veterinary Hospital with any questions or concerns. (301) 983-8400. http://www.fallsroadvet.com

Holiday Hazards To Your Pets

Holiday Hazards To Your Pets

Holiday Hazards To Your Pets

Holidays may be festive, but for most of us they are far from peaceful!  Left unattended, pets can get into mischief and serious trouble, so don’t forget to be prepared to protect your pets from these holiday hazards.

Dangerous Foods

Most people know about chocolate’s potential to be poisonous, but also make sure to keep pets away from sugar-free candy and gum (which may contain xylitol), raisins and macadamia nuts (often found in trail mixes, cookies, and candy), grapes, bread dough, coffee, and alcohol.

“Other” Foods

Remember to ask well meaning friends and relatives to avoid giving table food to pets. Plates and food should be cleared from areas accessible to pets.

Dangerous Plants

By now, many pet owners know that poinsettias are not as toxic as once believed. However, mistletoe, some evergreens (like some species of pine), holly bushes and berries, and aloe are potentially toxic, as well as some plants that are commonly found in holiday arrangements, such as lilies, baby’s breath, bird of paradise, daisies, and chrysanthemums

New Treats

Treat-stuffed holiday stockings are fun to give, but you should not pick out any items that are new or different. New treats may cause your pet some digestive up set! Offering only one of these at a time (ideally separated by a few days) can make it easier to track the source if vomiting, diarrhea, or other problems occur.

New Toys

New toys should be checked for small pieces that can be chewed off or broken and swallowed. sharp edges, or other potential hazards.

Indoor Holiday Decorations

Tinsel, angel hair, tree ornaments, ribbons, and string are well-known culprits. But even Christmas trees can pose a danger. Pets may eat the needles (even from artificial trees) or drink water from the tree stand, which can be toxic. Decorative lights can get hot enough to burn a pet, so  keep them out of reach.

Outdoor Holiday Decorations

Extension cords, lights (which can get very hot), decorations that hang low enough to be chewed on, and decorations that can fall or blow over are just a few of the dangers that pets can encounter outside. Make sure to  check food-related decorations (like pumpkins and corn cobs) regularly. Pets may eat these items, even after they begin to rot!

Electrical Cords and Outlets

Electrocution hazards include electrical cords, lights and other electrical decorations, and outlets (unused ones should be covered).

Heated Surfaces and Open Flames

Fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, candles, and portable heaters are just a few hazards to keep pets away from (or at least monitor when they are nearby). Not only can pets be burned, but candles or heaters can be knocked over and start a fire.

Fire and Carbon Monoxide

House fires and carbon monoxide-related deaths are doubly tragic around the holidays. Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur if pets are left in a garage with a running car or in a running car itself. Space heaters, furnaces, and similar appliances can also present a risk. Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to help ensure safer holidays.

Cold Temperatures

Even outdoor pets can suffer frostbite and hypothermia if shelter is inadequate. If pets can’t be indoors during cold weather, ensure that clean (and unfrozen) water and safe, adequate shelter are available for outdoor pets. Pets (particularly cats) may seek warm places that are not safe such as car engines. Fan belt injuries and other trauma can occur.

Antifreeze and Alcohols

Most pet owners know something about the dangers of antifreeze, but don’t forget about methanol, a common component of windshield wiper fluid, and isopropanol, commonly found in hand sanitizer gel, windshield de-icing agents, and rubbing alcohol. All of these substances are toxic to your pets!

Salt and Chemical Ice Melts

Pet-safe ice melt products can be purchased at most home improvement and pet stores. However, pet owners should wash their pets’ feet with a warm cloth after the pet comes in from being outside. The ice melting products can have a caustic effect to your pets feet!

Vigilance Can Be the Best Protection

The holidays can be hectic, but all pet owners should “check in” with their pets at least a few times a day. Making sure the pet is eating and drinking, observing activity level, and (if possible) observing urination and defecation can make it easier to detect any changes. Please contact your Vet if you notice any signs of illness or behavior changes.

For More Information

If a toxic exposure is expected, the ASPCA’s Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 can be a valuable resource. Visit their Web site (http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control) for information.

Feel free to contact us here at Falls Road Veterinary Hospital with any questions or concerns. (301) 983-8400. http://www.fallsroadvet.com