It’s officially spring! If you’re anything like us, you’re eager to trade in your snow shovel for a garden shovel. But pet parents should note that while gardens and yards are great spots for relaxation on a spring day, many of our favorite spring flowers and planets may be toxic to our cat and dog companions. This year, whether you’re getting ready to plant your garden or you’re just looking to add a little bit of green to your home, be wary of these popular but poisonous plants so you’ll keep your pets happy and healthy this season.
Steer Clear of Lilies and Oleander. Lilies may look pretty, but they are considered especially toxic to cats. Even ingestions of very small amounts can cause severe kidney damage in our furry friends. Oleander can cause serious health problems including gastrointestinal tract irritation, abnormal heart function, hypothermia and even death.
Be Careful with Tulips. These popular spring bulb plants add much to our gardens, but can cause significant stomach problems when ingested by our pets. The bulb portion contains toxins that can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation, drooling, loss of appetite, depression of the central nervous system, convulsions and even cardiac abnormalities.
Say No to Azalea and Rhododendron. These favorites contain substances known as grayantoxins, which can produce vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, weakness and depression of the central nervous system in our furry friends. Severe azalea poisoning could ultimately lead to coma and even death.
Avoid Sago Palm. All parts of this common house plant are considered poisonous, but the seeds or “nuts” contain a large amount of toxin. Even ingestion of just one or two seeds can result in very serious effects including vomiting, diarrhea, seizures and liver failure.
Pass on the Cocoa Mulch. Popular for its attractive odor and color, cocoa mulch attracts dogs with its sweet smell—and like chocolate, it can cause problems for our canine friends. Depending on the amount, ingestion of cocoa mulch can cause a range of clinical signs from vomiting and diarrhea to muscle tremors, elevated heart rate, hyperactivity and even seizures. Consider using a less-toxic alternative such as shredded pine, cedar or hemlock bark.
If your pet likes to stop and smell the flowers, it’s important to not leave him or her unsupervised where these plants may be present. Want more information or have greenery in your home or garden that you’re not sure is toxic or not? Please visit our full list of toxic and non-toxic plants.
As always, if you suspect your pet has ingested something poisonous, please contact your veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center’s 24-hour hotline at (888) 426-4435.
It’s getting cold outside! As the mercury drops, it’s important to make sure our furry friends are staying warm this winter. Just as for humans,, too much exposure to winter’s dry, cold air and unpredictable wet weather like rain, sleet and snow can spell discomfort for our pets and result in chapped paws and itchy, flaky skin.
If the weather is too cold for you, it’s likely too cold for your pet as well. Help protect pets from cold weather dangers and keep them safe, happy and healthy this winter with these handy tips from our experts.
1.Rapid temperature changes caused by repeatedly coming out of the wet cold into the dry heat can often cause itchy and flaky skin. Make sure to keep your home humidified and towel dry your pet as soon as he comes inside—be sure to give feet and the space between toes extra attention!
2.During cold spells, bathing your pets too often can remove necessary oils from their skin and fur, and can increase the change of skin irritation. Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold snaps, and if your pup must be bathed, ask your vet to recommend a moisturizing shampoo or rinse.
3.Longer coats provide more warmth during the coldest months, so give your pets a good brushing! Regular brushing not only gets rid of dead hair, it stimulates blood circulation to improve skin’s overall condition.
4. Dress your pet in a sweater or coat when they head outdoors. This will help retain body heat and prevent skin from getting dry or inflamed during winter walks.
5. Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm during the winter. Feed your pet a little bit of extra food during the cold weather and make sure plenty of water is available to keep pets well-hydrated and prevent skin dryness.
6. Winter walks can turn dangerous quickly if chemicals from ice-melting agents are licked off legs and paws. Throughout wipe off your dog’s legs, paws and stomach when he first comes inside and be sure to clean up any spills from your vehicle. Consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.
7. Remember, pets should stay indoors as much as possible during winter monthsand never leave your pup alone in the car!
Summer travel season is in full swing, and we think trips are always more fun when you bring your furry friends along. If you’re planning to take a vacation this summer with your pets in tow, we’ve got you covered.
Practice makes perfect: It’s a good idea to practice having your pet ride along for a series of short car trips leading up to your big trip.
Ride safely: Keep your pets safe and secure in the car by having them ride in a well-ventilated crate or carrier. The crate should be large enough for your pet to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in. Secure your pet’s crate so it will not slide or shift in the event of an abrupt stop.
Road trip snacks: Be sure to pack plenty of water, and avoid feeding your pet in a moving vehicle. Your pet's travel-feeding schedule should start with a light meal three to four hours prior to departure.
Unless your furry friend is small enough to ride under your seat on a plane, the ASPCA advises avoiding air travel with pets. However, if you must bring your pet along on your flight, it’s best to plan ahead. We recommend you book a direct flight if possible. Here are a few other suggestions:
Careful with crates: Prior to your trip, purchase a USDA-approved shipping crate that is large enough for your pet to stand, sit and turn around in comfortably.
IDs, please: Be sure to mark the crate with the words “Live Animal,” as well as your contact information and a photo of your pet. Make sure all vaccinations are up-to-date and that your pet has been microchipped for identification purposes.
In-flight food: Attach a pouch of your pet’s food to the outside of her crate, and freeze water in a dish for your pet to drink as it melts throughout the flight.
As you break out your woolly socks and warm boots today, don’t forget to protect your pet’s feet, too! Cold weather poses several unique dangers to your pet’s paws and skin.
There are several precautions you can take to keep your pet’s paws and skin safe and comfortable. First, keep your pet’s paws clean and dry after walks and time spent outside in the cold. Bring a towel on long walks to clean off stinging, irritated paws. After each walk, wash and dry your pet’s feet to remove ice, salt and chemicals—and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes. Massaging petroleum jelly into your pet’s paw pads before and after going outside will help moisturize and protect them.
Just as dressing your pet in a sweater or coat can keep them warm on the coldest days, booties can be very effective as they help minimize contact with painful salt crystals, poisonous anti-freeze and chemical ice-melting agents. They can also help prevent irritating sand and salt from getting lodged between bare toes.
You should also pay special attention to your pet’s fur. Trim long-haired dogs to minimize the clinging of ice balls, salt crystals and de-icing chemicals that can dry on the skin. Brushing your pet regularly helps get rid of dead hair, stimulates blood circulation and improves the skin’s overall condition.
Please keep in mind that if it’s too cold outside for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet. Move playtime indoors as much as possible to keep your pets happy and healthy. Read our cold weather pet care tips for more helpful hints, and stay warm!
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