Keeping Our Companions Safe

Posted by Pia

I'd hate to make worry warts out of us doting pet parents but I thought the safety tips below might be useful to DW readers.  As a concerned mother to my furry kids, I always want to be in the know on this sort of stuff.

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Be sure to check out what is OK for Fido to eat.
Photo by Paul Morse

1 Be sure to check out what is OK for Fido to eat. Photo by Paul Morse

Guido

String can be hazardous to companion animals.

2 Guido String can be hazardous to companion animals.

Zelda

Many flowers an plants are toxic.

3 Zelda Many flowers an plants are toxic.

Photo by Paul Morse

4 Photo by Paul Morse

Rock

5 Rock

Eldon, a goat from Tillamook, Oregon, celebrates his 9th birthday goat-style.

6 Eldon, a goat from Tillamook, Oregon, celebrates his 9th birthday goat-style. "Every year I make him a party hat and cupcakes," says GrannieHale. "I think he likes the cupcake liner better than the cupcake. Eldon has been a great joy in my life. I would not know what to do with out him."

Rubble

Some indulgences are ok but be sure to check  before sharing your dinner.

7 Rubble Some indulgences are ok but be sure to check before sharing your dinner.

Buckley

Fun is important but within limits.

8 Buckley Fun is important but within limits.

Photo by Paul Morse

9 Photo by Paul Morse

Spunky

10 Spunky

Sophie

11 Sophie

Carmen Miranda, seen here dressed at her namesake might like to wear grapes on her head but best to watch her closely as grapes and raisins are extremely toxic if ingested.

12 Carmen Miranda, seen here dressed at her namesake might like to wear grapes on her head but best to watch her closely as grapes and raisins are extremely toxic if ingested.

Dorothy

String may be fun but never let a kitty play with it unsupervised.

13 Dorothy String may be fun but never let a kitty play with it unsupervised.

Always call a wildlife rehabilitator when coming across wildlife in danger,

14 Always call a wildlife rehabilitator when coming across wildlife in danger,

Bunnies are vegetarian. Do not give them meat.

15 Bunnies are vegetarian. Do not give them meat.

They love apples and most produce.

16 They love apples and most produce.

While the following list does not include all hazards, you may be surprised to find some items on there.  It includes prescription and over-the-counter medications, certain foods, and dangers such as spiders and snakes. It is important to put an emergency plan in place for managing such issues, especially if you are camping with your pooch or otherwise far from home.

Thanks to veterinarian Angie Delillo for this information.

Dangerous Foods (Dogs and Cats):

  • Onions (and onion powder)
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Xylitol sweetener (found in sugar-free candy and gum)
  • Chocolate (cocoa)
  • Cooked bones from chicken, steak and other meats (not toxic but can cause choking and splintering in throat and stomach)
  • Bunnies should NOT get meat of any kind, they are vegetarians.

Medications

  • Tylenol: lethal to cats. 1 Tylenol tablet can kill a feline.
  • Aspirin: toxic to cats but not toxic to dogs unless in very high doses.
  • Ibuprofen products such as Aleve, Advil and Motrin: extremely toxic to dogs and cats.
  • Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Many human medications (e.g., birth control pills)

Bites

  • Brown recluse spider
  • Copperhead snake

Household Chemicals and Objects

  • Snail and slug bait
  • Anti-freeze, which often drips from car engines in winter and has a sweet tastes
  • Thread, string, dental floss, fishing line and yarn are very dangerous to cats.
  • Cocoa Mulch (a substance often used in gardening)
  • Thin plastic grocery store bags, which can cause obstruction if ingested
  • Poinsettias and all kinds of lilies (For a list of other hazardous flowers and plants, visit  aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/)
  • Glue traps
  • Poisons to kill rodents, slugs and insects

Remember also that a cat, dog or any wildlife can be also poisoned by ingesting a rodent that has ingested the poison).  There are many more humane, natural and far more effective ways to manage pests.

Summer's heat can be more dangerous than we might think.  Never leave a pet alone in a car even with windows open or cracked.  The risks of doing so are serious and not always immediately visible.  Often the effects of such heat are not reversible once certain internal temperatures are reached.  Similarly, do not leave a pet chained outside (illegal in many states) and do not tie a leashed dog to your bike as you ride: You can pedal farther than a dog can run, and heat exhaustion is also a danger.

Another thing to keep in mind in our travels, is that it is best to contact a wildlife rescue or rehabilitator right away before attempting to feed or move wildlife that appears to be abandoned or injured.  Sadly our best intentions can result in doing more harm than good, so the guidance of a wildlife expert can be truly life saving.

And lastly, always provide fresh water and shade or keep companion animals indoors.  Make sure to offer water to pooches when hiking or even just during a summer stroll.  Fido may not always tug at your sleeve to let you know he needs hydration.

In kinship,

Dr. Pia Salk

Thanks again to photographer Paul Morse (paulmorsephotographs.com) and those of you who have participated in Martha's pet photo contests.

Comments (4)

  • Hi Dr. Pia, Thanks again for another important blog. Every pet owner needs to follow these instruction to protect their pets from any harm. Another good food rule to follow would be the one Tracy Hotchner always advised for cat owners-Do not feed cats fruits and vegetables because they are 'obligate carnivores'. I watch my little dog, Dudley Do Right all the time to prevent him from doing anything dangerous. Thanks again. Jan

  • I am 100% agreed with your list of things not to give to animals. My rule: People food is for people, not pets. While most of this is common sense to most, it is always good to remind people.

    However, that's not why I'm leaving this comment.

    Picture 5 of 17, "Rock", is why I'm leaving this comment. You'd think on a Martha Stewart website you'd have a little more respect. Not only is the flag touching the ground, but someone obviously gave their dog a flag as a chew toy! I am in complete shock. I can't believe someone sent that picture in (and that it was allowed to be part of a pet contest!), let alone the fact someone posted it on this website. Cannot believe my eyes.

    As the girlfriend of a man serving our country who is currently deployed, and an America loving patriot; I request that you please remove that picture and let the owners of that dog know that they violated the flag code, and that they have shown a complete lack of respect and pride.

  • oh Spunky Bunny in the hammock photo is adorable!
    we saw many bunnies at the Fair yesterday, no water or fans in 90+ degree heat, it really upset me and I could not keep my mouth shut...after all they were 4H and should know better.
    I learned many things in the past year from Dr. Pia about poisonous plants and food...thanks for sharing!

  • Oh how adorable those sweet fur-friends! That bunny is a hoot!
    yes indeed, we have to keep our Companions Safe! :-)
    Thanks for sharing Dr.Pia!

    Hugs,
    delia & Kitty =^, ,^=

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