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Cold Winter Weather Brings Hazards For Our Pets!
Now that the snow is flying, we need to remember that the cold weather is dangerous for our pets. Below are some concerns that all pet owners should be aware of this time of year.
Hypothermia: The most obvious concern (even with their fur coat!) is hypothermia. Dogs and cats can get cold with prolonged exposure in cold temperatures outside just like us. In extreme cold weather pets should be outside only to go to the washroom and be brought back in as soon as possible. Frostbite is a real danger this time of year as well. Pets that stay outside year round need adequate shelter from the cold, preferably with insulation. If you keep any water bowls outside for your animals during the winter, be sure to check the supply a few times a day to ensure it isn’t frozen over. If you are unable to provide fresh, clean water regularly throughout the day you need to provide an insulated, heated water bowl in order to keep the water from freezing. Clean, fresh snow is not an adequate replacement for water for an animal.
Sidewalk Salt: This can be irritating to your pets paws. Paws should be washed and dried off when coming indoors to lower the exposure time to the salt otherwise a contact chemical burn may occur.
Car Engines: Cats and wildlife are drawn to the heat generated by your car’s engine on cold days. Make sure you bang on your car’s hood prior to starting it to avoid injuring an unsuspecting visitor.
Antifreeze and De-icing Fluid can be toxic to pets if ingested. Be sure to clean up any spills when refilling these products in a car. Antifreeze, which contains ethylene glycol (EG), is extremely dangerous to dogs and cats. Sources of ethylene glycol include automotive antifreeze (radiator coolant, which typically contains 95% ethylene glycol), windshield deicing agents, motor oils, and hydraulic brake fluid, among other things. As little as a tablespoon can result in severe acute kidney failure in dogs, while as little as 1 teaspoon can be fatal to cats. When dogs or cats are exposed to ethylene glycol, immediate treatment is necessary.
Candles and Heaters/Radiators can cause burns in pets who try to get close to the heat source in the cold weather. Candles can also be knocked over which in turn can cause a fire. Never leave a pet unattended with candles in a room. There are now flameless LED candles available and they are a much safer option with curious pets around!
Lakes, Streams and Any Open Water can be a hazard for our pets as well. Animals are curious creatures and this can get them into trouble. Animals can fall through thin ice or get trapped under the ice and drown. Pets should be kept on leash to avoid these problems.
Today is Pet Obesity Awareness Day!
Food and treats do not equal love! Too many treats or overfeeding is actually dangerous for our pets. Overweight pets are at risk of developing one or more serious health issues and this is not what any pet owner wants.
These health risks include, arthritis, torn cruciate ligaments, heart disease, reduced lung capacity, poor kidney and liver function, reduced overall activity levels and skin issues. If your pet needs to go under anesthesia for a procedure, they are at a higher risk of complications or death if they are overweight. All of these things can lead to a shortened life span and most people would say our pets already have too short of a lifespan!
They are a few ways to tell if your pet is overweight. If you cannot easily feel their ribs, they don’t have a waist when you look from above or if they do not “tuck” up underneath when you look from the side, they may be overweight. Please refer to the diagram for help with assessing your pet. There are also general breed guidelines available for weight however they must be used with caution as not every pet follows the guidelines for their overall build.
Healthy treats should be given in moderation. If your pet is on a diet, ration the treats from their regular diet. For example, if your pet is to be fed 2 cups of food per day then take some of that amount and put it aside for treats throughout the day. Alternatively, you can reduce the amount of regular food and add in one or two treats of equal caloric value. If you need help in determining the best course of action for your pet’s diet, please do not hesitate to contact us, we would be more than happy to help with diet counselling.
We all want to have healthy and happy pet’s; weight management is an important part of this. We at Alcona Animal Hospital are dedicated to helping owners achieve and maintain a healthy weight for their furry family member.
Thanksgiving Holiday Hazards
With the Thanksgiving long weekend approaching, we wanted to remind everyone of the dangers that could put our pets in danger this holiday season.
Most people enjoy feasts this time of year, some with yummy turkey. Turkey and the skin can lead to gastrointestinal upsets and pancreatitis. The carcass/bones, string etc. can become stuck in the stomach or intestines and cause blockages requiring surgery. Yeast dough can cause gas/bloating and be lead to very serious problems. Deserts with chocolate or xylitol (found in gum and as a sugar replacement in candy) can be poisonous also. Be sure to keep all food/garbage’s away from pets during meal time!
Plants and decorations are also dangerous to pets. Amaryllis, some Ferns, Baby’s Breath, Hydrangeas, Sweet William and more can cause gastrointestinal upset or worse. Decorations are attractive to pets and may also lead to injury or blockage. Every attempt should be made to keep these items out of reach of our pets.
Visitors can be very stressful for some pets. If you know your pet tends to get upset or hides when people come to visit, it is really important during the holidays to give your pets a quiet area in the house to hang out until your guests leave. Be sure to make the area as comfortable as possible with comfort items such as blankets or toys, appropriate food and water. Cats will need a litter box as well.
If your travelling this holiday weekend, be sure to have the proper paperwork in advance (for example, rabies certificate for crossing the border into the USA). If you are travelling overseas, be sure to contact the airline for more information regarding what is required when travelling with your pets.
If you pet gets motion sickness or is stressed while travelling, contact the clinic at 705-431-5570 and our doctors can give advise regarding anti-nauseous medication or sedatives.
Information About Homemade and Raw Diets : Raw Deal?
Many pet owners out there today are turning to homemade and raw diets in the hopes that it will be healthier for their pets. These diets can be good in certain situations if the time is taken to research their pet’s specific nutritional needs and they take into account, its species, breed, age and health status.
The pros of a homemade diet are:
- It is highly digestible as the ingredients are fresh.
- It can be adapted to specific health condition requirements.
- It has a high water content.
The cons of a homemade diet are:
- Time consuming to make
- Difficult to balance all nutrients and therefore requires supplementation.
- More expensive then commercially prepared diets.
Please note that we do NOT recommend raw diets as research shows there is significant risk, to not only the pet but also to the people preparing the meal and others in the household. Contamination with E-Coli or Salmonella is a real threat to the health of your family and your pet.
Keep in mind that any diet, whether it is commercially prepared or homemade needs to take in account any diagnosed conditions your pet may have. This will make a big impact on your choices. If you have a pet with a diagnosed illness, please speak to your veterinarian regarding the proper diet for him or her.
If you are interested in making your dogs food at home, please feel free to contact us for recipes and information about nutritional supplements that are required to help make it balanced for your pet! We will be more than happy to help you!
We are too!
Unfortunately the warmer weather also brings some hazards for our pets.
Please remember that if it’s too hot for you outside, it is definitely too hot for your pets! If you’re going for a long hike or car ride remember to take water for you and your pets. Try to take your long walks before 10am or after 4pm so it is during the cooler parts of the day. Pets can get sunburns and heatstroke as well! If you wouldn’t leave your kids in the car, don’t leave your pet in there, even with the windows open!
If you see a pet in a car unattended in the heat, please call the OSPCA at 310-SPCA (7722) 24/7 or 911.
If you haven’t picked up your flea/tick and heartworm prevention yet, be sure to soon! We recommend starting your heartworm prevention June 1st and flea and tick meds in the spring.
Keep in mind that mice, ant and other pest baits can be very dangerous for your pets. Be sure to keep them out of reach.
Fertilizers and certain plants are toxic to your pets as well, be sure to check what is in reach of your pets this summer in the garage and yard.