This time of year deicing salt is almost everywhere we walk. Our pet’s paws can become very irritated from contacting these salts. After a walk, wipe or wash your pet’s paws to eliminate these irritations.
Valentine’s Day can be as much fun for pets as it is for humans if dangerous foods, flora and other items are kept out of paws’ reach. Each year our poison control experts see a rise in cases around February 14, many involving chocolate and lilies, a flower that’s potentially fatal to cats. So please heed our experts’ advice—don’t leave the goodies lying around on Lover’s Day.
Many pet owners are still unaware that all species of lily are potentially fatal to cats. When sending a floral arrangement, specify that it contain no lilies if the recipient has a cat—and when receiving an arrangement, sift through and remove all dangerous flora. If your pet is suffering from symptoms such as stomach upset, vomiting or diarrhea, he may have ingested an offending flower or plant. Use our online toxic and nontoxic plant libraries as visual guides of what and what not should be in your bouquets.
Seasoned pet lovers know the potentially life-threatening dangers of chocolate, including baker’s, semi sweet, milk and dark. In darker chocolates, methylxanthines—caffeine-like stimulants that affect gastrointestinal, neurologic and cardiac function—can cause vomiting/diarrhea, hyperactivity, seizures and an abnormally elevated heart rate. The high-fat content in lighter chocolates can potentially lead to a life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas. Go ahead and indulge, but don’t leave chocolate out for chowhounds to find.
Careful with Cocktails
Spilled wine, half a glass of champagne, some leftover liquor are nothing to cry over until a curious pet laps them up. Because animals are smaller than humans, a little bit of alcohol can do a lot of harm, causing vomiting, diarrhea, lack of coordination, central nervous system depression, tremors, difficulty breathing, metabolic disturbances and even coma. Potentially fatal respiratory failure can also occur if a large enough amount is ingested.
Life Is Sweet
So don’t let pets near treats sweetened with xylitol. If ingested, gum, candy and other treats that include this sweetener can result in a sudden drop in blood sugar known as hypoglycemia. This can cause your pet to suffer depression, loss of coordination and seizures.
Every Rose Has Its Thorn
Don’t let pets near roses or other thorny stemmed flowers. Biting, stepping on or swallowing their sharp, woody spines can cause serious infection if a puncture occurs. “It’s all too easy for pets to step on thorns that fall to the ground as a flower arrangement is being created,” says Dr. Louise Murray, Director of Medicine for the ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital. De-thorn your roses far away from pets.
Playing with Fire
It’s nice to set your evening a-glow with candlelight, but put out the fire when you leave the room. Pawing kittens and nosy pooches can burn themselves or cause a fire by knocking over unattended candles.
Wrap it Up
Gather up tape, ribbons, bows, wrapping paper, cellophane and balloons after presents have been opened—if swallowed, these long, stringy and “fun-to-chew” items can get lodged in your pet’s throat or digestive tract, causing her to choke or vomit.
The Furry Gift of Life?
Giving a cuddly puppy or kitten may seem a fitting Valentine’s Day gift—however, returning a pet you hadn’t planned on is anything but romantic. Companion animals bring with them a lifelong commitment, and choosing a pet for someone else doesn’t always turn out right. Those living in the Manhattan area can let their loved one choose their own cat with a gift certificate to adopt from the ASPCA. If you’re not from New York, check your local animal care facility or take a romantic trip to the shelter together.
Woof, it’s cold out there! So how come dogs’ paws don’t freeze up when they pad around on snow and ice – and what keeps dogs from minding the cold?
Japanese scientists say they’ve discovered why. First of all, they say in a new study published in the journal Veterinary Dermatology, dogs’ pads contain lots of fatty tissue – which doesn’t freeze as easily as other tissues. And the blood vessels in dogs’ feet are arranged in a way that lets them act like living heat exchangers: arteries in the paws are very close to networks of tiny veins (venules), facilitating the transfer of heat from venous to arterial blood.
When a paw is cooled by contact with frozen ground, warmth from the arteries in the paw is transferred to the venules. This helps keep the paw at a tolerable temperature. In addition, it warms the blood before it flows back to the body – thus helping keep the dog’s body temperature from falling uncomfortably low.
The so-called “counter-current” heat exchange mechanism sounds like a good one, and it’s not unique to canines. Similar systems are seen in other animals, including penguins and foxes, physorg.com reported. The finding suggests that dogs may have evolved in cold environments. Research has shown that dogs’ feet are protected from freezing even in temperatures as low as -35 Celsuis, according to the BBC.
The research, carried out by Dr. Hiroysho Ninomiya and colleagues at Tokyo’s Yamazaki Gakuen University, was conducted with the help of an electron microscope and four willing dogs.
The Huffington Post
Housing: Be sure to provide proper shelter for your pets. If yours is an indoor pet, his bed or crate should be kept in a warm, draft-free area, preferably eleveated slightly off the floor. If your pet is kept outdoors, proved a warm insulated pet house or shelter. The house should be elevated enough so that moisture cannot accumulate insude. If possible, provide a “door” (perhaps of canvas) to keep out the winter winds. If the wind chill or other weather conditions become severe, bring your pet inside.