Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Fall/Autum toxins poisounous to Dogs and Cats.

The start of fall/autumn brings new seasonal household items that pose a threat to the safety of our pets. These common household items can cause serious problems if ingested by animals. Here is a list of seasonal products that we recommend keeping away from pets.

While most mushrooms are generally non-toxic, certain types can be very dangerous. One of the most dangerous is the Amanita phalloides or death cap mushroom which is found throughout the United States. The proper identification of mushrooms is extremely difficult and often only done by experts. Therefore, it is wise to consider all ingestions of unidentified mushrooms as toxic until proven otherwise. Depending on what type of mushroom is ingested, symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, depression, tremors, and seizures, with liver and kidney damage occurring later. Pet owners should scour their yard frequently to get rid of any mushrooms.

While you may think these white balls are benign, they are not. Mothballs typically contain either paradichlorobenzene or naphthalene. While the old fashioned mothballs (naphthalene) are often considered more toxic, both can be deadly. Symptoms include vomiting, severe abdominal pain, tremors, weakness, possible kidney or liver failure, and severe abnormality of your pet’s red blood cells.

Rodenticide Bait Blocks
As you prepare to winterize your garage, cabin, or house, make sure to place poisonous baits in areas where your pet cannot reach them (e.g., high up on shelves, hidden behind work spaces, etc.). Rodenticides also pose the potential for relay toxicity, if your dog eats a large number of dead mice poisoned by rodenticides, they can experience secondary effects.” Because there are several different types of chemicals in mouse and rat poisons, all with different active ingredients and types of action, it is imperative to keep your pets away from all of these potentially dangerous poisons.

Piles of decomposing and decaying organic matter and  molding food products in your backyard compost pile have the potential to contain ‘tremorgenic mycotoxins’, meaning molds which cause tremors. Even small amounts ingested can result in tremors or seizures within 30 minutes to several hours.


 As people prepare their boats, cars or cabins for winter, pets may inadvertently be exposed to antifreeze. As little as one teaspoon in a cat or a tablespoon or two for dogs, depending on the size of animal, can be fatal. Signs of early poisoning include acting drunk or uncoordinated, excessive thirst, and lethargy. While signs may seem to improve after eight to twelve hours, internal damage is actually worsening, and crystals develop in the kidneys, which result in acute kidney failure. Immediate treatment with an antidote is vital.

Horse lovers, beware. As little as one pound of dried maple leaves blowing into your horse’s pasture can be toxic. When ingested, these leaves result in a severe hemolytic anemia – it causes red blood cells to rupture, causing weakness, pale gums, an elevated heart rate and shock.

The best thing any pet owner can do is to be educated on common household toxins, and to make sure you pet-proof your house appropriately. Make sure to keep all these products in labeled, tightly-sealed containers out of your pet’s reach. When in doubt, if you think your pet has been poisoned, contact your veterinarian.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Top 10 Ways to Protect Your Dog from Fleas.

The Best Time of the Year
Ah, the joys of bright days and cooler weather. This is one of the best times of the year for you and your pets to enjoy the outdoors with swimming, hiking and playing in the park. But late summer and early autumn is also the height of flea season. Before you decide to keep your poor pooch locked indoors, here are some ways to keep him safe

10. Clear the Yard
Keeping your lawn, bushes and trees trimmed back will help control your home’s outdoor flea population. You can also use outdoor chemical treatments, but remember, these products are toxic and can have harmful effects if there’s accidental contact. (You may want to warn your neighbors before each yard application so they can protect themselves from incidental contact with the chemicals.)
Image Credit: Jim Grant / via Flickr

9. Flea Traps
You can easily devise a homemade (and non-toxic) flea trap, or purchase a ready made one at a hardware store. To make one at home, set a small dish of soapy water on the ground near a light source (using an attached night light or lamp) overnight. Attracted by the warmth and light, fleas will jump into the water and become trapped.
Image Credit: McKay Savage / via Flickr

8. Household Sprays and Foggers
After cleaning your home, you can use sprays and/or foggers that will kill the adult fleas, as well as the larvae and eggs as they hatch. These products are available at your veterinarian’s office or pet supply store. Care must be taken when using these products, as they can be toxic to fish, birds, dog, cats and children. Read labels carefully and ask for advice from your veterinarian before attempting to use these products.
Image Credit: SigurDD / via Flickr

7. Clean House
Fleas are notoriously difficult to get rid of, mostly because you have to continually clean your home as well treat your dog for infestations. To successfully eradicate fleas, you need to vacuum your home thoroughly and throw out the bag when you’re done. And don’t forget to wash your dog’s bedding and clean his toys with warm, soapy water. Finally, vacuum your car. Fleas love to hide in dark, warm places.

Image Credit: Arild Andersen / via Flickr

6. Powders and Sprays
Flea powders and sprays are also relatively inexpensive, and should also be used cautiously. These products can cause irritation to sensitive, unprotected parts of the body in both people and their pets. Make sure to protect the mouth and eyes, and take care that neither you nor your pet breathe this treatment in.
Powders and sprays require more frequent reapplication than spot-on medications.
Image Credit: Mark Kelly / via Flickr

5. Flea Dips
Unlike shampoo treatments, dips are diluted with water, topically applied, and left on. These chemical products can be very potent, and misuse can lead to a potentially toxic reaction. Prior to using flea dips on your dog, make sure to read the instructions and carefully follow them according to your dog’s size, weight and age. Do not use on pregnant, nursing or young pets less than four months old.
Image Credit: Adria Richards / via Flickr

4. Flea Collars
Another inexpensive flea control option is to fit your dog with a dog collar. The efficacy of flea collars can depend on several factors, like how bad the infestation is in your immediate area. Flea collars should be worn next to the skin. Put two fingers under the collar to prevent securing it on too tightly. Also, keep an eye out for scratching around the collar; some dogs are extremely sensitive to the chemicals.
A word of warning, though: flea collars contain toxic chemicals.
Image Credit: Patrick Haney / via Flickr

3. Flea Shampoos
Sometimes the best first line of defense in guarding your dog against fleas is bathing him with medicated flea shampoos. It is inexpensive, and one of the most common ways people treat and protect their pets against parasitic infections. Flea shampoos don’t provide long-lasting protection, so at the height of flea season, it is generally recommended to use the shampoo every two weeks.
Image Credit: Jennifer Hughes / via Flickr

2. Oral Medications
Using oral medications along with spot-on treatments will help control a serious flea infestation. Flea control pills disrupt the life cycle of fleas, but do not kill adult fleas on contact. But giving your dog pills (usually once a month) is a good choice for people who have small children in the home. There is a significant decrease in exposing children to potentially irritating topical treatments.
Image Credit: Joey Parsons / via Flickr

1. Spot-on Treatments
Despite the name, this is a very effective way to protect your pet. The applied drops create a full body water-repellent shield that won’t wash off, even during swimming or playing in the rain. Spot-on medication can also stop the active progress of the flea life cycle. Select a treatment based on your dog’s size, weight and age — too little won’t work, and too much can potentially poison your pet.
Image Credit: Suzanne Phillips / via Flickr

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Saturday silliness.

Oops, somehow Friday passed me by and I forgot all about the Friday funnies. 
Here's a silly for your Saturday instead. 

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Raw Food for dogs: Frequently Asked Questions.

There are a lot of misconceptions about raw feeding for dogs, and often those new to this lifestyle have many questions they would like to see answered. Some people have asked: "Will raw meat poison my dog?" or "Can I feed my dog bones?" here are some FAQ's and answers.

Will raw meat make my dog sick? I am afraid of exposing myself, my family and my dog(s) to salmonella and other food borne illness.
We handle raw meat on a daily basis whether or not we feed our dogs raw. All you need to do is follow your regular cleaning and food safety procedures. Make sure you disinfect the surfaces you are preparing the food on and any utensils you are using to prepare it. Make sure to also disinfect where your dog eats. Feeding your dog in its crate or even outside on the grass can make for easy clean up.

It is important to take note of the fact that dog foods are being recalled all the time for such issues as salmonella contamination. A Google search for “pet food recalls” will tell you all you need to know. It is also important to know that more often than not, dogs and cats handle food borne bacteria well due to the acidity of their stomach and short digestive tract. Bacteria is everywhere and you only have to be concerned if your pet’s immune system is already compromised prior to exposure.

Sanitize and disinfect after handling and preparing your dog’s raw meal, make sure to properly wash the food bowl afterwards and disinfect the place where the eat their meal – you will not have any problems!

Aren’t bones dangerous for my dog?
Wild, carnivorous animals have been hunting and consuming other animals for millions of years. Consider the close relation between wolves and dogs, now consider the fact that wolves and other canines will hunt and eat the bones, meat and organs of other animals. Your dog is truly no different! Your dog is physically designed to live a raw food lifestyle.

The only bones you should not offer are cooked bones. Cooking the bones changes the physical characteristics of the bone, causing them to splinter and become brittle. Cooked bones are harder to digest, and so the danger in them causing trouble in the intestinal tract is quite high. RAW bones are safe and easily digestible. Weight bearing bones, especially from large mammals, should be given as recreational chewing bones only since they are much, much harder than the edible bones canines consume.

My vet says that raw feeding is dangerous and not appropriate for our pets!
The truth is that veterinarians and veterinarian technicians often receive minimal nutritional training during their years of study. The courses they do take are funded and hosted by pet food companies whose agenda is to sell their kibble in veterinarian clinics and hopefully encourage vets to push their kibble brand on clients.

Instead, get second opinions from animal biologists, zoologists and animal nutritionists… you will encounter a very different opinion on raw feeding. These professionals who focus on the physical biology and anatomy of animals, as well as their ecology and nutritional needs, can attest to the digestive system of both wolf and dog, and how they are designed to thrive on raw meat, bones and organs.

Picture Can I feed my dog(s) grains, vegetables or fruits?
Dogs do not need vegetables or fruits to thrive as they are designed to thrive on a carnivore’s diet of meat, bone and organs. Since they are incapable of digesting grains properly, you should avoid feeding grains in general.  Grains are also often the source of food allergies and sensitivities in our pets.

You can, however, provide cooked vegetables if you want to supplement their diet. Treat vegetables like supplements in terms of adding vitamins and such in your own diet – you would simply be adding extra nutrition. For example, I give my dog cooked and mashed carrots for the beta-carotene. He doesn’t need it, but I like to improve coat colour with beta carotene. I also give omega 3s and omega 6s for skin, coat and brain health.

I am nervous about feeding raw!
Don't be! Raw feeding is as natural for dogs as breathing! If you decide to make the transition from kibble to raw, you're going to experience a wide array of beautiful results. You're going to be able to watch your dog's physical and mental condition improve! I always recommend people about the start feeding raw take before and after photographs of their beloved pets so that they can appreciate the wonderful changes that will happen.

Do I have to transition my dog slowly from kibble to raw?
No, you do not have to transition them slowly. The best way to get them on raw is to go cold turkey - dump the kibble in the garbage and fill their bowl with real, wholesome raw meat. It is not a good idea to mix kibble and raw food in one meal, as kibble takes much, much longer to digest than raw food does.

What kind of raw food should I start feeding with?
For the first week, it is ideal to feed only raw muscle meat. After having eaten kibble for so long, their digestive system will be a little out of order. A few days on something like ground beef, ground turkey or ground chicken will help them rebuild their stomach acidity and state to a normal level.
It is ideal to start with only one protein source. Chicken is a common starter meat, but you can use beef, turkey, pork or even venison. Just stick to one protein source for a few weeks. After you've started them on the raw muscle meat for about a week, go ahead and add some bone and organ. Start with the more softer bones like raw chicken wings or chicken necks. Once you see the stool settle and the volume drop, add variety.