Pet Safety:

Below are some common pet safety issues.

  1. Foods to Avoid
  2. Medications to Avoid
  3. Toxic Plants
  4. Dangerous Animals & Insects

Foods to Avoid:
Just because you eat it, does NOT mean it is ok for your pet to have. Many human foods are irritating to an animal's digestive tract as well as there are some that are toxic. Most animals in the US are obese and adding table foods and treats adds calories. So, unless you are willing to cut back your pet's food intake, adding extras only makes your pet overweight. Also, some foods are toxic to your pet and should be avoided all together. Examples are:

  • grapes, raisins - risk of kidney failure
  • onions - risk of anemia
  • avocado - lethargy, anorexia, vomiting
  • sugar free gum or anything with XYLITOL in it
  • raw meats - (including fish) are not good for your pet. There are many types of toxins they can pick up from raw or undercooked meats. Salmonella, Salmon Poisoning (Nanophyetus salmincola), and other parasitic organisms
  • Macadamia nuts
  • coffee - caffeine is very toxic to animals
  • fatty foods - for example, the fat trimmings from your meats can cause pancreatitis which can be serious-to-deadly in animals
  • moldy/spoiled food - can cause nervous system signs such as seizures and GI upset.
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Medications to Avoid:
While there are many medications that your pet can take when advised by your veterinarian, there are also many they should not take. Always ask your veterinarian before medicating your pet, especially if the medication is over the counter. A quick list of some toxic medications include:

  • Tylenol - DEADLY to cats, very toxic to dogs
  • Aleve, Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) - toxic to both cats and dogs
  • Prescription Medications - while the dose may be right for you, it most likely is not correct for your pet. Never give a prescription to your pet that is not their own unless directed by your veterinarian. Also, call your veterinarian if your pet happens to get into any of your medications accidentally.
  • Viagra/Cialis - although most people wouldn't feed their animals this medication, if they happen to get into it, there can be serious side effects
  • Marijuana, Cocaine, Xanax, Alcohol, etc - While many may choose to abuse these medications, they can be very deadly to your pet. Please monitor your guests and your teens to make sure your pet does not get into or get given any of these drugs. While it may be entertaining to watch the side effects for some, it may also be deadly for your pet.
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Toxic Plants:
There are many plants that can cause some problems with your pets from mild irritation of their mouth and GI tract to severe kidney or heart failure and death. It is always best if your pets do not ingest any plant material, even grass, as you do not know what may be on it. There can be anything from pesticides to fecal matter from other animals (which could give your pets worms!) on your lawn or decorative plants. Here are a few common plants you should be cautious of:

  • lilies - EXTREMELY deadly to cats - causes kidney failure and death
  • yews - toxic to the heart
  • poinsettia - can cause irritation to the mouth and occasionally vomitting
  • oleander - toxic to the heart
  • philodendron - primarily oral irritation, but can cause urinary side effects
  • foxglove/digitalis - toxic to the heart
  • hemlock - toxic to the nervous systems
  • peony - cardiovascular toxin
  • poison ivy - in addition to bringing you the oils for a nasty rash, it can cause vomitting and diarrhea
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Dangerous Animals & Insects:
There are a number of animals and insects that can cause harm to your pet, if encountered. For example, mosquitoes transmit heartworm disease, fleas transmit tapeworms, and some ticks transmit Ehrlichia, Lyme, and Anaplasmosis. Some common varmints to avoid are:

  • raccoons - they carry rabies, distemper, and many intestinal worms contagious to you AND your family, plus, they can scratch and bite
  • skunks - rabies, scratches, bites and they STINK!
  • rattlesnakes - venom is toxic
  • copperheads - bites swell and usually results in a very aggressive bacterial infection
  • black widows - bites can produce a large sore, and sometimes even death
  • brown recluse - bites produce a sore that causes surrounding tissue to die as well, creating a larger sore
  • june bugs - while not overtly poisonous, they can cause significant vomitting and diarrhea
  • crickets - can cause vomitting, but also carry the feline stomach worm
  • deer - can cause major physical damage to your pet with their kicks and bites, especially when young are involved
  • coyotes - in addition to the physical damage, they carry mange, rabies, distemper, and many intestinal parasites contagious to your pets AND your family
  • bats - RABIES!! Even if you are in the same room as a bat you are considered to be exposed to rabies. Bats can bite you without you ever being aware that they have bitten
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