Lilies and Cats

 

Please note a faux lily plant was used for this photograph.

The beginning of Spring just arrived and with it comes a significant hazard for our feline friends: Lilies. While there are plenty of plants which are toxic to cats, we often find that many people are unaware lilies are among them. Beyond that, they don’t just cause simple GI upset like some plants might. Lilies can be deadly to cats.

It is important to know that, for the purposes of this, we are discussing specifically the members of the Lilium family. There are many plants which are called lily without falling into that classification. Some of these, such as the peace lily or calla lily, are still toxic but usually with less severe effects often limited to drooling & GI upset. Others, such as the canna lily or plantain lily (hosta), are non-toxic. 

Pictured below: Lilium (true lily), Peace lily, Calla lily, Canna lily & Plantain lily.

 

Ingestion of true lilies can cause renal failure in a cat and even result in death; as little as a few grains of pollen have been seen to cause this effect. For many plants, we know the toxic compounds that cause whatever the resulting symptoms are. With lilies, however, the specific substance is unknown. Additionally, many plants only produce toxins in specific parts of the plant; true lilies produce their toxic principle in all parts, from the roots and bulbs to the petals and leaves. This is true even in minuscule amounts. 

Example of true lily belonging to genus Lilium. Not safe for cats.

Should your cat get into true lilies, it is important that you contact your veterinarian or local emergency veterinary hospital and get your pet treated immediately. Lily ingestion is absolutely an emergency and should be treated as such; do not wait until the next morning. If aggressive IV fluids are administered within a few hours of ingestion, the kidneys can sometimes be spared. The combination of an extremely low toxic “dose” and the severity of the resultant toxicity mean that we always advise not having lilies in any household where there are cats, including those which are less or non-toxic.

 

That’s the best way to keep your feline friends safe.

Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe During Football Parties

The biggest football game of the year is approaching quickly and perhaps you, like many others are hosting a party to watch the big game. You may be looking forward to friends, food, drinks and football, but your dog, cat or parrot may have a very different perspective when it comes to the festivities. New people, noises and smells can be very exciting, but for some it’s  overwhelming. Pet parents need to be aware there are a few things about a sports event party that are downright dangerous for our pets. Here are a few tips from Canna Companion that will help your pet during the big game.

 

Cheering and Shouting Plus Pets Don’t Mix – You and your friends love cheering for your team loudly and enthusiastically. Keep in mind that this out of the ordinary sound level and intensity might result in your pet becoming over stressed. Situational anxiety is a real thing for our furry and feathered friends, and it can be scary for your pet and even dangerous for your guests. Some pets might try to hide in or under something, pace, hypersalivate (drool) or in extreme situations try to escape the house unsafely or engage in other harmful behaviors. They may act fearfully, bark, or snap at strangers who try to approach.

The best thing to help your dog through these types of situational anxiety triggers is to be prepared in advance. There are a number of supplements offered by Canna Companion that have a calming effect on the mind when situational anxieties arise. One tip that is assured to help them remain calmer: let your pet have their own space, behind closed doors, with plenty of comforting bedding. Leave soft music on to help distract them from party goer cheers. 

 

Sporting Event Snack Foods Should be Kept Out of Reach – Some of the common appetizers at a sports event party are potentially dangerous for dogs. If your pet happens to be social, they may prefer to hang with the crowd. However, make sure to keep food off lowered tables and out of your dog’s reach. Advise your guests not to feed your pet, no matter how cute they are or funny things they say.

  •  Chicken wings have harmful bones that can splinter and wreak havoc on a dog or cat’s intestinal tract or get stuck in the throat, causing them to choke. 
  • Onions, garlic, and chives can cause upset digestive systems and damage red blood cells, especially  in cats. Make sure dips are out of reach or kept in covered containers.
  • Salt found on chips and pretzels causes excessive urination and thirst. Most of these snacks are also carbohydrate heavy and inappropriate for dogs and cats
  • Dark chocolate is especially toxic and can cause GI upset and restlessness and death in severe cases.
  • Cheese and other dairy products can lead to upset stomach and diarrhea, as most pets lack the enzymes to break down lactose. If you offer any diary treats, limit it to 1 per party and make the portion size small (~1 tsp).

 

Watch the Alcohol and Caffeine – Alcohol is toxic for pets. It can cause any number of problems including vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, tremors, loss of coordination, abnormal blood acidity, coma, or even death. Caffeine from soda, iced tea, or coffee can be just as bad. It can lead to abnormal heart rhythms, seizure, or death. Keep the drinks in hand and away from all pets, and if your dog, cat or bird likes to investigate “empty” cups, best to leave them in their own room until after the party.

 

Secure Your Trash –  It might make sense to leave a trash bin in an open space so your guests can find it quickly, but if your guests can get to it easily, so can your pet. Getting at the paper plates or plastic cups that have no food on them can cause indigestion, choking or obstruction in the gastrointestinal tract. This can lead to an emergency veterinary visit. So, it’s best to keep the garbage in a secure place and out of reach of your pet. If you do leave the trash can out, make sure it’s a secure one even the craftiest critter cannot get into.

 

Watch Out for Clumsy Drinkers – There’s nothing wrong with having a few adult beverages. It’s a party, after all. But people who have had a few drinks tend to be a little more touchy-feely, especially if there’s a cute pet running around. The lack of coordination and reduction in motor skills can also lead people to be clumsy, and they might not be able to react in time if a dog suddenly appears in their path. Tripping, stumbling party guests can lead to injuries for pets and humans alike.

Keep an eye on your pets. If your pets seem to be having difficulty settling down or are trying to eat foods available, it may be best to secure them in a different room or kennel, if that is a known safe place for your pet. Contact us for additional tips so you and your friends can enjoy the game, and your pets enjoy some R&R. 

 

First Aid Tips for Cats

We always hope that we won’t face an emergency, but it isn’t something that can ever be guaranteed. In the event that we do, though, a little first aid knowledge can go a long way. It is especially important during times where there is a lot of change, such as the holiday season. There are numerous threats that our feline friends face during this time such as potentially toxic decorative plants, ribbons and other gift wrap, bones from a holiday meal, and burns from candles or Christmas lights.  (Quick tip: keep your cat away from packaging until all ribbons are thrown away in a cat-proof trash bin; bones should go in there too before letting your cat enjoy the festivities.)

The best thing we can do to protect our feline friends in these circumstances is to be prepared

  1. Make sure you always have the number for your regular veterinarian and for the closest emergency vet clinic posted in an easy to find place, as well as affixed to your cat’s carrier.  Consider making this a laminated card or luggage tag, which includes hospital name, regular doctor’s name, hospital phone number and physical & website addresses. On the other side, have your cat’s information: name, age or date of birth, breed, sex, known conditions or special handling needs, and medication/supplement list.   
  2. The Red Cross offers an app which provides first aid information which you can download here. This app provides quick access to first aid information for your cat. 
  3. Have an emergency kit ready to go, and keep it next to your cat’s carrier.  Be sure to include food, water, and other items that they would need in the event that you had to evacuate.  

What to Include in Your Cat’s ER Kit

In addition to medical information, have a minimum of 3 days worth of basic supplies: collapsible food & water dishes, favorite food & treats, unopened bottle of water, security items (soft blanket, toys, catnip), pee pads (accidents happen!) and cat litter box (plus litter).  If your cat eats raw food, always have an unopened package in the freezer which you can quickly grab and place in its own insulated container.  Having a few cans of high quality cat food or favorite freeze dried raw food mix may also be a good idea.

Include a list of what symptoms might indicate ingestion of a commonly found toxic substances like mistletoe, lilies, acetaminophen, and antifreeze.  A cat who has eaten something toxic may exhibit signs such as lethargy, drooling, tremors, vomiting, dilated pupils, and more. Contact your veterinarian or local veterinary emergency hospital immediately in the event that you think they might have ingested a toxin. If you are able, inform them what was consumed, when it was eaten and how much you think they ingested. They may advise you on how to induce vomiting or they may recommend you come straight to the veterinary hospital, depending on how far your pet’s symptoms have advanced.

In a smaller, labeled, container within your kit, include items like medications, supplements, rescue therapies, non-stick bandages, nitrile gloves, and an unopened bottle of artificial tears (great for flushing out eyes and wounds).  Talk with your veterinarian regarding which medications should be on hand for your cat’s specific needs. For older cats, this may include supplies for fluid therapy, preventatives for feline herpes viral flares, and additional support for older joints.  

Multipurpose Supplements 

  • Honey: in the event that your cat experiences a burn, it is important to note what burned them (candle, stove burner, electric cord) and get them veterinary care as soon as possible.  That said, there are a number of steps that one may take on their own first, particularly with thermal burns. It is vital to remember to cool them slowly, as doing so too quickly can cause shock.You can run cool water over the burn or use covered cool compresses.  Never apply cold compresses or ice without wrapping in a towel first. If possible, shave the fur around the burn so it’s easier to treat and monitor progress.  (This may be easier done at the vet’s office after pain medications are administered.) If the wound is not too painful, clean with warm soapy water, pat dry and apply Manuka honey.  Honey has been used for thousands of years in wound care and is safe for cats.  Make sure to cover the burn with a moist cloth when you are transporting your cat to the veterinarian, to keep the area clean and cool.
  • Hemp supplement: the stress of holidays, people coming over or having to travel can be lessened with calming supplements like hemp derived CBD. When supported the endocannabinoid system (ECS) excels at managing temporary stressors.  Your cat’s ECS is in high gear during these times and giving a dose of hemp oil 2-3 times daily should help him feel calmer. If your cat is already taking capsules, you may need to increase the dose or give hemp oil in addition to his maintenance support.  Contact us if you have any questions; we’re happy to help you with your cat’s individual needs. 
  • Essential oil blend or kit: yes, essential oils can be used safely in cats, helping providing another layer of immune system support (for wounds) and calming effect (for anxiety), among other health benefits.  Make sure to choose oil brand which source and extract responsibly. A drop of lavender oil around wounds can assist in microbial control, while blends containing chamomile provide soothing effects.   If you want to learn more, these resources can get you on the right track: First Aid with Veterinary Medical Aromatherapy (great to have in your first aid kit) and Animal Desk Reference II (very detailed).
  • TCVM or other herbal blend supplements: if your cat already takes such supplements, be sure to pack them in the kit.  If not, contact your holistic or integrative veterinarian and ask which first aid herbal blends they recommend. American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association’s Find a Vet function can help you find a holistic practitioner in your area.  

 

Traveling with Your Cat

Traveling with your feline friend, whether going to the veterinarian or visiting friends or family, can be stressful. It is safest to have them in a kennel or carrier, with soft bedding or a pad to lay on.  Ideally the kennel should be seatbelted in the back seat (like you would a child’s car seat) and many kennels and carriers have a place to secure the seat belt. It is not safe to have your cat roaming freely in your vehicle while you are driving. Your cat could become frightened and dart under the brake pedal or accelerator, possibly causing an accident. In addition, having a free roaming the vehicle is a dangerous distraction. Experienced feline travelers can wear a harness or seat belt harness. It is a good idea to make sure the lead or leash is short enough that if you have to stop, your kitty will remain in the seat.  

Make sure your destination is either cat friendly like these hotels, or that you’ve spoken with your host about your cat’s needs.  In general, keep your cat in the room in which you’ll sleep. Set the room as best as possible to a layout similar to one at home — anything which is familiar will greatly reduce your cat’s stress.  Most of these security items can be included in your ER kit. In addition to providing familiar smells, keeping your cat in one room gives her a place to hide from curious children and pets … and from bolting in an unfamiliar environment.  Just in case, have your cat microchipped prior to travel if this wasn’t done earlier in life.   

Please seek veterinary care as soon as possible following any use of first aid.  They can guide you on next steps and place the whole incident in your cat’s medical records. Take notes regarding what therapies were provided and when they were administered.  This will ensure that your feline friend receives the best care and is able to recover with less risk of additional complications. Emergencies and accidents may be unavoidable, but you can help your cat get through such tough times with a little knowledge and preparedness.

Winter Garden Concerns

Many people don’t think of winter as a time for gardening, but there is plenty of yard work that gets done and plenty of plants that grow well or get planted during those months. A number of these can be hazardous to your pets and it’s important to be sure that you’re checking what they have access to. Additionally, people have a lot of holiday related plants in their homes at this time of year, and there are concerns among those as well.

 

Outdoor Winter Plants

The most common things people grow in a winter vegetable garden are leafy greens and plants in the allium family.  Most greens are safe or will cause, at most, mild GI upset.  Allium family plants, like onions, shallots, garlic, and leeks, are toxic and should be kept out of reach of both dogs and cats. Here are three leafy favorites dogs and cats can both commune with: spinach, lettuce & parsley.  

Flowering plants can also post a problem.  Hellebores are lovely and commonly found in bloom during winter, though pets should not have access to them.  Other winter bloomers to look out for include aconite (monkshood), clematis, and boxwood.  Aconitine is an alkaloid found within monkshood roots, and quite common as Chinese medical ingredient, though is only used after specific processing designed to minimize to toxic principle.  Lastly, the bulbs of showy bloomers are often planted this time of year, and there are a number we need to keep diggers away from:  iris, crocus, daffodils, and snowdrops. These are only toxic when ingested, and can cause a wide variety of ailments from mild (drooling and vomiting) to severe (seizures and death), so consider pet proofing bulb garden beds.  

 

Indoor Winter Plants

If you are growing in a greenhouse, keep in mind some of the most popular tasty treats for humans, like tomatoes , have toxic principles in their leaves and are best kept away from your pets. Instead, grow pet friendly herbs like catnip, basil, cilantro, rosemary (consider avoiding if you have a pet with seizures), and lavender.  Or keep it simple and grow whatever you like, just keep the door locked so curious paws cannot gain entry.  


Decorative and seasonal gift plants typically contain some form of toxic principle.   As previously mentioned, daffodils and amaryllis are toxic, though unlikely to cause serious harm. However, lilies can be found in many houses at Christmas and even a tiny amount can be deadly to a cat. Poinsettia generally causes mild GI upset, but holly and mistletoe are both far more dangerous, so hang the mistletoe with care and leave holly berries outside and away from pets.  

And then, of course, we have the beloved Christmas tree.  Fallen needles pose at best an oral irritant, and at worst a trip to the doctor for emergency surgery as needles can perforate the intestines.  Vacuum regularly or consider a medium sized artificial tree

In addition to the needles, live trees need water which is toxic, so consider this tip if your family owns a tree farm: 

  • Cut a slit into the middle of a plastic lid large enough to cover the opening; 
  • Cut out a circle in the middle of the lid about the size of the tree trunk;
  • Slip this around the tree trunk and lower it so it covers the water container. 
  • You may have to tape it down to keep the pets out.

 


Make sure you are familiar with your closest emergency vet, just in case, and if your cat ingests any part of a lily, please go immediately. If your pet gets into any of the other above plants, bulbs, or vegetables, please call your veterinarian for further advice.  It is generally best to keep all indoor plant decor in areas that pets cannot access, or make sure you grow a pet friendly garden you all can enjoy.

First Aid Tips for Dogs

 

First Aid is important knowledge for any pet parent to have. It is particularly critical during times where there is a lot going on, such as the holiday season. There are numerous changes to routines animals face during this time: out of town guests, travel, inclimate weather, and more. Any of these can pose a threat to their well-being and emotional state, whether it is via food they shouldn’t eat, stress from air travel, or a paw sliced open on ice. 

The best thing we can do to protect our canine companions in these circumstances is to be prepared. There are really only two steps to canine first aid preparedness: know the basics & consider additional circumstances.  The basics are pretty easy, if a bit detailed.  

 

Medical Information

Have the contact information for your regular veterinarian and for the closest emergency vet clinic posted in an easy to find place, and placed in an outer pocket or luggage tag in your dog’s first aid kit.  Include hospital name, regular doctor’s name, phone number, and physical & website addresses. On the other side of this paper, have your dog’s information.  Be specific and include name, age or date of birth, breed, sex, known conditions or special handling needs, and medication/supplement list.  It’s also a good idea to download the Red Cross’s app, so you have quick access to first aid information for your dog.  

 

First Aid Kit

The main portion of first aid kit should contain a minimum of 3 days worth of basic supplies: collapsible food & water dishes, food & favorite treats, unopened bottle of water, and security item(s) like favorite blanket or toy.  For you preppers, check out doggie bug out bags; you can buy one ready-made though it’s ideal to tailor one for your dog’s specific needs.  

Packed and labeled in a smaller container, include items like medications, supplements, rescue therapies, unopened bottle of artificial tears or small bottle of unopened contact lens solution (both great for gently washing debris from eyes and wounds).  Some medications may harm your dog if stopped without tapering. Examples include anti-seizure, anti-anxiety, and GI or immune-modulation medications. Drugs like antibiotics, antacids, and prescription eye/ear medications should also be in the first aid kit, but a missed dose is unlikely to cause serious problems.  

 

Good supplements to have are those which serve multiple purposes so you don’t have to pack a ton of them.  Here are our favorites and why; remember to pick ones you know historically help you dog, and change them up as her health care needs change.

  • Hemp supplement: the endocannabinoid (ECS) excels at helping manage temporary stressors.  When your dog has need of first aid, her ECS is in high gear and will happily utilize compounds from hemp products.  This is one case where hemp oil is preferred as it absorbs quickly and repeat administration is easy; if your dog is already taking capsules, it is okay to administer hemp oil on top of her normal regimen.  
  • Essential oil blend or kit: terpenes found in many essential oils, like lavender oil, can be quite helpful in calming your dog and assisting her immune system in wound management.  You can place a drop on her collar or bedding for aromatherapy, and around the edges of a wound for immune system support. Warning! Make sure you choose essential oil brands which source responsibly and extract safely.  Here are some resources if you want to learn more: First Aid with Veterinary Medical Aromatherapy (great to have in a first aid kit) and Animal Desk Reference II (very detailed). 
  • TCVM or other herbal blend supplements: if your dog takes such supplements, make sure to pack them.  Contact your holistic or integrative doctor regarding any first aid herbal blends they recommend and have those on hand too. If your dog isn’t seeing an integrative doctor yet, the AHVMA is a place to start the search.     

 

Lastly, and also in a separate labeled container, have all wound care products, including nitrile gloves for you.  Your dog’s veterinarian may have a list of recommended items, or you can create your own. If you make your own, pack just enough to protect open wounds until you reach the nearest emergency veterinary hospital.  Items to consider: no stick pads, cling gauze, and paper tape. You may need someone to assist you during the wound cleaning process, as your dog may be in pain and can lash out.  

The basics of first aid wound care are thankfully simple.  With gloved hands, remove any loose large pieces of debris.  Next, rinse the area with contact lens solution, then apply anything your veterinarian recommends as directed, or lavender essential oil around the wound.  Start with the no stick pad placed over the wound, then bandage as shown here .  For non-limb wounds, you may need to hold a few no-stick pads in place if paper tape is too loose, or fit your dog with a snug (but not too tight!) T-shirt over the bandage.  Remember, your aim is to protect the lesion until you can get to a veterinary hospital.  

 

 

Now, let’s consider additional circumstances, where things like travel, guests and weather come into play.  If you’re traveling, look up nearby emergency veterinary hospitals and add them to the medical professional contact list.  Similarly, prepare for seasonal weather changes specific to the region in which you’ll be traveling. Always be sure that it is warm enough if you are taking your dog out for a walk. Cold winter weather comes with risk of hypothermia, frostbite, and wounds to paw pads among other things. You can help protect against these things by ensuring that your dog has a sweater or jacket if they are a short-haired breed, or one without in insulating double coat if thicker coated. Numerous companies sell booties or other paw pad protectors specially designed for snow and ice. 

Should your dog get too cold (body temperature is below 98.5° via rectal thermometer) or if you find a dog out in the cold weather, the key is to rewarm slowly. First, wrap them in a wool or fleece blanket or equivalent (hoodies work for small dogs), and then place heat packs or water bottles near them. Make sure these items, too, are wrapped in towels to protect from rewarming too quickly or burning their skin. And make sure to get your dog veterinary care as soon as possible.

Of course veterinary care should always follow first aid. Whenever possible, take notes on any care that was provided so you are able to inform your veterinarian of what treatment has been offered. While accidents cannot always be prevented, a little knowledge goes a long way toward keeping our pets safe and healthy.

Thanksgiving Food Safety for Your Pets

As we approach another food-focused holiday, especially one where friends and family are about, it’s important to make sure everyone knows what is and what is not safe for the furry friends who will inevitably be about the table.  While most of the concerns do center around the foods available, there are also concerns of comfort any time there is a major event. 

If you do have many people coming and going, it’s a good idea to make sure you have a space set up where your pets feel comfortable relaxing. Preferably, this will be somewhere that will keep them away from the door while people are coming and going, so you don’t need to worry about any escapees.  If your pet is anxious with a houseful of friends and family, Canna Companion may help alleviate situational anxieties.  And when things move on to the main event, keep in mind the following restrictions, being sure to let your guests know as well.

 

Prohibited Foods

High fat foods: as many Thanksgiving items are, high fat meals can cause numerous problems for pets, especially pancreatitis and GI upset.   Make sure you don’t give them any turkey skin or gravy from the table. If you cook with a lot of butter, keep that in mind when offering tasty treats. 

Bones: be sure to keep bones away from your pets as they’re a serious choking hazard and can even perforate intestines, especially when cooked. 

Onions: onions can garlic can be problematic as well, so no green bean casserole or stuffing either. 

Alcohol: a lot of people go through a fair amount of alcohol in their cooking or on their table, and this all definitely needs to be kept from the four-legged members of the family.

Chocolate: dark chocolate is bad enough on its own, but now with so many people trying low carb diets, it’s even more crucial to keep pets away from all sweets, as many may contain xylitol.

Other hazards:  fruit and spices like raisins and nutmeg often appear at the dinner table and are best left for human consumption.

Healthy Foods
If you’d like to include your dog or cat in the tradition, consider making them their own plate.  Some will want to dine alone in a quiet spot, while others will think having their own place on the dining room floor is just dandy.  (Just don’t let them beg for additional items once their meal is finished.)  

The following items are good options (skip the seasoning as its too salty for pets):

  • White meat turkey, cooked or raw, deboned, deskinned
  • Sweet potatoes, cooked
  • Green beans, cooked
  • Carrots, cooked or raw
  • Pumpkin, cooked
  • Gravy made especially for them

 

Additionally, make sure to be wary of pets moving through the kitchen while cooking as they can serve as fine tripping hazards.  With all these things in mind, you can have a very happy Thanksgiving for yourself and all your friends and family, furry or otherwise.

Halloween Hazards for Your Furry Friends

Halloween is fast approaching with all its attendant delights, treats, and scares. There are a number of things we can do to enjoy this holiday while keeping our pets safe. 

 

Most of us are familiar with the fact that chocolate is hazardous for both dogs and cats, but that isn’t the only thing in your treat bag you need to keep away from them. Many peanut butters, gums, and sugar free candies are sweetened with xylitol, which is highly toxic and can cause precipitous drops in blood sugar, among other issues. And don’t even think of passing off those raisins that you didn’t want. They can cause acute kidney failure in both dogs and cats. The bags or pails themselves can also be a hazard. Some pets will get caught in them and can get scared or risk strangulation. And some will ingest the bags, leading to possible foreign body obstructions. Best to get your furry friend their own treats and make sure to keep all of yours well away from them.

 

Be sure to keep your pets inside. All pets, but particularly black cats, are at risk for cruel “pranks” on this day. It is unfortunate and hard for many of us to believe, but it does happen. Also darker colored pets are at greater risk of getting run over on a night when many are out and about. The best option is to keep them indoors. However, even indoors there are things to watch out for. Be careful with all decorations, especially open flames, food items (jack o’lanterns and corn), and webbing. Make sure to keep these elevated and away from where an excited or nervous pet might get caught in them, eat them, or knock them over. Anything that isn’t a normal part of their environment can be a potential hazard, including wires and cords. Keep your pet in mind when planning your decor.

 

If you dress your pet up, there are a number of things that you should be wary of. First, give your pet time to adjust to the costume in advance. If it’s making them unhappy, don’t do it. Make sure all parts of the costume fit properly, nothing can be chewed off, and that it doesn’t interfere with their normal movement. Never leave your pet unattended in their costume, and make costume sessions brief. Get a few quick photos or walk them through their local pet supply store for a treat, then remove the costume and put it away.

 

If you live in a neighborhood with a lot of trick-or-treaters, or even if you don’t but know your pet is sensitive to unfamiliar people or sounds, it is best to keep them somewhere safe and away from the front door. Strangers, especially small ones, can quickly overwhelm nervous pets, and the constant opening and closing of the door provides a lot of escape opportunities. Give your pet a safe space, similar to what you might offer on the 4th of July or New Year’s. Keep a comfortable bed in there, a blanket or piece of clothing that smells like you, a white noise machine, and plenty of water. Canna Companion can also help support your pet on this stressful day.

 

Lastly, ensure your pet has identification (even multiple forms if possible). That way, if they do get out, they are more likely to find their way back to you. Double check their tag has your current contact information at least 2 weeks prior to the holiday so you can update it if you need to. If they are microchipped, it is also very important to check and make sure the information connected with that microchip is correct and up to date.

 

A few simple precautions can help ensure a Happy Halloween for the entire family!

Human Foods and Your Pet

 

We all sneak our pets bites off our plates, give them a fry when we’ve gotten takeout, or are too busy laughing to stop them from stealing some of the popcorn out of the bowl. But do you know what is safe for them and what can be dangerous? 

 

Sometimes those two things can fall very close together. For example, many of us use peanut butter as a high value treat for training dogs. This is fine in moderate quantities, but be sure to check the ingredients first, for several reasons. Many peanut butters have added ingredients and too much sugar or salt isn’t healthy for anyone. Also, some peanut butters now contain xylitol, which is extremely dangerous for dogs. Xylitol does not appear to be as dangerous to cats, but it is still best to keep it away. Natural peanut butters, with peanuts as the only ingredient, are best.

 

While peanuts and cashews are safe for dogs to eat in very limited amounts, most nuts are not. Almonds (unsalted, of course) may be okay in limited quantities, but pose a choking hazard. Walnuts and pecans are toxic to dogs and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and pancreatitis. Their high fat content can cause GI upset in cats as well. Macadamia nuts are highly toxic to both dogs and cats; contact your vet immediately if your pet eats these.

 

There are a wide variety of other foods that can be extremely problematic. Things like alcohol, chocolate, caffeine, grapes, and raisins are commonly known. Other things to keep a careful eye on are salt and fat content. Dairy is okay for some dogs and cats, but not okay for others. You can get additional information from both the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control and the Pet Poison Helpline.

 

By now, you may be wondering, “What  foods can I share?” The first thing to note is that some animals have food sensitivities.  For example, eggs are generally safe for dogs and cats, but sensitive pups will vomit if only a small amount is ingested. Second, it’s important to always be careful about the amount of calories you are feeding. These extra treats can quickly increase your dog or cat’s weight if you’re not paying close attention. With those things in mind, here are some items you can share with your furry companion:

  • Pumpkin
  • Sweet Potato (one of my dog’s favorites)
  • Banana
  • Carrots
  • Berries (we pick blackberries as treats on our walks)
  • Cheese (in small quantities)
  • Chicken or turkey (cooked, deboned, no skin, plain)
  • Plain yogurt
  • Low-sodium broth

 

Always use caution when giving anything new to your pet. If you are uncertain whether an item is safe, you can look at the above resources or contact your veterinarian.

Autumn Plantings and Your Pets

Autumn is the second most popular time for gardening, with people laying in both cool season vegetables and bulbs for the spring. A number of these plants can be hazardous to your animal companions and it is important to review what you are planting and where it will be located. Most autumn and late season plantings won’t involve fertilizer, as that promotes tender new growth, which is not ideal heading into frost. That, at least, is good, but there are still many things to be careful of.

 

Some common autumn plantings to watch out for include:

 

  • Members of the Liliaceae family. Not limited just to lilies, these include many flowers which are commonly planted in the autumn. Hyacinths and tulips both can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and depression in cats and dogs. Lilies are extremely toxic to cats, causing acute kidney failure.
  • Allium, Daffodils, and others from the Amaryllidaceae family can cause vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, convulsions, and cardiac arrhythmia. These are particularly important to take note of, as bulbs are the most poisonous part of the plant. Garlic, leeks, and onions all can cause vomiting, hemolytic anemia, elevated heart rate, and weakness. 
  • Gladiolus and Irises cause vomiting, drooling, and lethargy, with the highest concentration of the offending chemical in the rhizomes and cormlets.
  • Sweet Peas are more toxic than many know, not only to dogs and cats, but also to humans (which one of our staff learned the hard way as a child). They can cause weakness, lethargy, seizures, and possibly death.

 

Other potential offenders include hellebores (also known as Christmas or Lenten roses), dahlia, crocuses, and ranunculus. Be sure to store and plant these in places that are inaccessible to your pets. When in doubt, always check the ASPCA Poison Control or contact your veterinarian if you have any concerns.