Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Keep Your Pets Save: Top 10 Pet Poisons & Toxins

According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) in Urbana, IL, more than 167,000 phone calls came in last year about pets being exposed to possible poisons or toxins.

Did you know that both known and unknown toxins can be found hiding in your home and yard?

Human Medications
Human medications were one of the top pet toxins for 2010. Almost 25 percent of calls concerned human medications accidentally ingested by pets. The most common culprits include over-the-counter medications (ibuprofen, acetaminophen), antidepressants and ADHD medications.

About 20% of the calls to the APCC are about insecticides. Insecticides are commonly used on our pets for flea control and around our houses to control crawling and flying bugs. The most serious poisonings occurred when products not labeled for use in cats were applied to them. Always follow label directions.

Baits used to kill mice and rats are mostly grain based. Not only does this attract rodents, but it attracts dogs and cats. There are several different types of rodenticides that can cause seizures, internal bleeding or kidney failure. Always make sure these items are placed in areas that pets cannot access.

People Food
Xylitol, grapes, raisins, onions and garlic are commonly ingested by our pets. Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs, while onions and garlic can cause anemia if enough is ingested. Xylitol, a sugar alcohol used to sweeten sugar free gums and mints, can cause low blood sugar and liver failure in dogs.

Veterinary Medications
Many medications made for our pets are flavored for ease of giving. Unfortunately, that means that animals may ingest the entire bottle of medication if they find it tasty. Common chewable medications include arthritis & incontinence medications. Contact your veterinarian if your pet ingests more than his proper dose of medication.

Chocolate contains methylxanthines, which act as stimulants to our pets. The darker the chocolate, the more methylxanthines it contains. Methylxanthines can cause agitation, vomiting, diarrhea, high heart rate, muscle tremors, seizures and death.

Household Toxins
Cleaning supplies, such as bleach, acids, alkalis and other detergents, can cause corrosive injury to the mouth and stomach. Other household items such as batteries and liquid potpourri can cause similar problems. Always keep these toxins behind securely locked doors.

Both house plants and outdoor plants can be ingested by our pets. Lilies can cause life-threatening kidney failure in cats, while sago palms can cause liver failure in dogs and cats. Keep house plants and bouquets away from your pets.

Many herbicides have a salty taste, and our pets will commonly ingest them. Always follow label directions and keep pets off treated areas until they are dry.

Outdoor Toxins
Antifreeze, fertilizers and ice melts are all substances that animals can find outdoors. Keep these items in securely locked sheds or on high shelves where pets cannot get to them.
If you have any reason to suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please contact your local vet or the Animal Poison Control Center’s 24-hour hotline at (888) 426-4435.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Our Newest Family Member

Two days ago, my daughter brought home a very adorable surprise! Her name is Minnie, she weighs about 6 pounds from what little we know, she’s a Chihuahua Wire Fox Terrier. 

Long story short, her owner couldn’t keep her, gave her to a neighbor but neighbor had too many small children who were rough with her. My daughter heard the puppy was going to the pound cause no one wanted her, so she brought Minnie home…

I have to admit at first I wasn’t too sure if I could take in another animal and my top priority is my own rescued dog who is a bit neurotic and somewhat territorial. I didn’t want any behavioral problems developing or any jealous fights breaking out, but I said I would give the puppy a chance.

bathing & caring for new puppy
When Minnie finally arrived, we bathed her, fed her and made her a warm place to sleep. The puppy ran all around the living room, wagging her tail, jumping in our laps and giving us puppy kisses! Her delightful personality won my heart over right away, but my own dog, Terra, was not happy at all!

She gave a low disdainful growl and glared at the puppy intently while her “mohawk” stood up in fear /anger!

I knew it was the wrong way to make this introduction but it was cold & late at night and we couldn’t have a “chance” meeting at the park on neutral ground.

According to the Humane Society, “puppies usually pester adult dogs unmercifully. Before the age of four months, puppies may not recognize subtle body postures from adult dogs signaling that they've had enough.”

aggressive behavior toward puppy
So when the two of them ran amok in the living room, puppy trying to nibble on big dog’s tail and big dog getting extremely temperamental, I separated them immediately and took control of the situation before it escalated.

Many people worry about adopting a second pet. They don’t think they can handle the aggression, the biting and the disobeying nor do they have the patience & knowledge to make the transition easier.

In fact, after watching Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer, I knew that the most important thing in a dog family is to be the “leader of the pack” and to always have a calm assertive personality!
 2 rescue dogs
When the tension had subsided, I reintroduced them and allowed them to “sniff” each other in a friendly but controlled environment. Although Terra was reluctant to make friends right away, I could tell that she was trusting enough with my guidance to give it another try.

I know they won’t be bosom buddies any time soon, but I trust in myself to diffuse an alarming situation before it becomes an issue. Dogs need an Alpha Dog and a steady routine to follow & respect.

Fortunately, I’m a stay-at-home mom which is a big advantage for my rescued animals. I can take care of them, train them and give them the attention & love that they need on a dependable schedule. This includes giving my older dog enough quiet time for herself and making sure  her  routine isn’t too seriously interrupted.

It’s important to say that small cats & dogs make good companions and people who live with pets tend to live a longer & much richer life. If you’ve ever considered having a pet, please check your local animal shelter first. There are so many abandoned paws & whiskers, both breed and non-breed that would love to come home with you and give you unconditional joy and sweet snuggles!

As for our newest “furry” family member, we can already see a future full of possibilities… We have saved the soul of a very innocent & loving animal, given our older dog a friend to play & bond with, and have rewarded ourselves with the notion that we’ve done our part of a very unselfish deed!

Minnie is here to stay!!! Welcome Home, Puppy!!!

new puppy rescued dog

Animal Rescue

I am quite passionate about rescuing and adopting animals, especially dogs.

I belong to the ASPCA, the Humane Society of America, and I also Click to Feed pets at The Animal Rescue Site.

Besides rescuing, fostering or adopting dogs in my home, I also like to promote ideas like controlling pet population (spay & neuter), training & obedience, healthy eating (read dog food labels!), and how to find the right pet for your family.

I often talk about my own dogs, behavioral problems, going to the vet and spending time playing & exercising with my pets.

If you would like to write something as a guest blogger on this subject, email me your Google profile name, so I can give you posting rights. Please have your post ready to copy & paste into the 'new post' editor and make sure your name, email & return link to your website are also included.

What is Your Dog’s Tail Saying?

Dogs have a great communication tool, one that many people don’t know about. Most pet owners are taken aback by a dog’s snarl before they give any notice to the dog’s “antenna”…. The Tail!

The tail, more so than the ears, tell many things about what a dog is feeling at the moment. As dog owners, the first (and best known) tail trait we notice is the happy, wagging tail.

But the more confident your dog becomes, the more it can tell you with its tail. According to these are some very distinct movements and shapes of doggy tails you should be aware of.

Here is a list of dependable dog expressions:

■Relaxed tail: Relaxation and comfort.
■Hanging horizontal but not stiff: A sign of attention. The dog sees something interesting.
■Hanging horizontal but stiff: The dog is confronting an intruder or someone or something unknown.
■Upright tail: This is a sign of authority of a dog that shows itself dominant.
■Upright tail and turned over the back: shows trust and self-control.
■Downward and close to the hind legs: If its extremities are rigid and it wags its tail slightly, it shows "I'm not feeling well". If its legs are slightly bent it's a sign on insecurity.
■Tail hidden between its legs: Fear or submission.
■Raised tail and slow and rhythmic movement: The dog is on guard.
■Wagging lightly: Is their normal welcome.
■Wagging with broad circles: "I like you". When two dogs are mock fighting this movement confirms it's a game.
■Wagging at a slow speed: When it's being trained it means "I'm trying to understand you, I want to know what you're saying but I don't understand yet". Once it finally understands, the dog wags its tail faster.
■Short and slow movements: Shows that it's pleased. Sometimes its only wags its tail a few times when it's on the floor.
■Wagging fast: Excitement to a desired activity or object.



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