PET POISON! 7 Top Toxins & Pet 1st Aid to Keep Cats & Dogs Safe

SCARY UPDATE! Last night, Bravo-Dawg gave me a scare when I thought he’d become a victim of pet poison. Like many folks, I take a variety of vitamins to improve and maintain my health. I keep them organized in a pill caddy with a separate compartment for each day of the week. The full bottles are kept in a closed bottom drawer in the kitchen, while the pill caddy rests on the countertop pushed far back against the backsplash, well out of paw-reach.

Or so I thought. Within the 30 minutes between my departure for a meeting, and my husband’s return home from work, Bravo got a hold of the pill caddy. Like any good pet parent, my husband cleaned up the mess — and when I returned home about 90 minutes later, he told me about Bravo’s latest infraction.

OH NO! The vitamins wouldn’t hurt him, but yesterday for the first time, I also included OTC pain meds to relieve my chronic backache. I panicked, grilled my husband — did you find any pills? What kind? how many? Four or five day’s worth of pills were in question so I sifted through coffee grounds and other schtuff in the trash.

I found four of the pain pills — so at most, Bravo ate one. Typically dogs show toxic signs within 20 minutes, which might include vomiting blood, drunk behavior, seizures or even collapse. Bravo acted like his normal, goofy self, which makes me suspect he had a guardian angel that prevented him from gulping the dangerous pills. He did eat all the vitamins. Oy.

Easter Lily poisonous to pets

Easter lilies are highly toxic to pets, especially cats. Be safe this Easter season!

Protect Pets from Poisoning

Dogs are particularly prone to poisoning because like human infants, they put everything in their mouths. Cats are more discriminating about what they eat, but contact poison can affect any pet if they walk through something toxic or it spills on fur and is licked off during grooming.

Symptoms vary depending on the poison, amount of exposure, and the individual animal. You may see anything from drunken staggers and collapse, to salivation, seizures, or hyperactivity.

7 TOP PET POISONS & FIRST AID HELP

  1. Poisonings from human medications (both over-the-counter and prescription meds) has become the most common pet poisoning over the last several years. Dogs either gulp down tasty candy-coated pills, or owners give them human drugs without realizing the risks. Cats may play with pills, and accidentally swallow them. Be aware that pets don’t metabolize Tylenol, aspirin, ibuprofen or neproxin (Aleve) the same way people do, and can die from taking them. A single extra-strength Tylenol can kill a cat. Keep meds out of reach in pet-proof cabinets.

poison pills
2. Chemical toxicity used to top the list but the safer flea and tick products have reduced the numbers of overdosing. Problems still happen when you misunderstand directions. What’s safe for a dog may be deadly for a cat! Wash your pet immediately if you suspect toxicity, and call the vet. Antifreeze poisoning also can be an issue because it often tastes sweet, which attracts dogs.

lilies poison pets

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?!!! Lilies are toxic to cats & dogs.

3. Plant poisonings are particularly dangerous to mouthy pets. Some varieties that can be harmful to pets include lilies, azalea, rhododendron, sago palm, kalanchoe and schefflera. Dogs fall victim most often because of their urge for recreational chewing. But some cats nibble leaves or paw-play with plants and may be poisoned when they later lick their claws clean. Beware of Easter lilies this holiday–learn more here!

4. Pest baits also tempt dogs and cats, and can poison pets that catch or scavenge poisoned rodents, roaches or snails. The same cereal grains often used in commercial pet foods also are used in rodent baits so dogs may willingly eat the poison. Anticoagulants like warfarin prevent blood from clotting, and cause uncontrolled and fatal bleeding from the rectum, nose, and even the skin. Pest poisons may take 24 to 72 hours to induce signs, but once the dog or cat shows distress, treatment may not be as effective and can be too late. Veterinarians have antidotes for some, and others require gastric lavage and supportive care. Pets may be poisoned by eating dead varmints that have succumbed to pest baits, too.

BEWARE THE DANGERS OF SWEET POISON!

5. Dogs love sweet flavors and often poison themselves by eating chocolate. Dark chocolate and Baker’s chocolate contains higher concentrations of the caffeine-like substance, theobromine, but even eating too much of that candy Easter bunny can prompt a bout of diarrhea and vomiting. Find out more about chocolate toxicity here.

Keep poison grapes out of dog reach.

DANGER! Grapes are highly toxic and can quickly kill dogs.

Poison in Grapes & Raisins

6. Both fresh and dried grapes (raisins) are quite toxic in dogs. The exact poisonous substance that causes reaction isn’t known, and sensitivity varies from dog to dog. No dog should eat any amount of this fruit because even a small dose can be fatally toxic for your dog. Be particularly aware of wild grapes in the yard or fields.

The most dramatic and serious problem caused by grape/raisin toxicity is sudden kidney failure with lack of urine production. For unknown reasons, kidney failure is not seen in all dogs after ingestion of grapes or raisins. Researchers continue to investigate why some dogs die and others are not affected by the poison.

The first signs of distress often include vomiting and/or diarrhea with only a few hours of ingestion. After about 24 hours, you may see grapes or raisin pieces in the feces or vomitus. Affected dogs lose their appetite, become lethargic and unusually quiet. They may suffer abdominal pain, and “hunch” their back from the discomfort. Dehydration develops from the diarrhea and vomiting, but they only pass small amounts of urine. Eventually they stop urinating at all when the kidneys ultimately shut down. Prognosis is guarded, even when treated, and most dogs die once the kidneys stop producing urine. Grape/raisin toxicity is an emergency that needs prompt veterinary intervention.

7. Xylitol is a naturally-occurring sugar alcohol used for sweetening sugar-free products such chewing gum, candy, toothpaste and baked products. It also comes as a granulated powder. Both forms are highly toxic to dogs. Xylitol ingestion causes a rapid release of insulin in the dog, which in turn results in a sudden decrease in blood glucose levels. Depending on the size of your dog, a single piece of sugar-free gum may cause symptoms that result in death.

The ingested substance may cause vomiting, incoordination, seizures, or even liver failure. Bleeding may develop in the dog’s gastrointestinal track or abdomen, as well as dark red specks or splotches on his gums. Usually the symptoms happen quickly, within fifteen to thirty minutes of ingestion, but some kinds of sugar-free gum may not cause symptoms for up to twelve hours.

FIRST AID FOR PET POISONING

If you see or suspect your dog has eaten toxic foods or substances, induce vomiting immediately (but only if the dog remains conscious). Take a sample of the vomitus or feces if available to help the doctor be sure of the diagnosis. You’ll find more tips on how to make pets vomit at this post.

If you suspect that your pet has been poisoned call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center’s 24-hour hotline at (888) 426-4435. Details on specific signs and treatments of various poisons are also listed in “The First-Aid Companion for Dogs and Cats.” For more information on the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.

I’ve spent the morning reorganizing my vitamins and other meds. They’re no longer in the kitchen, and not in any dog-level drawer, either. Because knowing Bravo, his next lesson from Karma-Kat will be how to open drawers.

He’s already figured out the doors, counters, and cabinets.

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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? NOTE: Some links to books or other products may be to affiliates, from which I may earn a small percentage of sales, but I do not recommend anything unless I feel it would benefit readers. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

2019 New Year Pet Goals

Like last year, I resolved to NOT make New Year resolutions. Rather than an end-accomplishment, I’d rather strive for the destination but try to enjoy the journey along the way. In my experience, some of the side-roads along the journey prove to be as much if not more rewarding than the final accomplishment. How about you?

Oh, there’ll be new thriller book HIT AND RUN in 2019, maybe a new nonfiction title and a few new webinars, and a new musical theatrical production RADIO DAZE in February, and and and . . . but the really important stuff is furry and shares my pillow. Ahem.

baby gates

Magic (age 3 months) with 9-year-old Seren. *sniff*

NEW YEAR PET GOALS

It’s become a tradition to take stock of the past year from a pets’-eye-view, and the year to come. Karma became an “only pet” a year ago after we lost both Magical-Dawg and Seren-Kitty late in 2017. He’s a hefty man-kat eager for a game of tag, chase, and treats.

But the last day of April 2018, we brought home our Bravo-Pup. He and Karma bonded almost immediately, and together, they keep us humans laughing. So here are New Year Pet Goals from Karma, Bravo, and a couple from the enduring spirits of Magic and Seren, with commentary by Amy.

Magic Karma

Karma with Magical-Dawg

“Spirited” Pet Goals

Magical-Spirit: “I will remind my humans daily to cherish each joy, and remember me with smiles.”

Amy: He loved fetch clear up to his last day with us, and found joy in every sniff, sound, treat, touch or game. We’re still finding his toys hidden under furniture or in unlikely places. I take it as a message to us to lighten up… So my new year pet goals include being more like Magic and pay attention to everyday miracles of the touch of soft fur, smell of rain in the wind in my face, to find music in every brash or quiet sound, relish each taste whether tears or treats, and open my eyes to every glorious sunrise, storm cloud and rainbow in my life.

Seren-Spirit: “I will remind my humans to ignore pesky aggravations like cat-brothers, stare down intimidating challenges (even if they’re 15 times your size like Magic), and find a sunny place in every situation.”

Amy: She remained in charge, the Queen of the house, to her last breath. A bit of a curmudgeon despite her tiny size, Seren ran our house and hearts with a benevolent paw. She never let arthritis stand in the way of a smidge of chicken, constantly reminded Karma who held the sharpest claws, and taught Magic—and her humans—what aging gracefully means. My new year pet goals include living like Seren, focusing on goals rather than roadblocks, stop complaining about age (not everyone gets the blessing of a long life), and giving myself permission to turn off work and take a sun-puddle nap.

Karma Bravo

Karma immediately adopted Bravo. In this picture, the pup weighs only 50 pounds –he’s doubled his size since then!

More New Year Pet Goals

Bravo: “I will finally catch the RED-DOT-DEMON and make sure Amy releases it from the drawer more often. Oh, and I will play wrestle-the-Karma-Kat and only stop for the TREATS word. Because that’s what I do.”

Amy: Bravo has reached the 100-pound mark, but remains a gentle, goofy adolescent. He’s full of boundless energy, and still doesn’t know his own strength. He keeps Karma’s head soaked with dog-spit from all the mouthing. The big baby needs more structure, so my new year pet goals include more training, more time outside (once the rain stops!), and perhaps even some play dates with dogs his size.

Karma: “I will stalk and tease and pounce on Amy’s feet, play “gravity experiments” on table tops, steal socks and rattle window blinds, paw-dig at the TV screen, and turn my new brother-dawg into my best tag-buddy, what fun!”

Amy: Karma adores teasing Bravo into chasing him. He mourned Magic and slept with his collar for two weeks after his passing, and became Seren’s care-taker by grooming his tiny cat-friend when she wasn’t able. Having a rowdy dog and curious cat zooming around the furniture offers treat entertainment for them – and they sleep together each evening. But Karma needs more one-on-one games, too, where he doesn’t need to compete with the Bravo-Pup. More new year pet goals are to play interactive chase games with Karma each day to give him the exercise, attention and fun he craves and deserves.

Magic-Spirit and Seren-Spirit: “We will train Amy there’s more to nine lives than paw-tapping and staring at a boxy computer-thing. Like catnip. And whisker-kisses. And we will train Amy that playing with pets is more fun than anything else. AND we will train Amy that there’s no such thing as too many treats. But time together is even better.”

Amy: My ultimate New Year pet goals are to listen to my furry muses. What about you?

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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? 

NOTE: Some links to books or other products may be to affiliates, from which I may earn a small percentage of sales, but I do not recommend anything unless I feel it would benefit readers. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Dog Fireworks Fears? How to Fix New Years Pets Noise Phobias

Dog fireworks fears, it can destroy your fun New Years celebration, so it’s vital to learn how to calm thunder phobias and noise fear in pets. More cats and dogs–and even livestock like horses–become lost on July 4 and other fireworks days when pets panic, go through windows, break tethers and leap fences.

dog fireworks fears

Even safely contained pets shiver, moan, and feel worse with each noisy boom. You may not see quivering scaredy cats when they dive under the bed, but the stress from noise phobia increases risk of hit-or-miss litter box behavior.

PETS NOISE PHOBIAS FROM DOG FIREWORKS FEARS

Ideally, pets can be counter-conditioned to the scary noises by exposing the fearful dog or cat to recorded sounds of fireworks played at a very low volume, and rewarding him for staying calm. Gradually, you increase the noise level, to help the pet “get used” to the noise and learn to tolerate it.

Desensitization programs can take weeks and sometimes months to work, though. And for many of us, New Years will be the BOOM-ICITY deadline. So what can you do? And how do you know your pets are affected?

My mom’s Shelties used to act like furry jello as they quivered and dove for that dark safe spot under the bed. They’d squeeeeze between the sofa and the wall, or push faces into your armpits to hide.

new years dog fireworks fearsHOW TO FIX DOG FIREWORKS FEARS

Magical-Dawg never cared about thunder or fireworks. Part of that, I think, has to do with the PUPPY-PARTEEEEE! WOW, WAS THAT LOUD, WHAT FUN! reactions I’d offer him each time the thunder boomed during his socialization months.

Karma is a bit different. The first loud thunderstorm we had, he RAN and then slowly ever-so-slowly crept out. And he watched what Magic did–nothing. And what I did–PARTEEEE! and treetz. Today he’s much less reactive.

Pets do read us and copy-cat our (and other pets’) behavior. You have to be a really good actor around pets because they read our silent language with little effort. Do you speak dog? What do all those tail wags and woofs mean? Do you know what a doggy laugh sounds like? Different dogs “speak” in unique ways–how do your fur-kids tell you what they want?

cat fireworks fearsPHEROMONE HELP FOR CAT & DOG FIREWORKS FEARS

An innovative product designed specifically to help dogs deal with fear—especially noise phobias—employs a natural pheromone that dogs recognize on an instinctive level. Pheromones are chemical substances made by the animal’s body that act as a form of communication that, when inhaled by your pet, talks directly to his brain.

The product Comfort Zone with D.A.P. (dog appeasing pheromone) is an analogue of the pheromone mom-dogs produce to calm nursing puppies. It calms the fears of dogs of any age, from puppy to aging oldster. The veterinary version, Adaptil, is available from your vet while the Comfort Zone can be purchased from local pet product stores or via the Internet. Cats benefit from Comfort Zone with Feliway, an analogue of the cheek pheromone that tells cats their environment and territory is “safe.”

Both products come as plug-ins from pet products stores, but it won’t “drug” your dog or cat into a magic cure. It instead helps put a damper on fear long enough to “think” so that your behavior modification/training techniques can work. You’ll need to have these plugged in for several days in advance for it to offer your dog or cat the best benefits. They also come as a spray or impregnated collars for immediate use, and can be sprayed on bedding, for example. You can find them at pet products stores, and online venues. 

COVER THE NOISE

There are a number of things you can do to relieve dog fireworks fears. Cover up the “BOOM” or the thunder and rain sounds by playing music–harp music actually has a sedative effect (it may put YOU to sleep, too!).

Turn the radio to static for white noise. At my house, we could pound the piano or play the cello or …SING and have a howl-along. It’s hard for a pet’s brain to do two things at once–be scared and have fun–so find something your pet loves that has some noise to it. Hey, isn’t a squeaker less obnoxious than hearing your baby-dog whimper and moan?

MagicThundershirt

Magic modeled Thundershirt…and thankfully, never needed it. Image Copr. Amy Shojai, CABC

COMFORT CLOTHES

A number of products are available that are said to help out with fear issues. Thundershirt for dogs is one of the best known and most effective. I also have the Thundershirt for cats and it helped Seren-Kitty enormously during fearful events–like vet visits. Storm Defender Capes are another option, as well as Calming Caps. Some of these products will be available at your local pet products stores. You can order these at a number of online venues, including amazon.com.

GIVE DOGS A JOB

Dogs can’t panic when using their brain for something else such as “work.” Drill him on obedience commands and special tricks, or ask him to play fetch and carry around a favorite toy. That engages his brain into productive activity rather than thinking about the scary noises. Giving him treats and positive rewards for remaining calm also reinforces the benefits of controlling his emotions. For instance, puzzle toys stuffed with fun treats the dog–or the cat–must manipulate to get at the goodies can go a long way toward keeping their mind off dog fireworks fears.

Yep, at my house a treat or chase-the-feather goes a long way toward building confidence and rewarding good behavior.

happy new yearMAKE IT A HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Are your pets fearful of loud noises? What do they do? Have they ever damaged your house–or injured themselves or others during a panic attack? Is there a special way you handle the kitty or doggy panic attacks? Please share! Many more tips on dealing with fear in the books ComPETability (Dogs) as well as ComPETability (Cats).

Being scared kills the fun. Help your pets turn the fearful whimpers and scaredy-cat hisses into joyful purrs and wags, so your whole family (furry and otherwise) enjoy the 4th of July howliday. And have your fur-kids tell thunderstorms to “hiss off!”

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I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? 

NOTE: Some links to books or other products may be to affiliates, from which I may earn a small percentage of sales, but I do not recommend anything unless I feel it would benefit readers. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

 

Books For Pet Lovers

It’s late, I know, for posting this books for pet lovers SALE notice so shortly before Christmas. Hey, I’ve been busy writing the next musical play (more about that later) and planning the next thriller. But in case you have a pet lover on your gift-giving list, I’ve discounted my hardcover titles.

They’re all available on Amazon and Barnes & Nobel, but I can save you some $$$ with my author discount. Looks like some of the titles have inflated prices, too, or are listed “out of stock” GRRR!

And, if you want the books paw-tographed, I can send under separate cover a peel-and-stick bookplate signed to the recipient (or the pets). Just put a note how you’d like the book autographed — and the mailing address (to you or the gift recipient):

Cat Facts

Dog Facts

Complete Kitten Care

Complete Puppy Care

New Choices in Natural Healing for Dogs & Cats

They’ll come AFTER the howl-iday, because I’m so late. Sorry. But you can call them New Year gifts, LOL! Or use holiday gift money to buy something for yourself. So… here we go. Choose the book(s) you want at the page listed, below. Discounted prices will remain good until December 26.

hardcover pet books

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. NOTE: Bling, Bitches & Blood sometimes shares affiliate links to products that may help you with your pets, but we only share what we feel is appropriate.

Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book giveaways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Why Tabby Wears An M–A Christmas #Cats Story

It’s become a tradition on the blog (and in my PETiQuette newspaper column) to share my favorite Christmas cat story this time of the year. This touching legend, included in Complete Kitten Care book, tells the story of a simple Tabby cat, and her gift on the very first Christmas day to a special mother and child. My own special tabby boy honors this page–notice the “M” on Karma’s brow…Enjoy!

Please be safe if you’re traveling. May your holidays be blessed.

KarmaFace-M-Tabby

Why Tabby Wears An M: A Christmas Cat Story

There was no snow that night in Bethlehem. Instead, the small cat watched a star-spangled sky from her perch in the window of a stable. She liked the stable, for it was a warm safe place to raise her furry babies, and the innkeeper sometimes left scraps out for her to nibble. Tabby wasn’t particularly distinctive, and most humans didn’t look at her twice. After all, her short gray/black fur was quite common. But Tabby’s striped coat hid a heart bigger than cats twice her size.

This night, though, Tabby was out of sorts, for she’d not been able to hunt and catch dinner. Travelers had poured into town for days, so noisy they disturbed decent cat-folks’ rest. Why, they’d even invaded Tabby‟s quiet stable, a place she had before shared only with other furry creatures. Tabby hadn’t minded the human couple—they were calmer than most. She’d left that morning for her usual rounds, but when she returned, the stable was packed with people.

From her perch on the window, Tabby watched the last of the strangers leave. She slipped from the window, and padded silently inside—and froze!

“Meewwww, meewww, meewww,” cried a tiny voice.

A kitten? Tabby’s ears turn this way and that to find the sound of the kitten’s voice. It came from the manger, the very place Tabby often made her own bed. A woman knelt beside the manger, intent on the small mewling that arose from within. Tabby was drawn by the kittenish sound, though she knew her own furry babies were grown to cat-hood. She tiptoed forward very slowly, and passed by a wooly burro, a warm cow, and all the other animals.

The woman looked up, and saw the striped cat. “Oh, little cat,” she murmured, “my baby cannot sleep, and nothing calms him this night.” She sighed, and turned back to the manger. “How grateful would I be to anyone able to bring him sweet dreams.”

And, as Tabby watched, each stable animal stepped forward in turn and tried to soothe the woman’s baby. But the kittenish sounds continued, and finally Tabby could contain herself no longer.

Quickly, she washed herself—paws, face, behind the ears, to the very tip of her tail (so as not to offend the child’s mother)—and then shyly stepped forward. She leaped gracefully to the manger, and stared into the face of the most beautiful baby (human or kitten!) she’d ever seen. He cooed and smiled, waving his tiny hands at Tabby, and she very carefully drew in her claws and settled beside him. Forgotten was her empty tummy; she could only hear her heart calling out to this sweet human-kitten.

And Tabby began to purr.

The wondrous cat-song filled the stable with overwhelming emotion. The animals listened with awe, and the child’s mother smiled as her baby quietly went to sleep.

The child’s mother placed her hand gently on the purring Tabby’s forehead. “Blessings upon you, Tabby-cat, for this sweet gift given to me and my child,” she said. And where she’d touched Tabby’s brow, there appeared an M—the sign of the Madonna’s benediction.

From that day forward, all proper tabby cats are honored with an M on their brow for the great service they performed that first Christmas night. And Christmas nights often find Tabby cats staring into the night, purring as they recall a very special child their ancestor once sang to sleep.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. NOTE: Bling, Bitches & Blood sometimes shares affiliate links to products that may help you with your pets, but we only share what we feel is appropriate.

Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book giveaways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!