Pet Care & Safety info
Top Tips for Keeping Your Pet Healthy
Table of Contents
Top Tips for Keeping Your Pet Healthy:
- Feed your pet, regardless of species, high quality food for maximum nutrition and optimal weight. Don’t overfeed or allow pets to “pig” out. Certain breeds of dogs are susceptible to a condition known as twisted stomach, often brought on by overeating, then consuming large quantities of water causing bloat (see Canine Breed Specific Ailments on page 7).
- Keep those regular veterinary check-ups. Just as humans need to have routine tests to ensure good health, so do pets. In additional to regular vaccinations, pets also need dental care, de-worming, and depending upon where you live – heartworm medication.
- Keep your pets at home. Free-roaming dogs and cats are at risk from a variety of threats including cars, predators, disease, toxins, and other hazards. Contrary to popular belief, cats do not need to be outside in order to be happy. Provide them with a place sit beside a sunny window, and offer them cat grass suitable for munching. Spaying or neutering pets at an early age may help curb the desire to roam, and will definitely help prevent shredded screens and curtains from cats in heat.
- Regular exercise is another thing humans have in common with their pets. While dogs may be easier to take on walks, toss the Frisbee or ball to, cats should be encouraged to climb cat trees, chase crinkle balls or other appropriate cat dogs. Small caged pets also need access to wheels, tunnels, and adequate space to move around in.
- Early spay/neuter can help prolong your pet’s life in addition to preventing unwanted litters. Approximately 5 million cats, dogs, and small pets are euthanized every year in shelters through the U.S. because no one wants them. Do you part to end this unnecessary carnage by altering your pet. Spaying or neutering your pet can eliminate or reduce the risk of uterine cancer, testicular cancer, and a nasty, often fatal condition called pyometra.
- Mind the weather! Just as you require protection against the elements, so does your pet. Dogs may enjoy frolicking in the snow, but can suffer from frostbite on their paws. Don’t leave your dog outside in the cold! He or she is a member of the family and belongs inside, toasty warm like the rest of you.
- Research shows that humans and pets alike benefit from companionship and love. A little friendship can help defeat depression and improve the immune systems of pets and humans alike, and lower blood pressure as well. Don’t take your commitment to your pet lightly. Severing the human-animal bond for whatever reason can have profound, negative effects on both animal and human. Adoption of a pet should be a lifelong commitment!
- Bernese Mountain Dog: Histiocytic sarcoma (soft tissue cancer)
- Boxer: Lymphoma and brain cancer
- Chow Chow: Stomach cancer
- Cocker Spaniel: Lymphoma
- Collie: Nasal cancer
- English Springer Spaniel: Mammary gland cancer
- Flat-Coated Retriever: Bladder cancer and skin/mouth melanoma
- Golden Retriever: Lymphoma and hemangiosarcoma
- Greyhound: steosarcoma (bone)
- Labrador Retriever: Lymphoma and hemangiosarcoma
- Pug: Mast cell cancer (skin cancer)
- Rottweiler: Osteosarcoma
- Scottish Terrier: Bladder cancer and skin/mouth melanoma
- Shar-Pei: Mast cell cancer
Because some cancers, such as hemangiosarcoma, do not show symptoms until the disease has progressed, it is important to follow-through on annual veterinary check-ups. You are the best judge of what is or is not “normal” behavior for your pet. If you suspect something is wrong, ask your veterinarian to run additional tests.
Cancer affects cats and other domesticated animals as well, and while much has been written about canine cancer, cancer in felines is on the rise. The most common types of cancer affecting cats are lymphosarcoma, cancer affecting the lymphoid tissue in virtually any of the organs, squamous cell carcinoma, or skin cancer, and mammary tumors. Early spaying of female cats and dogs can greatly lessen the risk of mammary tumors later in life.
Once cancer has been diagnosed, the most common treatment options are surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. While cancer may offer the best chance of a cure, it is not an option if the cancer has already metastized. Early detection and treatment are the best weapons in the fight against veterinary cancer.
According to the Veterinary Cancer Society, cancer warning signs may include:
- persistent abnormal swelling
- sores that won’t heal
- loss of weight
- loss of appetite
- bleeding or discharge from any body opening
- offensive odor
- difficulty eating or swallowing
- loss of stamina
- reluctance to exercise
- persistent lameness or stiffness
- difficulty breathing, urinating, or defecating
Household Medications that are Safe for Pets:
Household medications not safe for pets
The following drugs can cause serious illness or death in your pet.
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol and all store brand versions of Tylenol)
- Alcohol – all kinds
- Phenolphtalein (laxative)
- Iron vitamin supplements
- Vitamin D supplements
- Asthma medications
- Drugs to control seizures
- Coffee and tea (caffeine is not good for pets)
- Cannabis or any illegal drugs
When in doubt, do not administer the drug or medication to your pets. Call your veterinarian or an emergency veterinary clinic for after-hours questions.
Human Foods Safe for Pets:
- Melons – watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew
- Shelled sunflower seeds
- Peanut butter
- Berries – fresh or frozen – blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, huckleberries, raspberries
- Cooked chicken*
- Scrambled eggs
- Carrots (dogs, horses – monitor for possible choking hazard)
- Bananas (safe for dogs)
- Apple slices (safe for dogs and cats)
- Green beans
**Avoid using onion or garlic as seasoning
Human Foods Unsafe for Pets:
- Raisins (highly toxic)
- Grapes (highly toxic)
- Chocolate (highly toxic)
- Bones from fish or poultry (choking hazard)
- Alcoholic beverages
- Apple seeds (toxic)
- Apricot pits (choking hazard)
- Cherry pits (choking hazard)
- Candy containing Xylitol – found in sugar-free candy and food products
- Coffee including grounds or beans
- Macadamia nuts
- Moldy foods
- Mustard seed
- Onions and onion powder (cats more sensitive)
- Garlic (in large quantities – cats more sensitive)
- Peach pits (choking hazard)
- Potato leaves and stems (green part of the potato)
- Rhubarb leaves
- Salt (in large quantities)
- Tomato leaves and stems (green parts)
- Yeast dough
- Citrus oils
- Raw eggs (may contain Salmonella)
- Raw meat (may contain Salmonella and E. Coli)
- Dried beans (toxic to birds)
Common Household Hazards:
- Drapery cords (choking hazard)
- Electrical cords (electrocution hazard)
- Venetian blinds (choking hazard)
- Unsecured heavy objects like TV’s, bookcases, entertainment units – may fall and seriously injure or kill pets or small children Falling out of windows, off decks, porches, balconies
- Holiday decorations including Christmas trees (falling hazard), lights (choking hazard), tinsel or garland (choking and intestinal blockage hazard), ornaments (broken glass)
- Small children may inadvertently injure small pets through rough play – always supervise!
- Allowing cats to roam outside – exposure to disease, toxins, predators, motor vehicles
- Allow dogs to ride unrestrained in the back of trucks – serious injury or death from falling out
- Collar strangulation accidents in dogs and cats. Use break-away collars! Visit www.keepsafecollar.com for additional information.
Common Household Toxins:
- Human medications
- Human food
- Veterinary medications
- Rodenticides (rodent poison)
- Household cleaning products
- Exposure to heavy metals in paint chips, linoleum, etc.
- Garden products such as fertilizer
- Chemical hazards such as antifreeze, paint thinner, drain cleaner, pool/spa chemicals, etc.
Canine Breed-Specific Ailments:
Common Feline Ailments: