Thanksgiving Do’s and Don’ts

Thanksgiiving dogThanksgiving is fast approaching.  A fun holiday for us and our family has the potential to be problematic for our pets.  Believe it or not the trouble can start while we are cooking, with pets trying to get scraps of food.

A ham or turkey may come wrapped in string that might seem delicious to your pet.  However, if they eat the string that the meat or poultry comes wrapped in, we will have Trouble with a capital T.  Most dogs just cannot resist the temptation.  Make sure the string is disposed of in a sealed container out of the dogs reach.  Eating string and other indigestible products can lead to an obstruction.

As the day moves on friends and family will be coming over.  There may be a lot of commotion, noise and people that are unfamiliar to your pet.  Please provide a safe place for your pet to hide and be left alone.  They need to have a quiet place to escape (just like we do), when it gets to be too much with food, water and a comfy bed.

Now that it is time to sit down and eat you may have the urge to feed your dog a special treat for Thanksgiving, they are part of the family right?  Yes, and No. Strange foods and diet changes are hazardous to your pets’ digestive system. These changes can potentially lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and a very sick pet.  Give only a small amount of table food on top or mixed in with your pets regular dinner.  Many foods are poisonous to pets, including but not limited to onions, garlic, chocolate, raisins and grapes. For a complete list of foods and household items that are dangerous or poisonous to pets please look at the. AVMA’s brochure and video.

Feeding your dog foods that are high in fat can lead the pancreas to overwork and become inflamed. This is serious and can be extremely painful.  Signs of pancreatitis include severe abdominal pain, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and depression. Hospitalization and intensive medical treatment are required.  Left untreated a severe case of pancreatitis can even result in death which we DO NOT want.

When the house is getting quiet and everyone is heading home please make sure your garbage can is on lock down.  If your dog or cat are able to get in and grab cooked bones we may have a big problem. Cooked bones that are chewed and swallowed can splinter, break and lodge in an animal’s throat or intestines with life-threatening consequences.  To ensure everyone remains healthy, make sure all leftovers are thrown away and out of your pets’ reach!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dangerous Toys

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Just because you see a toy in your local pet supply store does not mean that it is safe for your dog! Many toys that can be dangerous for your pet yet most pet owners are unaware of the damage they can cause.

  • Sticks and chicken bones can splinter and cause choking or vomiting. They can perforate the mouth, throat or intestine. Hard bones can damage teeth; bone is harder than the enamel on the teeth. Instead, use hard, non-splintering chew toys to play fetch or to allow your pet to gnaw.
  • Soft, latex toys can be shredded by a chewing pet. If the toy includes a squeaking mechanism, the squeaker can be easily swallowed or cause choking.
  • Towels, socks, underwear and other similar clothing or materials can be swallowed by a rambunctious pet, causing intestinal obstruction.
  • Some dogs like to chew on or eat rocks-bad idea! Rocks can cause broken teeth and serious intestinal obstruction if swallowed.
  • Be careful if you offer your pet rawhide, as these can also cause intestinal obstruction if swallowed, and some are preserved with arsenic, which is toxic to pets. Try using CET Enzymatic chews, great for chewing and keepstheir breath fresh and teeth clean.
  • String, yarn, thread, feathers and rubber bands often offer enticing play for cats, but these can be swallowed whole, possibly lodging in the intestinal tract and causing blockage. If only partially swallowed, this, too, can result in severe problems. If you ever see your kitty with string (or a similar object) caught in its mouth, NEVER try to pull it out. If the string is lodged internally, pulling it can cut the cat’s intestines, killing him. Instead, see your veterinarian immediately.
  • For birds, bells can be problematic. Most medium-sized or larger parrots can take apart a bell and choke on the clapper.

If you notice anything unusual about your pet’s behavior or health, call Steinway Court Vet right away. If a toy or part of a toy is swallowed, signs of problems (like intestinal upset or blockage) may occur within minutes or hours; other times, you may not notice anything unusual for days. The obstruction may pass through with no more signs than vomiting or diarrhea. Or it may cause blockage, in which case your pet may be constipated or not want to eat. If you even suspect that your pet has swallowed a foreign object, call us immediately. It’s also a good idea to bring with you any left over pieces of the swallowed/chewed up toy.

Used appropriately, many household and store-bought pet toys can provide hours of entertainment and exercise for your pet. It’s a good idea, however, to supervise your pet during play. Not only will this minimize the chance of accidents happening, but you’ll also be providing your pet with quality time spent with his or her favorite toy.

Do I have an Emergency with my pet?

Have you ever wondered if you have an Emergency and needs you to seek emergency care for your pet?  Here are a few emergencies that will need you to get to the nearest emergency clinic ASAP.  ANY concern about your pet’s health warrants, at minimum, a call to our office.  718-728-2822

  • Your pet isn’t breathing or you can’t feel a heartbeat.
  • Your pet is unconscious and won’t wake up.
  • Your pet has been vomiting or has had severe diarrhea for more than 24 hours, or she is vomiting blood.
  • You suspect any broken bones, lameness or inability to move leg(s).
  • Your pet is having trouble breathing or has something stuck in her throat.
  • Your pet has had or is having a seizure.
  • Your pet is bleeding from the eyes, nose, mouth or rectum, or there is blood in her urine or feces.
  • You think your pet might have ingested something toxic, Common pet toxinsinclude but are not limited to:
    • Rat poisons (D-con)
    • Chocolate
    • Prescription, over the counter or illegal drugs (BRING THE CONTAINER WITH YOU)
    • Artificial sweeteners (e.g. xylitol)
    • Nicotine
    • Household cleaners.
    • Antifreeze
    • Certain household plants (e.g. Easter lillies)
    • Any kind of medication that wasn’t prescribed.
    • Please bring the ingested product if possible with you.
    • Your pet, particularly your male cat, is straining to urinate, or is unable to.
    • Your pet shows signs of extreme pain, such as whining, shaking, and refusing to socialize.
    • Your pet collapses or suddenly can’t stand up.
    • Your pet begins bumping into things or suddenly becomes disoriented.
    • You can see irritation or injury to your pet’s eyes, or she suddenly seems to become blind.
    • Your pet’s abdomen is swollen and hard to the touch, and/or she’s gagging and trying to vomit.
    • restlessness, retching and abdominal swelling in large breed dogs
    • You see symptoms of heatstroke.
    • Refusing to eat or drink for more than 24 hours.
    • Your pregnant dog or cat has gone more than three to four hours between delivering puppies or kittens.

Most important, remember to trust your instincts. You know and love your pet, and you have the right to be worried if something seems wrong.

Xylitol Poisoning from sugarless gum and other products

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Xylitol is a naturally occurring carbohydrate that is found in fibrous vegetables and fruit.  This  includes  mushrooms, raspberries, strawberries, yellow plums, lettuce and cauliflower. In fruits and vegetables the amount found is miniscule therefore most Xylitol is made in the lab.

Xylitol is used instead of sugar because it helps reduce the development of dental caries and plaque formation as well as being  low in calories.  Xylitol is a common ingredient in sugar-free products such as sugar-free candy, chewing gum, baked goods, and oral hygiene products.    Xylitol also is an ingredient in many over-the-counter human drugs, such as chewable vitamins,  throat lozenges and sprays.

However it is nothing like sugar for our four legged dog friends.  . Unfortunately, many people are unaware that Xylitol, even in minute amounts is extremely toxic to dogs. When ingested in significant quantity, the toxin causes severe liver necrosis (destruction). The amounts necessary are surprisingly small.  Should a 10 pound dog ingest a stick and a half of sugarless gum,  it is sufficient to cause life-threatening liver failure.

If you notice that you dog ate sugarless gum or another product that contains Xylitol seek immediate medical care!  Dogs with this intoxication should be presented as soon as possible to a veterinarian for evaluation of liver function  via blood work.  If the ingestion is noticed quickly, the  therapy would include  inducing vomiting.  If it is caught  late, agents may be given orally to try and bind the Xylitol in the gut. Supportive care with intravenous fluids, antibiotics to prevent secondary bacterial hepatitis, and mucosal protectants may aid in recuperation.

Sadly, most of the time, however, dogs simply present with sudden onset liver failure. which can make the diagnosis difficult and delay onset of treatment if the owner does not know about the ingestion of the gum.

Please keep this and other hazards away from your dog.

Curious about Xylitol and other household hazards?  Watch this.

ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435

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