Welcome to our K-9 Health page
Let us start by saying that we are not veterinarians and we are not offering any veterinarian advice. If you think that you have a problem with your pet, you need to contact your vet. What we are doing on these pages is offering you some information that may help you find a solution to your pet questions. When reading these pages, don’t feel overwhelmed, just be watchful. We have always lived in the country and have had shops, equipment, eating and many potential hazards around. In all of our years of raising our puppies, we have never had an incident of poisoning or lost a dog to a hazard that we could have controlled. We simply think that an informed pet owner is the key to having a happy experience with your new family member. We like to think of this section of our website as a kind of owner’s manual for your puppy. We hope you find it informative and helpful.
We need to look at our homes and yards through the eyes of our pets, seeking out “toys” and “entertainments” that may be harmful for them.Always be prepared. Your animal may become poisoned in spite of your best efforts to prevent it. You should keep telephone numbers for your veterinarian, a local emergency veterinary service, and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center(888) 4ANIHELP ( 888-426-4435) in a convenient location. If you suspect that your pet has ingested something poisonous, seek medical attention immediately.
Animal Poison Control Center
Ethylene glycol is one of the many chemicals used for antifreeze. Your common anti-freeze used in cars has a very sweet taste to pets and is extremely deadly. If you spill a little anti-freeze onto the ground in a puddle, or if you change our anti-freeze and leave it in an open container, your pet will find this and it is very deadly. If you suspect anti-freeze poisoning, call your veterinarian immediately.
Chocolate/ fatty foods
Although we have never personally experienced it, for years we have heard horror stories about dogs getting into bags of chocolate and dying swiftly. We have also heard stories of people that have long time family pets that they occasionally feed from the table and after doing this one time, the dog is found dead. High levels of fat, which is what is found in chocolate and some table scraps, can be deadly to your dog. One of the common conditions that ingesting the wrong foods can cause is pancreatitis. This is a malfunction of the pancreas, which if left untreated can cause death. Vomiting and lethargy are early symptoms. This is treatable if caught in the early stages. One common theme with everyone that lost an animal to the wrong food is they never knew how harmful foods could be to their pet. Below is a short list of other common foods that can be dangerous to your pet.
Chocolate (baker’s, semi-sweet, milk chocolate)
Coffee (grounds, beans, chocolate covered espresso beans)
Moldy or spoiled foods – be careful to dispose of these in an area where your dog cannot get to them
Onions, onion powder
Raisins and Grapes
— Poisonous Plants —
Lilies that may be found in holiday flower arrangements could be deadly to your cat. Many types of lily, such as Tiger, Asian, Japanese Show, Easter, Stargazer, and the Casa Blanca, can cause kidney failure in cats Poinsettias are generally over-rated in toxicity. If ingested, poinsettias can be irritating to the mouth and stomach, and may cause mild vomiting or nausea.
Mistletoe has the potential to cause cardiovascular problems. However, mistletoe ingestion usually only causes gastrointestinal upset. Holly ingestion could cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and lethargy. Visit the University of Illinois Toxicology Homepage . to view pictures of plants which are poisonous to animals
Other common plants, including, but not limited to:
Black-eyed Susan, goldenglow, coneflower
Glory or climbing lily
Lobelia, cardinal flower
Precatory bean (seeds)
— Common Toxic Plants —
Cardiotoxic plants: (effect the heart):
Convallaria majalis – Lily of the Valley
Nerium oleander – Oleander
Rhododendron species – Rhododendron, Azalea and Rosebay
Taxus species – American, Japanese, English and Western Yew
Digitalis purpurea – Foxglove
Kalanchoe spp. Kalanchoe
— Plants that could cause kidney failure: —
Certain species of lilies (in cats only)
Rhubarb (Rheum species) – leaves only
Grapes (Vitis species)
— Plants that could cause liver failure: —
Cycads (Cycad species)
Mushroom (Amanita phalloides)
— Plants that could cause multiple effects: —
Autumn Crocus (Colchicum species) (Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, renal, liver damage and bone marrow suppression)
Castor Bean (Ricinus species) (Can cause renal failure, convulsions and death)
— Mushrooms —
ALWAYS assume that any ingested mushroom is highly toxic until a mycologist identifies that mushroom. Toxic and non-toxic mushrooms can grow in the same area.
If a pet owner suspects that their animal ingested a poisonous plant, they should contact their veterinarian immediately. It’s advised to bring in part of the plant to a nursery for identification if the exact species is not known. Symptoms of poisonings can include almost any clinical sign. The animal may even appear completely normal for several hours or days.
— Christmas Tree Hazards —
Christmas tree water may contain fertilizers, which, if ingested, can cause stomach upset. Stagnant tree water can be breeding grounds for bacteria, which can also lead to vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea, if ingested.
Electrical cords – Avoid animal exposure to electrical cords. If they are chewed they could electrocute your pet. Cover up or hide electrical cords and never let your pet chew on them.
Ribbons or tinsel can become lodged in the intestines and cause intestinal obstruction. This is a very common situation for kittens!
Batteries contain corrosives, and if ingested they can cause ulceration to the mouth, tongue, and the rest of the gastrointestinal tract.
Glass ornaments can cut the tissues of the gastrointestinal tract if ingested.
— Medications —
Keep all prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs out of the reach of your pets, preferably in closed cabinets. Remind holiday guests to store their medications safely as well. Pain killers, cold medicines, anti-cancer drugs, antidepressants, vitamins, and diet pills are common examples of human medication that could be potentially lethal even in small dosages. One regular-strength ibuprofen tablet (200mg) can cause stomach ulcers in a 10-pound dog.
During the holidays many veterinary clinics have limited office hours. In some cases, pet owners try to medicate their animals without their veterinarian’s advice. Never give your animal any medications unless under the directions of a veterinarian. Many medications that are used safely in humans can be deadly when used inappropriately. Less than one regular strength acetaminophen tablet (325mg) can be dangerous to a cat weighing 7 pounds.
— Other Winter Hazards —
Antifreeze has a pleasant taste. Unfortunately, very small amounts can be lethal. As little as one teaspoon of antifreeze can be deadly to a cat; less than one tablespoon can be deadly to a 10-pound dog. Thoroughly clean up any spills, store antifreeze in tightly closed containers and store in secured cabinets. If you think your pet has consumed antifreeze, contact your veterinarian right away!
Liquid potpourris are popular household fragrances commonly used during the holiday season. Pets are often exposed to liquid potpourri by direct ingestion from simmer pots or spills, by rubbing against leaky bottles or simmer pots containing the potpourri, or from spilling the containers upon themselves. Oral exposures result during grooming. Exposure of pets to some types of liquid potpourris can result in severe oral, dermal and ocular damage.
Ice melting products can be irritating to skin and mouth. Depending on the actual ingredient of the ice melt and the quantity, signs of ingestion would include excessive drooling, depression, vomiting or even electrolyte imbalances.
Rat and mouse killers are used more commonly during colder weather. When using rat and mouse bait, place the products in areas that are inaccessible to your companion animals.
Don’t Laugh At least nine different species of toads can poison a curious dog
Over 10,000 snake bites of domestic animals occur annually in this country. Statistics show that dogs are bitten ten times more frequently than humans. In the northern states, this is not as big of a problem as it is in the southern, more temperate climates. We lived in Florida for years in a rural area and my husband and children spent much time in the woods and small streams. We had three different occassions when our dogs were bitten by snakes. Luckily, they were all bit in the extremities, which immediately swelled. The dogs all survived, although we did lose a couple of cats this way. Once again, if you suspect a bite of some sort to your pet, contact your vet immediately.
Although very uncommon, we have heard of at least two cases where small puppies or dogs were carried away by predatory birds. We recently placed a Yorkie puppy in a home where the previous dog was lost due to a hawk carrying it off. This is something to watch out for with your small animals.
Although not a problem in the north, it is not unusual to hear of an alligator coming into a yard and pulling a dog into the water. I am personally aware of this happening a half a dozen times when we lived in Florida. A good friend of mine was sitting in his condominium having breakfast with his wife and they had a poodle on a yard screw in their back yard. They heard the dog yipe and looked up just in time to see a 6-7 foot gator drag their pet into the water. A barking dog is known to be one of the best ways to attract alligators.
— Pesticides —
Make sure your pets do not go on lawns or in gardens treated with fertilizers, herbicides or insecticides until the time listed on the label by the manufacturer. If you are uncertain about the usage of any product, contact the manufacturer for clarification before using it. Always store pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides in areas that are inaccessible to your pets. The most serious problems resulting from fertilizer ingestion in pets is usually due to the presence of heavy metals such as iron. Ingestion of large amounts of fertilizer could cause severe gastric upset and possibly gastrointestinal obstruction.
The most dangerous forms of pesticides include: snail bait containing metaldehyde, fly bait containing methomyl, systemic insecticides containing disyston or disulfaton, zinc phosphide containing mole or gopher bait and most forms of rat poisons. When using pesticides place the products in areas that are totally inaccessible to your companion animals. Always store pesticides in secured areas.