Tag: health

Patio & Pets: Potentially Poisonous Cleaners

Cats, dogs, and other pets love to be outdoors. Having your own garden and patio can give them the freedom and space to run around, while giving you the confidence that they will remain safe. While the streets may contain potentially fatal traffic, predatory animals and poisonous plants, have you thought about the safety of your own backyard?

In 2010, the Animal Poison Control Center received over 167,000 calls pertaining to pets being exposed to toxic substances. We’ve discussed the dangers of fertilizer and toxic garden plants, but the products you use to clean your garden could also be dangerous to pets.

 What to Avoid on Your Patio

The patio is a great place to socialize and enjoy the outdoors, so it’s understandable you’ll want to keep it looking clean. However, many patio cleaners contain benzalkonium chloride. This chemical is also found in many common household disinfectants, including antibacterial cleaners used on water fountains. Benzalkonium chloride can be extremely toxic to cats, leading to severe reactions and even death.

In an analysis of cases of 245 cats being poisoned by benzalkonium chloride, 126 were poisoned through ingestion alone, while many cats were also affected through contact with the skin. Therefore it is vital you check cleaning products for this chemical. Instead, consider using more natural cleaning solutions. For example, lemon, vinegar and bicarbonate of soda can be paired with a powerful pressure washer.

For decking, you may have used a varnish to protect the woodwork. However, varnish tends to be oil based which means it contains harmful solvents which can be accidentally inhaled. This is likely to irritate the intestine, causing diarrhoea. It may also cause an inflammation of the lungs leading to infection of breathing difficulties. It is essential to allow the varnish to dry completely before letting your pet near the wood decking.

 Emergency Response

Dogs and cats are curious animals, so it can be difficult to completely prevent them gaining access to harmful cleaning products. It can take over 6 hours for effects to become clear, but it is important to act quickly.

If you witness your pet coming into contact with a dangerous cleaning product, then you need to remove the product thoroughly and manually. It is not recommended that you use water. Instead use a paper towels and remember to wear protective gloves.

 During the summer, your pets will love to play in the fountain or sunbathe on the patio. It is important as a responsible owner to make sure the products you use to clean your garden and patio are pet safe. If an accident does occur, make sure you recognize the symptoms and act quickly, so that your pet can get the care and medication they need to make a full recovery.

Photo by The Poodle Gang on Unsplash

Hot Car – A Year Round Threat to Your Pet

Don’t let the changing trees and cool fall breeze fool you. With summer winding down, many pet owners may think it’s okay to leave their pet in the car for “just a few minutes”. Did you know that the temperature in your car rises the most in the first ten minutes of being parked in the sun? “Quick trips” in somewhere will have little effect on how hot your pet becomes. Here is a quick overview of how the temperature in your car changes after being parked:

How Hot Will Your Car Get?

  • The First 10 Minutes: The temperature increases between 10-20 degrees.
  • The First 30 Minutes: The temperature is increasing by an average of over one degree per minute. A car parked in the sun on a 75 degree day will heat up to approximately 105 degrees during a 30 minutes time frame.
  • The First Hour: The temperature inside is, on average, 43 degrees hotter than it is outside.

Sure, cracking a window can help, but only so much. Studies have shown on an 85 degree day, with the windows cracked, interior temperatures still reached 102 degrees in 10 minutes! That’s mighty toasty, especially if you’ve got a fur coat on!

We know it can be hard to leave your pet at home when they give you those eyes and look dejected… Trust us though, a sad pet at home is better than a heat stressed (or worse) pet along for the ride.

 

Thanks to Fred Beans of West Chester for the helpful infographic!

3 Common Household Toxins That Can Poison Your Pet

According to the EPA, 50% of all illnesses in both pets and humans can be traced to indoor pollution and toxins. Additionally, indoor pollution is directly related to the use of home cleaners. Cleaning products are filled with tons of ingredients that include ammonia, chlorine, glycol ethers, bleach and formaldehyde that can put pets and humans at risk of anemia, cancer, kidney damage, and liver disease.

No matter how clean and organized you make your home, it’s likely to always hold some sort of danger for your pets. Just like many common food items, household products can make a pet ill or even kill them. Due to their natural curiosity, animals like dogs will sniff around unfamiliar smells without being aware of the toxic chemicals around them. Since pets are smaller than humans are, they become more at risk due to the close vicinity of carpets, garage floors, and restricted spaces that may carry chemical residue. That is why it is important to keep pet owners on their toes and ensure that they make their homes safe for their pets.

Here are the top 3 common household cleaning toxins that can poison your pet.

Antifreeze

Ethylene glycol is an ingredient that can be found in liquid rust inhibitors like antifreeze. It is found in a variety of products, especially the car antifreeze. Due to the sweet smell, animals become drawn into the chemical and even end up consuming the harmful ingredient. Consumption will lead to deadly side effects, as just half a teaspoon will be enough to kill a cat. In fact, the Humane Society of the United States estimates a total of 10,000 cats and dogs die every year due to the exposure of ethylene glycol. The best pet-friendly alternative to antifreeze is to use the “low toxic” version that is made of propylene glycol. The chemical is just as effective as ethylene; however, it contains a fraction of antifreeze.

Formaldehyde

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, animal inhalation of formaldehyde was reported to increase the risk of nasal squamous cell cancer. However, despite its probable cause as a human carcinogen, it is still used in agriculture, home furnishings, construction materials, cosmetics and household cleaners. When inhaled or absorbed through the skin it is considered as highly toxic. To avoid, you can purchase doghouses that are made of solid wood and allow them to “off-gas” before introducing your pet.

Mothballs

When used properly, mothballs can be an effective method to killing moths. However, they will also pose a dangerous threat to pets when used carelessly. Inhalation of mothball vapors can lead to headaches, nausea, respiratory distress, eye irritation, and more. When ingested, mothballs can cause toxic poisoning that will lead to liver damage, seizures, respiratory failure, heart arrhythmia, and especially death.

 

Domestic pets may have a strong sense of smell and curiosity, but they do not have the proper defense against the dangers of toxins in your home. As a pet owner, why not consider placing them in animal day care or hire a pet nanny if your away to ensure your pet’s safety and health?

Furthermore, it is important to keep in mind that there are plenty of environmentally friendly cleaning products available on the market that are safe to use around pets and children. You can substitute toxic cleaning products with natural soaps, liquids, and powders that use biodegradable ingredients. If you are unable to locate all-natural cleaning brands, consider choosing natural cleaners such as baking soda and vinegar as just a little mixture will go a long way to cleaning your home without harming your pets.

Guest Post by Sally Writes

Photo by Jacob Curtis on Unsplash

Camping With Your Dog – Fun, Safety, & More!

Whether its spring, summer, or fall getting back into nature with your dog can be a rewarding experience. Camping is just the change of scenery we all need once in awhile! Campfires, starry nights, swimming, and new smells are a delight to man and beast. Camping can be awesome, but it’s not always as easy as just tossing a tent in the back of your vehicle and hitting the woods – especially if your bringing your dog. Our friends over at Redfin have complied “The Complete Safety Guide for Camping with Dogs”. Here are some of the highlights to get you geared up!

Camping with Fido

  • Prep your dog – Make sure your dog is up to par before taking them out. A young spritely pup will be eager to bounce about the mountains and trails but an older dog may have a hard time keeping up with you. Be sure your pet is up-to-date on vaccinations and is prepared for a potential onslaught of ticks. Your dog is going to encounter lots of aspects of nature they may not be around much at home.
  • Pack for your dog – Don’t forget to bring all the important things you may need for your dog. Make sure your first-aid kit is suitable for both your needs. Check out Redfin for a list of things to include. Leashes are still needed as well as other tether items to help keep your dog in your campsite and not out wrestling bears or snooping around other campers sites. Bring all the things that your pet needs to be comfortable and satisfied!
  • Safe Camping Practices – Keep your dog where you can see them at all times an know what to do in case of emergencies. Lots of interesting smells and new critters can lead a dog to danger quickly! Keep your human food out of their reach, and make sure you know and are following the campsite or park regulations.

Most importantly take it easy and have fun! Prep your pet for camping excursions in small steps! Maybe a night in a tent in the backyard? Then move up to something close and familiar before you hit Yosemite for a week!

photo credit: sonstroem Camp Dog via photopin (license)

Classroom Pets – What You Need to Know!

The summer has blown by and back-to-school is just around the corner! Are you a teacher or a parent? Did you have a classroom pet when you went to school? Maybe you’re a student who’d like to have one?Classroom pets offer a variety of cool and interesting ways to learn and engage students. They are also an obligation though. Let us walk you through some of the ups and downs!

What sort of animal makes a good classroom pet?

Not a dog or a cat for sure! Low maintenance animals are best. Ideally, it’s not a critter that needs to be taken home every night, is small and doesn’t cause classroom disturbance.

  • Guinea Pigs – Small, relatively quiet. They require minimal care, are generally calm and easy to handle. You will need to have a pair though to prevent boredom and loneliness.
  • Hamsters – All the same features of a guinea pig, but smaller. They do tend to be nocturnal though, so students will see less of their prime activity hours.
  • Lizards – Iguanas, bearded dragons, and the like make super low maintenance classroom pets. Their needs will vary slightly depending on the type you get but they usually require less food, interaction, and are easy to handle.
  • Rats – Nice clean pet shop rats (not the ones from the alley!) are a super smart and active classroom pet. Students can spend time building mazes and test the rat’s brain power! They are also less likely to bite than hamsters or mice.
  • Fish – Probably the lowest maintenance pet, but also likely the one with the least amount of reward. They can add a nice, calming atmosphere to the classroom though and make good study subjects for aquatic science! Also, consider hermit crabs!

Classroom Pet Pro’s

Pets in the learning space can provide exciting new ways for students to engage with their curriculum. Animals can frequently be easily incorporated into math (animal weight, food measurements), science, and even history, social studies, and literature! They also instill a sense of responsibility and respect for life in children. They can also have a great calming effect on nervous or upset students. Plus, parents might appreciate seeing how their student interacts with a classroom pet before committing to one in the home!

Classroom Pet Con’s

Most of the cons have to do with the added responsibility on the teachers part. Teachers are, ultimately, responsible for the welfare of the pet. They need to ensure students are performing daily feedings and care properly and that the pet’s living space is kept clean. They are also responsible for vet visits (though some schools may foot the bill), shots, and spaying/neutering. It’s also important for the pet to have a place to go during vacations, or even the weekends depending on the animal.  It’s also suggested that parents give their expressed permission for their child to interact with the school pet, in the case of a rogue bite or scratch.

photo credit: Ukelens Guinea Pig Photoshooting Selection via photopin (license)

Diet Changes for Your Cat – What You Need to Add!

Before cats became civilized and domesticated, their primary diet consisted of raw meat. Of course, you aren’t going to let your cat out to grab a bite to eat for dinner every night, so you’ll feed him/her a commercial cat food. But what kinds are the right ones that provide a balanced and nutritious diet that your fur ball will thrive on?

Well, if you understand the 5 ways to improve their diet, you can keep your kitty happy and healthy for life.

Veggies are Good

You may think that as a carnivore, a cat only needs meat to survive. The truth is that even when they were wild they always took in some veggies by eating grass or the digested vegetation in their prey’s stomach. So, giving your kittycat a few veggies is a nice little treat. Familiarize them into your cat’s diet by mixing them into their regular cat food, or if they will have them, giving bits and pieces as treats. Some veggie suggestions are broccoli, green beans, squash, and carrots, but always make sure that meat makes up the bulk of your cat’s diet. However, a few veggies added every once in a while is a good thing.

Always Serve Cooked Meat

Yes, cats ate raw meat in the wild, and they also got parasites like worms too. Meat treats are terrific for your cat, but be safe and make sure they are well cooked.

Eggs Make Great Snacks

Eggs are a wonderful source of protein and B vitamins, and it doesn’t matter if they are sunny side up, over easy or hard boiled. Just make sure they are cooked, and you’ll be good to go.

Add Omega 3’s to Their Diet

Essential fatty acids, like Omega 3’s, are just as good for cats as they are for humans. Cold water fish are loaded with them, they are heart healthy and your cat’s fur will be silkier and shiny. Better still, research shows that they slow the spread of cancer, and if your cat has arthritis, they’ll reduce the inflammation.

… And Probiotics

If your cat has digestive problems, probiotics are the best thing you can do for them. Probiotic supplements are known for creating more effective and efficient digestion while strengthening a cat’s immune system too.

Follow the suggestions as illustrated, and you’ll see for yourself that a healthy diet means a healthy cat.

Thanks Feline Living for the great tips and infographic!

 

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Shelter Animal Adoption Tips

Pet adoption is a cause near and dear to our hearts here at Pet Nanny. We like to see every critter in a warm loving home! Anything we can do to ease the adoption process and get a shelter animal in your home, we want to do!

Cindy Grant at NoLongerWild.com has compiled the ultimate treasure trove of shelter animal adoption tips! The labor of love is really impressive! Here are some of the highlights of her work, but ultimately, we suggest you head over to her site too for the full details if you have any questions or concerns!

Shelters

Did you know there are different types of animal shelters? Each different type has its own operating procedures. You may find it helpful to know what kind your local shelter is so you know what to expect before you go there! Here are the five types Cindy identifies:

  • Municipal Animal Shelters
  • Private Full Service Non-Profit Animal Shelters
  • Non-Profit Full Service With Animal Control
  • Non-Profit With Limited Space Animal Rescue Shelters
  • Animal Rescue Groups

Need help identifying good shelters from bad ones? She helps with this too! Aside from taking note of the general well-being of the animals and their living conditions she also addresses a couple important, yet not often mentioned aspects:

  • Is the staff friendly? That’s a great sign that they are happy to help a future pet parent! However, don’t be quick to get offended as they may grill you over certain aspects of your life. They’re not there to be your friend, they’re there to ensure each pet goes to a loving and capable home so they don’t see them back at the shelter!
  • Shelter pets aren’t “free”! While shelters shouldn’t demand a “donation” with adoption, they will charge you an adoption fee. This isn’t for-profit though, so don’t get the wrong idea. This fee frequently covers the cost of spaying/neutering, shots, and other preventative care your pet received under their care. It’s important that you get an itemized list of these things so you know what your pet has had, and what it still needs before you head home!

Know What Questions To Ask About Your Shelter Animal!

Shelter pets have a history and you should find out as much as you can before you adopt. Does it have any preexisting health conditions? Why is it in the shelter to begin with? What’s it’s general temperament? Important questions you need to ask! Make yourself a list – but be prepared to answer some yourself!

 

 

photo credit: M.P.N.texan Helen via photopin (license)

Up-to-Date Food Recalls – Keeping Your Pet Safe

As pet parents, we all try our hardest to keep our fur babies safe and healthy! Sometimes that delicious food or those tasty treats aren’t so safe though… Most of us don’t have a real-time option for pet food recalls. This leaves us relying on social media or the news to find out and by then it could be too late!
Fret no more! Bookmark this page for your #1 resource for current pet food recalls courtesy of PawDiet.com.

Recalls By PawDiet.com

 What causes a food recalls?

Pet food recalls happen when the food company because aware that a batch that has left the factory may have become tainted. Sometimes they are alerted to potential issues internally, other times recalls don’t happen until the company is alerted by a concerned pet owner who has had an issue.

Sometimes these recalls occur due to contaminants – some that could be deadly. Other times because of plastic, metal, or other foreign bits could be contained in it. Sometimes it could be simply that the food was mislabeled.

 

Cookout Pet Safety For Your Summer Vacation

Most schools have let out for the year by now – that means summer is about to get into full swing! A favorite family and community pass time for ages have been the summer cookout. Lawn chairs, cool drinks, colorful dresses, and lots of grilling! Do you know how to keep your pet safe?

Cookout Pet Threats

  • Hot grills and fire pits – Most cats and dogs know better than to sniff around too closely to something that’s on fire, but sometimes the smell of those unattended burgers can be too much for them to bear! All reason goes out the window as they decide it’s worth the risk. Make sure someone is keeping a close eye on the food at all times!
  • Hazardous foods – While most foods found at a cookout might not kill your pet, they could cause some serious stomach upset, especially if they aren’t used to such foods. Onions and avocados are two bellyachers as well as all those preservatives and salt found in chips and hot dogs. Let guests know you’d rather they not feed your pet, or better yet, keep your pets sequestered elsewhere while the bulk of the food is going around!
  • Lawn games – Sometimes cookouts include horseshoes, volleyball, badminton, or other yard sport. An over anxious pet can easily get in the way of participants injuring both them and the guests. Chewing on abandoned lawn toys can pose a choking hazard too.
  • Candles and torches – Keep your pets away from tables with candles or tiki torches to prevent a fire hazard.
  • Strange people – Pets that aren’t used to large groups can become over excited or nervous during cookouts. Especially if there are loud noises like music or fireworks involved too. If your pet is familiar with most of the guests or easily excitable leave them at home or put them inside somewhere with some water, food, and toys of their own. DO NOT LEAVE THEM IN A CAR.

photo credit: frankieleon Dogs and Cats via photopin (license)

Pet Insurance – What You Need To Know!

It’s no secret that vet bills can be costly. When deciding to get a pet many pet parents only consider the basics – spaying/neutering, shots, annual check-ups. What if your pet it injured though? Or if has special needs? Becomes elderly? All these examples can cause those vet bills to soar out of control and leave owners feeling like they are compromising the quality care a loved one needs. Enter pet insurance. We’ve dug up some of the quick facts about pet insurance to help you learn a little more about ensuring your pet’s health and keeping those medical bills at bay!

Pet Insurance 101

  • Why? – Everyone needs this. If you’re serious about your pet it’s your responsibility to be serious about their health. Even pet parent’s blessed with healthy pets run the risk of accidents (snake bite? accidental poisoning?) and the inevitability of aging. It’s the best way to protect yourself financially and make sure your pet always has the care they need!
  • How Does It Work? – Most Pet Insurance reimburses you. If you don’t feel like you can pay the upfront cost with savings, credit card, or other emergency funds, talk with your veterinarian first about payment plan options that will work with your insurance.
  • Cost? – Pet Insurance can cost anywhere from around $10/month up to $40/month. Just like with health insurance for yourself, be sure to look at how much is covered, deductibles, and if there are any add-on options you may need like dental. Check out this site for a nice comprehensive comparison between some of the leading pet insurance companies.

Be sure to ask your vet what their experiences are with insurance and if they think it would be a good idea for you and your pet!

photo credit: GregHounslow Puppy with Cast via photopin (license)

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