Kiel Veterinary Clinic
575 Belitz Drive
Kiel, WI 53042
office: (920) 894-3414 or (920) 565-2171
fax: (920) 894-7815
Spring Pet Safety Tips
1. Plants- There are many plants which are toxic to pets. Knowing which plants are toxic will help you choose safe plants to grow in your garden.
Note: There are two species of Crocus one blooms in spring and the other in autumn.
Azalea, Bittersweet, Caladium, Clematis, Crocus, Day Lily, Death Camas, Easter Lily, Ferns, Foxglove, Hyacinth, Iris, Lily of the Valley, Morning Glory, Oleander, Rhododendron, Tiger Lily, and Tulip are reported to be toxic and/or lethal to cats, dogs, or rabbits.
Kidney failure, seizures, liver failure and even death can result from ingestion of these plants.
If you do own any of these plants they should be kept out of your pets reach. If you think your pet may have ingested parts of any of these plants you should call your veterinarian immediately with any information you have such as the type of plant, how much was ingested, which parts of the plant were ingested, and how long ago they were consumed.
Artificial flowers can be substituted, but pets should still be watched as some like to chew on the silk or plastic. This can cause an intestinal blockage and emergancy surgery needed.
For a more extensive list of toxic plants go to www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/plants.
2. Fertilizers, Insecticides, Herbicides and Mulch- Ingredients in these products can be harmful or fatal to your pet. Read labels carefully for safe useage and follow directions carefully. Fertilizers containing nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium salts (N-P-K fertilizers) can cause mild gastrointestinal upset and skin irritation on paws. Fertilizers with more than 1% iron can cause iron toxicity if consumed by a dog. Mulches like coco bean mulch are toxic to dogs and cats because they contain the same toxic materials found in chocolate.
Poisonous products should be kept away from your pets. Pets should be kept off and away from fertilized lawns and plants for 24 hours. Saving the original bag for reference in case ingestion occurs is a great idea.
Choose pet-safe options, organic products, or try planting flowers which naturally repel insects and are safe for animals.
3. Cleaning Products- These products should be kept away from pets and directions followed properly as well.
4. Pet Allergies- Pets can be allergic to foods, plants, dust, and pollens. Some symptoms are minor such as sneezing. Others can be very uncomfortable or even life threatening like anaphylactic shock. If you think your pet may have allergies visit your veterinarian. They can help determine if the symptoms are from allergies and give you treatment options.
Some animals may be allergic to insect bites. Hives or a swollen muzzle can indicate a severe allergic reaction and your pet should see a veterinarian right away. Severe illness and trouble breathing can occur if help is not sought.
5. Fleas and Ticks- Using flea and tick control products can help keep your pet healthy as well as, year-round heartworm preventative medication. Year-round heartworm prevention is recommended because most have dewormers in them and some strains of heartworm are becoming resistant to heartworm medication. By keeping your pet on heartworm medication you reduce the chances of these strains spreading to new areas.
Flea outbreaks can cause lots of frustration for pets and their owners. Once an outbreak occurs it can be very difficult to eliminate them. Pets can become very uncomfortable from fleas biting them and may scratch to the point of hairloss. Also pets can get tapeworms from fleas biting them. Tapeworms look like rice and may be seen stuck to the anal area on pets or in their feces.
Flea collars do not give your pet the protection they need because they only protect the neck area.
Ticks can transmit heartworms and diseases including Lyme's disease. Although you may use preventative measures pets can still get heartworms or tick borne diseases, this is why heartworm tests are recommended. The heartworm test we use at our clinic doesn't just test for heartworms, but also tick borne diseases like Lyme. Also watching for changes in behavior such as loss of appetite and limping can be signs that your pet may have a tick borne disease.
Flea and tick medication labels should be read and followed closely. Some can be used on dogs, but NOT on cats or vice versa. Permethrin which is in some flea and tick medications is lethal to cats.
6. Home Improvement- Products used in home improvement projects can be dangerous to pets and should be kept away from them. Pets should be kept away from home improvement projects because they could be injured by falling objects, power tools like saws, and sharp objects that could be stepped on like nails.
7. Car Safety- Pets should be kept in a crate or wear seatbelt harnesses designed for them while riding in vehicles.
Pets riding in pick-up truck beds or putting their heads out windows are at risk of injuries. Debris and insects can cause ear or eye injuries and lung infections. Stopping or turning suddenly can cause injuries to your pet or even kill them. Pets may even try to jump out of vehicles causing injury.
8. Outdoor Activities- Pets may love to go outside for walks, but they should be kept on a leash and wear ID tags. Keeping your pet on a leash helps you maintain control of them and protect them from being injured by cars or other animals. Extendable leashes do not allow you to have direct control.
Fishing maybe enjoyable to you, but your pet should be kept away from your fishing items. They can get hooks stuck in their mouth or paws. They can become tangled in fishline or ingest some putting them at risk for an intestinal blockage requiring emergency surgery. Ingested bait can cause stomach upset, an intestinal blockage, or the bait may contain toxic materials.
Access to wild animals and their nests or burrows should be avoided and any of their feces removed from your yard as they may contain intestinal parasites. Some of these parasites can survive the deep freeze of winter.
9. Windows- Your pet may love to lay in the window sill, but the screens should not be removed. Screens should be securely installed. Pets could fall out or jump through open windows that do not have screens and injure themselves.
10. Easter- Easter grass should not be used in homes with cats. It can become caught in the barbs on their tongues and ingested. Like dental floss, string, and tinsel it can cause an intestinal blockage, cut the intestines, or become entangled in the intestines cutting off circulation. These situations require emergancy surgery.
Chocolate is common around Holidays and contains theobromine, a xanthine compound. This compound is in the same family as caffiene and theophylline, therefore it is toxic to dogs in large doses. The darker the chocolate the more toxic is it. Xanthenes affect the nervous system and cardovascular system mainly. Hyper excitability, increased heart-rate, increased urination, restlessness, muscle tremors, vomiting, and diarrhea are symptoms of toxicity.
Festive animals like chicks and bunnies require special care so resist the urge to buy them unless you are prepared to give them the special care they need.
11. Other Toxins- Road salts, motor oil, antifreeze, rodenticide, and pesticides can be deposited by melting snow. These can be very dangerous to your pet. If you suspect they've come in contact with or ingested any of these types of toxins please contact your veterinarian before trying a home remedy like induced vomiting. Your veterinarian can tell you the best method of treatment. It is also a good idea to call a poison control center.