Tips for Valentine’s Day safety for your furry family member:
Chocolate. Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, both of which are toxic to dogs, cats, and birds. The darker the chocolate, the more danger it poses. As little as 1 ounce of baker’s chocolate or gourmet dark chocolate can cause toxic effects in a mid-sized dog or cat. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning are vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, and restlessness. In severe cases, seizures and heart failure can occur.
Xylitol. Xylitol is gaining popularity as a sweetener in many candies, sugar-free gum, and baked goods. While xylitol is completely safe for human consumption, it is extremely toxic to dogs. Small amounts can cause low blood sugar, seizures, liver failure, and even death. Signs of xylitol poisoning develop within 15 minutes of xylitol ingestion, and may include vomiting, weakness, lack of coordination, tremors, seizures, and coma. The most recent information shows that xylitol is not known to be toxic to cats, but since it’s always better ‘to be safe than sorry’, keep all treats away from cats and dogs!
Plants. Some plants can be toxic to your pet. Lilies are especially toxic to cats, causing kidney failure, so be sure to keep lilies out of special Valentine’s Day arrangements in your home. Luckily roses, everyone’s favorite Valentine’s bouquet, are non-toxic to dogs, cats, and birds!
Cellophane and Ribbons. Even the crinkly cellophane that your plants or flowers come wrapped in can pose a threat to your pets. The crinkly sound may be appealing to a cat or young puppy as a play toy, but if ingested, it can become lodged in your pet’s digestive system. Be sure to dispose of the wrapping properly and don’t leave cellophane or foil wrapping on plants you may receive. Cats love ribbons but they can be swallowed as well.
This Valentine’s Day, keep all candies, chocolates, baked goods, flowers, and plants out of reach and away from curious pets. If you suspect that your pet has eaten a toxic product, contact your veterinarian right away. Your pet has a better chance of recovery if treated early.
For more information you can visit http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/
Grain-free, raw meat diets are hugely popular with pet owners who like the idea of feeding their cats and dogs a diet that’s closer to what their ancestor ate in the wilds.
The problem is, there’s no hard, scientific evidence that raw meat–based diets (RMBDs) are any healthier than traditional dry or canned pet foods. According to clinical veterinary nutritionists at Tufts University, https://vet.tufts.edu/ grain-free foods are one of the fastest-growing segments of the pet food market. They’re often marketed as being more natural (read: healthier) for pets than grain-based diets. But, while sometimes disparaged as “fillers,” the opposite is true:
· whole grains can be a source of valuable nutrients to pets’ diets, including vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and fiber.
· “by products” do not include any part of an animal that we would not want to eat. They are a pure protein source
Now, new research published this month in Vet Record shows that RMBDs could actually pose a health threat to both pets and humans.
What they found is enough to make you sick. Literally:
· They found potentially deadly E. coli bacteria in 28 products, or 80% of all the pet foods tested. More worrisome, they found E. coli 0157:H7 in 8 products, or 23% of the total. 0157:H7 is a particularly virulent strain of E. coli responsible for an infectious outbreak that’s killed two people and hospitalized more than 50 in the United States and Canada over the past seven weeks. In those cases, contaminated romaine lettuce rather than meat is believed to be the culprit.
· Listeria monocytogenes was present in 19 products, or 54%, and other listeria species were found in 15, or 43%. Researchers wrote that the results of the study clearly demonstrate the presence of potential zoonotic pathogens in frozen RMBDs that may be a source of bacterial infections in pet animals and, if transmitted, pose a risk for human beings.
Of course, it’s not just handling raw pet food that can make people sick—people should thoroughly wash their hands after handling any kind of raw meat, including the meat they buy to feed their families.
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