Category Archives: Safety Tips

Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s Top Canine Christmas Calamaties

The 2016 holiday season is here, and with the festive spirit also comes some special consideration for dog owners (come back next week for Holiday Hazards for Cats).

What would the holidays be without all the tasty treats?!  Many people are giving or receiving baked goods during the holidays, which depending on the ingredients can pose a health risk to your fur babies.  Most of us know by this point to watch out for chocolate and xylitol, but some others we might not be quite so familiar with are: raw bread dough, grapes, raisins, alcohol, and onions.

  • Overindulgence, while often originally well-intentioned, can cause severe gastrointestinal upset that may require your pet to be hospitalized.  You can try to prevent this by pre-emptively giving out some of your dog’s treats or dog food to guests to eliminate those fatty, spicy, yummy human foods and bones.

    KAH technician Katie's own Maddie says, "Pointsettias will cause GI upset (vomiting, nausea, etc.) in pets who decide to have a taste!"

    KAH technician Katie’s own Maddie says, “Pointsettias will cause GI upset (vomiting, nausea, etc.) in pets who decide to have a taste!”

  • Holiday plants- poinsettias, mistletoe, holly, lilies, and pine trees- all help to fill the home with bright colors and festive smells during the holiday season.  Mistletoe can be very toxic to animals.  Poinsettia is a holiday favorite most people falsely think of as being extremely toxic, although it can still be quite irritating to our pet’s GI systems.
  • Be sure to check to make sure any water additive for your Christmas tree is pet friendly.
  • There are often large numbers of visitors throughout the holiday season, and pets can consume medications that family and friends have brought with them. Dogs can be very curious and suitcases and luggage can be an interesting new thing for them to nose through and many are not above chomping or eating medications.

    Many medications safe for humans can be dangerous for pets. Even pet medications can be hazardous if the pet overdoses!

    Many medications safe for humans can be dangerous for pets. Even pet medications can be hazardous if the pet overdoses!

  • People often have their medications with them- sometimes even all the medications mixed together in a bag or a daily pill organizer. Keeping all medications closed in a cabinet can help keep you dog safe.  Also, asking visitors take medication in a room separate from the pets can be prudent too- this way if a pill is dropped it can be located again before your dog has a chance to eat it.
  • Traveling with a list of your medication’s name, milligrams, and the number of pills you have can be extremely helpful in an emergency ingestion situation.
  • KAH assistant Robin's Jacoby proves that curiosity isn't just for cats! Garlands, ornaments, and lights can be hazardous to unsupervised furry friends.

    KAH assistant Robin’s Jacoby proves that curiosity isn’t just for cats! Garlands, ornaments, and lights can be hazardous to unsupervised furry friends.

    Finally, ornaments, lights, and electrical cords can be enticing for your four legged friends to play with and/or chew. The dangers associated with your dogs’ playing with these can include: lacerations, electrical shock, and foreign body ingestion.

While you cannot always prevent emergencies from happening, we hope this list helps keep your pets safe and happy during the holidays.  It can be very helpful to have your veterinarian’s phone number as well as a local emergency hospital phone number pre-programmed into your phone, so if there is an emergency you are prepared. The veterinarians and veterinary staff here at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick, MD wish you and your fur babies a happy holiday season!

Halloween Safety Tips

No Scaredy Cats This Halloween: Top 10 Safety Tips for Pet Parents
Attention, animal lovers, it’s almost the spookiest night of the year! The ASPCA recommends taking some common sense precautions this Halloween to keep you and your pet saying “trick or treat!” all the way to November 1.
 
1. No tricks, no treats: That bowl of candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for Scruffy and Fluffy. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause problems. If you do suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 
 
2. Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively nontoxic, but they can produce stomach upset in pets who nibble on them.
 
3. Wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations should be kept out of reach of your pets. If chewed, your pet might suffer cuts or burns, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.
 
4. A carved pumpkin certainly is festive, but do exercise caution if you choose to add a candle. Pets can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Curious kittens especially run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames.

5. Dress-up can be a big mess-up for some pets. Please don’t put your dog or cat in a costume UNLESS you know he or she loves it (yup, a few pets are real hams!). For pets who prefer their “birthday suits,” however, wearing a costume may cause undue stress.

6. If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume isn’t annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict the animal’s movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow. Also, be sure to try on costumes before the big night. If your pet seems distressed, allergic or shows abnormal behavior, consider letting him go au naturale or donning a festive bandana.
 
7. Take a closer look at your pet’s costume and make sure it does not have small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that he could choke on. Also, ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.
 
8. All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room away from the front door during peak trick-or-treating hours. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pets.

9. When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, take care that your cat or dog doesn’t dart outside.
 
10. IDs, please! Always make sure your dog or cat has proper identification. If for any reason your pet escapes and becomes lost, a collar and tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver, increaing the chances that he or she will be returned to you

Halloween Safety Tips


Halloween can be a fun time of year for the whole family – even your dog. However, there are also many potential dangers and sources of stress for your dog. Just remember to keep your dog safe from these Halloween hazards.

Halloween Candy and Other Treats

Remember that human treats are not usually good for dogs! Candy – especially chocolate – can be extremely toxic to your dog. Artificially sweetened candy, gum and other goodies may also contain xylitol, a highly toxic substance. Dogs may also ingest food wrappers, causing a risk of choking, upset stomach or gastrointestinal blockage. Various party snacks can be too salty and may contain ingredients that can poison your dog. Alcoholic beverages and dogs do not mix – they pose a significant risk of severe illness or even death! Keep all of these “human goodies” far out of your dog’s reach. If you are not positive that you can keep your dog away from these hazards, then consider confining your pet to another area of your home during the festivities. Keeping appropriate dog treats around for your dog can be a great idea, but remember not to overfeed. Sliced carrots or apples (hold the caramel) can be tasty and healthy snack alternatives for people and dogs alike!

Halloween Decorations

Your dog is bound to be curious about new objects around the house, and that includes Halloween decorations. Be sure decorations are not in areas where your dog could ingest them or bump into them. Power cords trip your dog or lead to electrical shock if chewed. Be careful with the placement of jack-o-lanterns – have you ever seen a dog eat a whole pumpkin? It is not pretty! Also, candles can be knocked over, potentially burning your dog and/or starting a fire. Other decorations can be eaten or broken, causing serious harm to your dog. Have fun and decorate – just think about your dog first!

Trick-or-Treaters and other Guests

Though many dogs love visitors, some can become fearful of strangers. Many dogs will even be afraid of people they know if those people are in costumes. Plus, constant ringing of the doorbell might get your dog over-excited or very stressed out. Think about your dog’s typical reaction to visitors and take extra precautions for Halloween. Keep your dog at a distance when greeting trick-or-treaters by putting up an baby gate or confining her to another area of the home. When inviting guests into your home, introduce them to your dog in a positive manner. If your dog seems afraid of guests in costumes, remove her from the situation calmly. During parties and loud gatherings, your dog might do best in another area of your home unless she is used to these types of events and has done well in the past.

Halloween Costumes for Dogs

Some dogs really enjoy getting dressed in costumes- they might ham it up and revel in the attention. Other dogs can become scared or uncomfortable in clothing of any type. If you want to dress your dog up, start simple and see how she handles it. If she does not like it, then don’t push the issue. Try a Halloween bandanna or collar instead. If your dog does seem to enjoy getting dressed up, be certain you choose a costume that fits comfortably. If it is too tight, it could cut off circulation or cause sores to develop. Loose-fitting outfits can trip your dog or get caught on objects around the house. Because of these potential dangers, never leave your dog unattended in the costume. She could become injured or may ingest parts of the costume and choke, become sick, or develop gastrointestinal blockage.

Outdoor Dangers

I personally feel that unsupervised dogs are best kept indoors year-round, though some dogs will do fine living outdoors alone. However, the rules are different during the Halloween season! It is extremely crucial that you keep your dog indoors unless directly supervised. Sadly, there are cruel people who have twisted ideas of fun this time of year – and your dog can be the victim. Though it is more widely know that black cats are targeted during Halloween, any household pet can be at risk and MUST be kept indoors!

Your dog can be part of Halloween fun if you play it safe. As always, follow common dog safety rules: be certain that your dog wears current identification at all times, keep your dog on a leash when outdoors, and keep her safe from potentially dangerous situations. Have fun, be safe and have a happy Halloween!

No Scaredy Cats This Halloween: Top 10 Safety Tips for Pet Parents


Attention, animal lovers, it’s almost the spookiest night of the year! The ASPCA recommends taking some common sense precautions this Halloween to keep you and your pet saying “trick or treat!” all the way to November 1.

1. No tricks, no treats: That bowl of candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for Scruffy and Fluffy. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause problems. If you do suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

2. Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively nontoxic, but they can produce stomach upset in pets who nibble on them.

3. Wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations should be kept out of reach of your pets. If chewed, your pet might suffer cuts or burns, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.

4. A carved pumpkin certainly is festive, but do exercise caution if you choose to add a candle. Pets can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Curious kittens especially run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames.

5. Dress-up can be a big mess-up for some pets. Please don’t put your dog or cat in a costume UNLESS you know he or she loves it (yup, a few pets are real hams!). For pets who prefer their “birthday suits,” however, wearing a costume may cause undue stress.

6. If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume isn’t annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict the animal’s movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow. Also, be sure to try on costumes before the big night. If your pet seems distressed, allergic or shows abnormal behavior, consider letting him go au naturale or donning a festive bandana.

7. Take a closer look at your pet’s costume and make sure it does not have small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that he could choke on. Also, ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.

8. All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room away from the front door during peak trick-or-treating hours. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pets.

9. When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, take care that your cat or dog doesn’t dart outside.

10. IDs, please! Always make sure your dog or cat has proper identification. If for any reason your pet escapes and becomes lost, a collar and tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver, increaing the chances that he or she will be returned to you

_ASPCA Halloween Pet Safety Tips. http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/pet-care-tips/halloween-safety-tips.aspx

Trick or Treat


Halloween can be a fun time of year for the whole family – even your dog. However, there are also many potential dangers and sources of stress for your dog. Just remember to keep your dog safe from these Halloween hazards.

Halloween Candy and Other Treats

Remember that human treats are not usually good for dogs! Candy – especially chocolate – can be extremely toxic to your dog. Artificially sweetened candy, gum and other goodies may also contain xylitol, a highly toxic substance. Dogs may also ingest food wrappers, causing a risk of choking, upset stomach or gastrointestinal blockage. Various party snacks can be too salty and may contain ingredients that can poison your dog. Alcoholic beverages and dogs do not mix – they pose a significant risk of severe illness or even death! Keep all of these “human goodies” far out of your dog’s reach. If you are not positive that you can keep your dog away from these hazards, then consider confining your pet to another area of your home during the festivities. Keeping appropriate dog treats around for your dog can be a great idea, but remember not to overfeed. Sliced carrots or apples (hold the caramel) can be tasty and healthy snack alternatives for people and dogs alike!

Halloween Decorations

Your dog is bound to be curious about new objects around the house, and that includes Halloween decorations. Be sure decorations are not in areas where your dog could ingest them or bump into them. Power cords trip your dog or lead to electrical shock if chewed. Be careful with the placement of jack-o-lanterns – have you ever seen a dog eat a whole pumpkin? It is not pretty! Also, candles can be knocked over, potentially burning your dog and/or starting a fire. Other decorations can be eaten or broken, causing serious harm to your dog. Have fun and decorate – just think about your dog first!

Trick-or-Treaters and other Guests

Though many dogs love visitors, some can become fearful of strangers. Many dogs will even be afraid of people they know if those people are in costumes. Plus, constant ringing of the doorbell might get your dog over-excited or very stressed out. Think about your dog’s typical reaction to visitors and take extra precautions for Halloween. Keep your dog at a distance when greeting trick-or-treaters by putting up an baby gate or confining her to another area of the home. When inviting guests into your home, introduce them to your dog in a positive manner. If your dog seems afraid of guests in costumes, remove her from the situation calmly. During parties and loud gatherings, your dog might do best in another area of your home unless she is used to these types of events and has done well in the past.

Halloween Costumes for Dogs

Some dogs really enjoy getting dressed in costumes- they might ham it up and revel in the attention. Other dogs can become scared or uncomfortable in clothing of any type. If you want to dress your dog up, start simple and see how she handles it. If she does not like it, then don’t push the issue. Try a Halloween bandanna or collar instead. If your dog does seem to enjoy getting dressed up, be certain you choose a costume that fits comfortably. If it is too tight, it could cut off circulation or cause sores to develop. Loose-fitting outfits can trip your dog or get caught on objects around the house. Because of these potential dangers, never leave your dog unattended in the costume. She could become injured or may ingest parts of the costume and choke, become sick, or develop gastrointestinal blockage.

Summer Safety Tips


Hot weather can make us all uncomfortable, and it poses special risks for your dog. Keep the following safety concerns in mind as the temperature rises, and follow our tips to keep your dog cool.

Heat Hazards
If your dog is outside on a hot day, make sure he has a shady spot to rest in. Doghouses are not good shelter during the summer as they can trap heat. You may want to fill a child’s wading pool with fresh water for your dog to cool off in.

Never leave your dog in a closed vehicle on a hot day. The temperature inside a car can rise to over 100 degrees in a matter of minutes.

Always provide plenty of cool, fresh water.

Avoid strenuous exercise on extremely hot days. Take walks in the early mornings or evenings, when the sun’s heat is less intense.

Try to avoid prolonged exposure to hot asphalt or sand, which can burn your dog’s paws.

Dogs that are brachycephalic (short-faced), such as Bulldogs, Boxers, Japanese Chins, and Pekingese, have an especially hard time in the heat because they do not pant as efficiently as longer-faced dogs. Keep your brachycephalic dog inside with air-conditioning.

written by The American Kennel Club www.akc.org

Have a Safe and Happy Halloween!


Things to Watch For on Halloween

Halloween is a fun time for kids and many adults, but can be a frightening and stressful time for your pets. As a pet owner, you know your pet best, but here are some points to consider for your pet’s safety.

•Continual doorbell ringing and people at the door (in costume, no less!) can be stressful for a pet. Some pets may experience stress-related diarrhea or potentially injure themselves if crated or otherwise contained. Keep your pet in a quiet and safe place on Halloween.

•Strangers in costume – some animals may become unexpectedly aggressive or fearful, even normally friendly pets.

•Candles and Jack-O’-Lanterns within a pet’s range are a fire hazard. Wagging tails and frightened cats zooming through the house can easily tip over a candle or carved pumpkin, causing burns or a fire.

•Keep your pets indoors on Halloween night, especially black cats. Animals are at risk for cruel treatment by some Halloween pranksters. Many adoption agencies and humane societies will not allow adoption of black cats around Halloween for this reason.

•Candy – For many people, Halloween = candy. Many pets have a sweet tooth. Please warn children not to share their goodies with the family pet.

Candy Concerns
Candies, gums, mints, baked goods and chocolate containing the “sugar free” sweetener xylitol are especially poisonous, causing rapid hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and liver failure in dogs and possibly other species (ferrets).

Chocolate is toxic to pets. Granted, a 50 pound dog would have to eat about 50 ounces of milk chocolate (but only 5 ounces of baking chocolate) for a toxic dose, but much smaller amounts can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Signs of chocolate toxicity include tremors, nervousness, vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, and in severe cases, seizures and death. If you suspect that your pet has eaten chocolate, consult your veterinarian.

Other candies, such as lollipops and those with plastic components, pose a danger if ingested. Lollipop sticks and plastic parts can cause intestinal obstruction and potentially rupture the intestines, which is a life-threatening emergency.

Look at the variety of pet costumes! How can I resist?
Halloween costumes for pets have been around for many years. This year, however, I am finding them everywhere; even in the grocery store! While the costumes can be entertaining for the human counterparts, caution is advised before dressing your pet up.

•While viewed as fun and adorable for some pet owners, caution is advised when putting a costume on a pet. A pet in costume should NEVER be left alone and unsupervised.

•Tight elastics on the costumes can get lost in the pet’s hair, potentially causing owners to overlook them, leading to swelling and pain in the area of the elastic.

•Some pets, if left alone in costume, may chew it up and ingest it. This could cause intestinal obstruction if more than small shreds of material are consumed.

•If the costumed pet escapes or is frightened away, the costume could entangle the pet on trees, fences, etc.

Pet clothing for safety and fun

Consider reflective collars and gear for pets (and people) – a great safety item for Halloween and all year-round. For more information on pet clothing, please see the related article: Should your pet wear clothes? Does your pet wear clothes on Halloween or any other time? You are invited to vote in the poll and see how your pet’s wardrobe compares with other viewer’s pets.

Play it safe and enjoy Halloween

With a little caution and some common sense, Halloween can be a fun time for kids and pets alike. If any acts of animal cruelty are seen or suspected, please call your local shelter or animal authorities. Happy and safe Halloween to everyone