How to Protect Your Pet from Getting Into Your Medication

Prevent Your Pet
 
The Pet Poison Helpline reports that approximately half the calls it receives each month are from a frantic pet owner whose dog, cat, or other animal got into medication meant for people. This includes both prescription and non-prescription drugs. To help curb the number of emergencies, the organization came up with several useful tips for pet parents.
 
It’s hard to see your beloved pet in pain, which may tempt you to reach for your own medication to help him feel better. However, animals should never take any medication that our veterinarians haven’t cleared and should not take human medication at all. While you want your pet to feel better, giving him an unapproved drug could aggravate the situation even more. It’s better to call us for an immediate appointment if your pet seems to be in a lot of pain. 
 
Keep All Medications Out of Your Pet’s Reach
A common mistake pet owners make is to place their pills into a plastic bag for convenience and then leave them in a place their pet can find them. Dogs and cats are naturally curious and will stiff, tear, and claw at the bag until it opens. The pills seem like a treat to them, which means that just saying “no” might not be enough. Some pets simply have no resistance around something they perceive as a treat.
 
The Pet Poison Helpline also recommends storing medication for the human and animal members of your family in separate locations. With several pill bottles, it’s easy to mix up who should get what. Not only could your pet get a pill meant for humans, you could take something intended for animals. If you use a pill organizer, keep it on a high shelf and in an area that your pet can’t smell it and let her curiosity get the best of her.
 
Purses and backpacks should not be left lying around the house where your pet can get into them, whether there’s medication inside or not. Your pet could easily find and swallow the contents. Anything with a strong smell, such as breath mints, are especially attractive to your dog or cat. If you have pill bottles inside, it wouldn’t take much for your pet to chew holes in them.
 
Most Common Human Medications Consumed by Companion Animals
The Pet Poison Helpline reports that pets chew or swallow these human medications most often:
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) such as ibuprofen and naproxen
  • Acetaminophen, including Tylenol
  • Anti-depressants
  • Medications to treat attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders
  • Anti-anxiety medications and sleep aids
  • Birth control pills
  • Blood pressure pills
  • Beta-blockers
  • Thyroid hormones
  • Cholesterol lowering agents
No matter what type of medication your pet consumed, it’s essential to act promptly. You can reach Grantsburg Animal Hospital at 715-463-2536 or Wild River Veterinary Clinic at 320-629-7474 during regular office hours. You can also contact the Pet Poison Helpline 24 hours a day at 1-855-764-7661. The organization charges a fee of $59 per incident. After hours, you can take your pet to  Affiliated Emergency Veterinary Service at 11850 Aberdeen Street NE in Blaine, MN or contact them at 763-754-5000.

 

Photo Credit: Fantasista / Getty Images

PrintEmail

Make Sure Your Backyard Barbeque is Safe for Your Pet

Backyard Barbeque'
 
Summer and backyard barbeques go together like peanut butter and jelly. If you haven’t grilled out yet this summer or received an invitation to someone else’s barbeque, there’s a good chance you will before the end of the warm weather season. For dogs and cats, the smell of forbidden food and the excitement of having different people around can make them behave in ways they wouldn’t otherwise. That means careful supervision on your part if your pet will be anywhere near the food or grill.
 
Hot Grills and Pets Are Not a Good Combination
A backyard grill, like an oven, can quickly reach a temperature of several hundred degrees. It only takes a second for your dog or cat to sniff at the food, lose her footing, and end up with a severe burn. Grilling tools like spatulas and meat thermometers can be a problem as well since they present a choking hazard. It’s best to keep your pet far away from the grill while it’s in use to avoid a serious injury. Also, make sure the grill master puts equipment away afterwards and that the grill is no longer hot before allowing your pet near it.

Make Sure No One Else Feeds Your Pet
You have worked hard to thwart your pet’s begging behavior, so the last thing you need is for someone else to give into the sad eyes performance. If you think it might be a problem, don’t be shy about asking people before the grilling gets started not to give your pet any food. Onions, garlic, and dairy products like cheese can be especially toxic for dogs and cats and are typical condiments for barbequed food.
 
Meat is generally safe, but only if it doesn’t contain bones that could cause your pet to choke. You should be the only one to give your pet meat. If you choose to do so, be sure to cut it into smaller pieces and give it to your dog or cat away from everyone else. This lets her know that begging just won’t work.
 
Beware of the Garbage Can
Your pet can still smell leftover food and bones in the garbage, so make sure that he can’t gain access to them. One way to do this is to place food scraps and bones in a sealed bag before putting them in a trash receptacle. You can also put a lock on the lid to ensure that he can’t knock the can down and eat what’s inside. Consuming food or bones from the garbage could cause stomach upset, an airway obstruction, tooth fracture, and several other problems.

Be Mindful of Sun Exposure
Cats and dogs can’t eliminate heat from their bodies the same way that people do. They lack the ability to sweat and only release heat through their paw pads and by panting. To avoid heatstroke, make sure your pet has constant access to clean, cool drinking water and doesn’t spend too long in direct sunlight. You should plan to keep your pet inside your air-conditioned home or at least let him in periodically if you’re the host. If you’re a guest at someone else’s home, ask him or her to point out the shady areas and have your pet stay there.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us in an emergency. Our answering service takes calls after hours and will direct you to immediate help.
 
Photo Credit: wip-studiolublin / Getty Images

PrintEmail

Don't Let Your Pet Become a Fire Statistic

Become a Fire Statistic

The statistics on pets and fires are heartbreaking. Every year, approximately 1,000 pets accidentally start a fire in the home. Whether it’s knocking over a space heater or bumping a knob on a stove, these incidents happen more often than they should. Even more troubling, 40,000 pets succumb to injuries from a fire and more than 500,000 receive serious injuries every year. This is what prompted the American Kennel Club (AKC) and ADT Security Services to come together to create National Pet Fire Safety Day. It takes place annually on July 15, which falls on a Saturday this year.

 
Prevent Fires and Burn Injuries to Keep Your Pet Safe
Part of being a responsible pet owner is eliminating unnecessary risks, including the possibility of a house fire or your pet getting burned some other way. If you don’t have a smoke detector or only have one, be sure to install one on each floor of your home. Test the batteries often and change them before they have no power left at all. 
 
When it comes to preventing fires and burn injuries, you need to think like a dog or cat and pet-proof your home accordingly. That mean you need to look up from the floor and not down from your usual perspective. 
 
Stoves are a common area for pets to start fires, especially dogs. This is easy to understand when you consider that dogs have a strong sense of smell and just want to see what they’re missing. Unfortunately, they can bump a knob in the process with no one noticing until it’s too late. Pet-proofing also involves keeping hot items, like a clothes iron, out of your pet’s reach and putting them away immediately when you’re done with them.
 
If you have a fireplace in your home, never allow your pet near it unsupervised. This is true whether you’re currently burning logs or not, since your pet could injure herself on equipment you use for the fireplace. Additionally, keep your pet away from burning candles and blow them out before leaving the room. 
 
Placing your pets near the front of your home when you leave makes it easier for firefighters to find them. You may also want to consider placing a notification on your front door letting emergency responders know the types of animals you have and how many. This alerts them to look for pets when responding to an emergency. Lastly, make sure that you do a quick check for fire hazards whenever you leave your pet home alone. 
 
Develop a Fire Escape Plan That Includes Your Pet 
Every second counts when it comes to fires. You don’t want to waste precious time searching for your pet’s belongings when trying to get out of the house. We recommend placing food, medication, fresh bottled water, bedding, and toys into a sturdy bag and keeping it near the front door. If you have a large pet or you think he might run the other way in the stress of an emergency, place a collar and leash at the front of the house as well. It’s also a good idea to get a microchip for your pet ahead of time in case you do become separated in the chaos of a fire. 
 
Photo Credit: A Dog's Life Photo / Getty Images

PrintEmail

June is Social PETworking Month

Social PET working
As a pet lover, it’s sad to think that millions of healthy animals must be euthanized every year because shelters simply don’t have the space to keep them indefinitely. Not all dogs and cats are lucky enough to have a responsible animal guardian who provides them with a loving home. In fact, many people surrender pets to shelters because they underestimated the responsibility involved with having a pet. Rescue organizations take animals from shelters and put them into volunteer foster homes until someone comes along to adopt them. 
 
Suggestions from Adopt-a-Pet.com
Even if you’re not able to adopt a new pet right now, you can use the power of social media to help shelter pets find their forever home during Social PETworking Month. The organization Adopt-a-Pet currently shares a photo and brief biography of a dog, cat, or other domestic pet each day on its Facebook page. It encourages followers to like or share the post to help that pet find a home and to call attention to the many other pets who need homes as well. 
 
During the month of June, Adopt-a-Pet is asking people to find a dog, cat, or other adoptable animal on its website and share the photo and biography on their own social media platforms. It is also asking people to share information about the Social PETworking challenge so the idea gains traction.
 
Those who really want to challenge themselves to help homeless pets can step things up by sharing information each day about animals waiting for new homes. For those who use Pinterest, another idea is to start a board of adoptable pets in the local area. If you have your own blog or website, consider adding search tools from Adopt-a-Pet to allow people to search for a new pet without having to leave your site.
 
How to Adopt from a Shelter or Rescue
If you locate a shelter pet online that you’re interested in adopting, the first step is to go to the shelter and ask to meet the pet. A worker will take him or her out of the cage and allow you to spend some time together. If you decide that this is the pet for you, you need to go to the front desk to pay the adoption fee and obtain the medical records. It’s especially important to have details about vaccines and the pet’s spay or neuter status. According to Adopt-a-Pet, adoption fees at shelters range from $25 to $125.
 
To adopt a rescue pet, send an email to the current foster care provider to express interest. You can also attend an adoption event. These normally take place on weekends at pet stores. Each rescue organization has its own adoption requirements, so be sure to read the instructions carefully before you proceed. This may include filling out an application and going through a phone interview before meeting the pet. Adoption fees typically range from $100 to $300 and may require you to sign a contract.
 
We would love to meet your new pet once you get him or her home. Please schedule a preventive care exam at Grantsburg Animal Hospital or Wild River Veterinary Clinic to get your new pet off to a great start.
 
Photo Credit: A Dog's Life Photo / Getty Images

PrintEmail