Winter Pet Hazards

December 21, 2010

The Arctic Express is moving through New York and the rest of the country in a little pre-holiday blitz. As a result of the low temperatures and last night’s freezing rain, this morning there was salt on all the sidewalks on my route to The Animal Medical Center reminding me it is time to talk about winter hazards for pets.

Salt and Ice Melt

Real salt (NaCl), or a calcium chloride salt substitute used in some ice melts, both contain chloride which is irritating to dog paws and stomachs if they lick the salt off their feet. Calcium chloride can generate enough heat to burn the skin on delicate paws. Several companies make a pet safe (salt and chloride free) ice melt. They are typically brightly colored pellets so dog owners can easily see where the salt has been spread. Morton’s is making an eco-safe/pet safe ice melt with plant fertilizer in it. PETCO also offers a non-tracking, pet safe ice melt

If you and your dog go on long walks and might encounter a non-pet friendly ice melt, you will need to wash your pet’s feet after the walk. You might also consider musher’s wax applied to the footpad or putting boots on your pet before a walk. Sled dog owners apply musher’s wax to the pads of their dog’s feet to provide a protective coating against ice and cold. Personally, I think the boots, which are like little balloons for dog feet, are really cute and the dogs I see wearing them don’t seem to mind. Here are some fun dog boots for the fashion conscious.

Frigid Temperatures

Dogs living outdoors in their own doghouse, a kennel or barn not only need a warm, snug place to sleep with some sort of bedding to keep them up off the cold ground, they also need food and water. When cold weather hits, your outdoor dog can get very hungry and thirsty if their food is outside and frozen. Check your outdoor dog’s food and water frequently to be sure it is edible and drinkable. If the water is frozen, get a dog water bowl heater or consider bringing your dog inside until the weather tempers a bit.

Stray Voltage

Every year there are frightening stories of dogs and their owners who are “shocked” by stray voltage on wet streets. The combination of salt, water and stray voltage from poorly insulated wiring on light posts or street and sidewalk electric boxes can be dangerous. Never tie your dog to a lamppost. To be safe, walk your dog a good distance away from these potential hazards and report any possible sources of stray voltage to the police or electric company. If your dog is the unfortunate victim of stray voltage (they usually cry in pain or collapse while walking near a light post or electric box on a wet or slushy day), it is important to get them to a veterinarian as quickly as possible. Street Zaps has other helpful information about protecting your entire family against stray voltage.

This blog may also be found in the “Tales from the Pet Clinic” blog from WebMD.

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For nearly a century, The Animal Medical Center has been a national leader in animal health care, known for its expertise, innovation and success in providing routine, specialty and emergency medical care for companion animals. Thanks in part to the enduring generosity of donors, The AMC is also known for its outstanding teaching, research and compassionate community funds. Please help us to continue these efforts. Send your contribution to: The Animal Medical Center, 510 East 62nd Street, New York, NY 10065. For more information, visit www.amcny.org. To make an appointment, please call 212.838.7053.


Hitting the Road with Fluffy and Fido: Traveling with Pets

November 22, 2010

A recently published survey of pet owners throughout the world, found most 61% of pet owners take their pets on holiday more than once a year and travel more than 50 miles from their homes. Because so many pet owners who come to The Animal Medical Center ask a variety of questions about traveling with their pets, The AMC has two previous blog posts about travel to help address the common questions that arise. One post is devoted exclusively to international travel.

In addition, to help you prepare for any upcoming trips, I searched the Internet to compile a list of useful websites for the traveling pet and his owner. It is important to remember that the regulations for international travel are not standardized between countries and change frequently. So remember, your only source for pet travel information should be the country’s website and their consulate. The US Department of State has links to various countries’ consulates.

If you are bringing an animal into the USA from another country, importation is regulated by the Centers for Disease Control. This applies to American pets who are returning home as well as to foreign born pets entering for the first time.

General Travel Information

Pet Travel Clubs

These websites provide travel information for their members:

  • “Take Your Pet” offers a free pet travel newsletter to those who register. To access lists of pet friendly hotels, lists of pet related services and message boards, the fee is $1.95.
  • “Pets On The Go” is another membership travel website. To access their newsletter and concierge service for pet travel questions, the fee is $15/year.

Pet Shipping

Vacation is not always the reason for travel. When families relocate for business, moving the family pet can be challenging. To find a pet shipping service check the website of the Independent Pet and Animal Transportation Association International (IPATA). For a pet shipper to be a member, they must be legally registered to conduct business and provide animal shipping services. In the United States, shippers must be USDA certified to handle animals.

Pet Travel Products

  • Check out the Pet Travel Store for all your pet’s travel needs: collapsible bowl, disposable litter trays and a nifty hotel door hanger to remind the housekeeping staff you have a pet inside.
  • Life jackets for the boating dog and collapsible cat playpens may be just the vacation items your pets needs. They can be found online at J-B Wholesale Pet Supplies.

Be prepared. Do all that you can to ensure a safe and comfortable trip for everyone.

Have you taken your pet on vacation or traveled more than 50 miles with him? Share your experiences below in the “comments” section.

This blog may also be found in the “Tales from the Pet Clinic” blog from WebMD.
_________________________________________________

For nearly a century, The Animal Medical Center has been a national leader in animal health care, known for its expertise, innovation and success in providing routine, specialty and emergency medical care for companion animals. Thanks in part to the enduring generosity of donors, The AMC is also known for its outstanding teaching, research and compassionate community funds. Please help us to continue these efforts. Send your contribution to: The Animal Medical Center, 510 East 62nd Street, New York, NY 10065. For more information, visit www.amcny.org. To make an appointment, please call 212.838.7053.


Labor Day is No Picnic for Your Pet

August 31, 2010

To celebrate or, more accurately, say a fond farewell to the end of summer, there will be millions of backyard barbecues over Labor Day weekend. Since our pets are members of the family, we want them to participate in this end of summer ritual, but picnics pose some dangers for the family pet.

If you are the host family for the backyard barbecue, make sure your pets are safely corralled inside the house. Some cats will want to hide under the bed when the guests begin to arrive, but curious cats may try to join the party and could slip outside unnoticed. Make sure all pets have collars with ID tags and microchips before the party starts.

Dogs are more likely than cats to join the party, but party food should be off the menu for dogs. The picnic table laden with summer treats is a buffet of hazards for Fido. Barbecued chicken, ribs and steaks all contain bones which can be splintered and lodged somewhere in the esophagus or intestine. Stuck bones can be a holiday-wrecking emergency requiring endoscopy or surgery for removal. Trash can-raiding dogs will eat corncobs and peach pits — two other commonly stuck food items.

The dessert and drink tables are no safer. Chocolate, whether in cake or brownies, should not be on your dog’s menu as chocolate is toxic to dogs. Even the fruit tray can be a problem. Grapes and raisins both cause kidney failure in dogs. Why dogs are so sensitive and humans are resistant to the effects of these fruits is unknown. The sweet taste of fruity summer drinks left unattended on the lawn is attractive to dogs, but alcoholic beverages are a no-no. A few sips of an alcoholic beverage by a small pup can easily result in intoxication.

If you are picnicking at the beach or pool, be sure your dog can swim or have her wear a lifejacket. Watch out for cuts from sharp rocks and broken glass, or strong tides which could pull your dog out into the surf. Be sure to provide fresh water and a bowl — too much pond or salt water can cause stomach upset.

Whether you spend this weekend in your backyard, the beach or the woods, fleas and ticks will be there too. These pesky creatures are still active this time of year spreading disease causing organisms to both people and pets by their bites. Many dogs are allergic to flea bites and will have their weekend ruined by itching if bitten by a flea, so don’t forget this month’s dose of flea and tick preventative.

Have a fun and relaxing holiday weekend by keeping the pets and humans in your family safe and well.

_________________________________________________

For nearly a century, The Animal Medical Center has been a national leader in animal health care, known for its expertise, innovation and success in providing routine, specialty and emergency medical care for companion animals. Thanks in part to the enduring generosity of donors, The AMC is also known for its outstanding teaching, research and compassionate community funds. Please help us to continue these efforts. Send your contribution to: The Animal Medical Center, 510 East 62nd Street, New York, NY 10065. For more information, visit www.amcny.org. To make an appointment, please call 212.838.7053.


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