Why You Shouldn’t Leave Your Pet In The Car

We have all done it: left our pet in the car for a few minutes to run into a store and pick something up.

A few minutes on a cool day may not be bad and many times, nothing happens. All you find when you come back is nose prints on the windows. But on hot and sunny days when the temperature is above 75 degrees, the car can warm up faster than you would think and cracking the window doesn’t help. Cracking all the windows doesn’t help.

If the outside temperature is 75 degrees in about 10 minutes the inside of a car can reach 90 degrees!

Cracking the window may let in some air, but the car is like a metal box and the sun, heat, and humidity builds up faster than you think.

Many of us do not have the harness or car seats that are available for dogs, so imagine them peeking around, looking out the windows waiting for you to return, bouncing from the front to the back seats… exerting energy and creating more heat in the car. It can be fatal. Cats should always be kept in carriers when traveling in a car since they are more agile, more likely to get underfoot, and some may be too nervous to roam freely in the car.

Dogs only perspire through their paws and pant. The air that moves through their nasal passages is not enough to release the heat that is building up in their body and around them. Your dog can experience heatstroke in a matter of minutes.

If you can leave your pet at home when you travel unless you absolutely need to bring them somewhere.

Signs of Heatstroke

  • Panting
  • Staring
  • Fever
  • Disoriented and no longer seems to hear you or obey
  • Collapsing

If your pet exhibits any of these signs after being in the yard, out on a long walk, or (we hope you don’t do this) being in the car on a hot day, please call your vet or go to the emergency vet in your area ASAP.

Dogs and cats are part of the family. Let’s make sure they are safe and happy.

Image from SRXAWordOnHealth.com

Keep Pets Safe Around Holiday Decorations

The holidays are here and this means lights, decorations, candles, trees, and many other festive items that make our homes a little brighter, warmer, and fun. It also means our pets are exposed to items that could be harmful to them.

Holiday decorations come in many sizes, forms, and materials. The candles in our menorahs for Hanukkah or the poinsettias in the window sill could cause major problems if our pets chew on them. Wires from lights and tinsel on Christmas trees can be hazardous too.

If you are decorating for the holidays, remember these tips:

  1. Holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias are toxic to pets. If you have these in your home, place them where your pet cannot reach them. It might be best to have these hanging outside on your porch or in planters where they decorate the steps up to your house if you have a very curious kitty or nosey dog.
  2. If you have a live tree in your house, keep the needles tidy. The needles can puncture the stomach lining. Clean up the needles that fall off as soon as possible.
  3. Ornaments on the tree are very intriguing to animals. In particular it seems cats get curious and will smack them around like it’s their own personal jungle gym. Dogs might try to carry an ornament and break it in their mouths. If you have a pet that plays with the ornament, try using a training spray that deters them. Avoid tinsel as cats have a tendency to chew it. The tinsel can cause blockages and make them very ill.
  4. Keep the wires from lights, lamps, and other decorations tidy and tucked away so your rambunctious puppy or playful kitty doesn’t tug them or get tangled in them. Many hardware and house-ware stores sell cord covers and zip ties that can keep things neat.
  5. If your cat insists on drinking water from the bottom of the christmas tree, you may need to find a cover to prevent her from doing so. Dirty water can make your cat ill. Your dog may also think it’s a new water bowl and could knock decorations or the tree off the stand. Always keep fresh water out for your pets in their water bowls to urge them to not look anywhere else for a drink.
  6. And don’t forget to shop for your pets as you hit the stores this season!

    Image from Wallpaperswala.com

More Pet Safety Tips

While we are on the subject of Pet Safety, I thought I would add more tips for keeping your pet out of harms way.

Cats and dogs tend to explore things with their mouths. Therefore as pet owners, we need to ensure that what they are putting in their mouths is safe. Many common household items can be dangerous and even lethal to our pets.

Below are 10 Tips for Preventing Poisoning, by Dr. Jill A. Richardson, DVM of the NAPCC

1. Be aware of the plants you have in your house and in your pet’s yard. The ingestion of azalea, oleander, mistletoe, sago palm, Easter lily, or yew plant material, by an animal, could be fatal. (see lists of toxic plants and website references below).

poisonous-household-items2. When cleaning your house, never allow your pet access to the area where cleaning agents are used or stored. Cleaning agents have a variety of properties. Some may only cause a mild stomach upset, while others could cause severe burns of the tongue, mouth, and stomach.

3. When using rat or mouse baits, ant or roach traps, or snail and slug baits, place the products in areas that are inaccessible to your animals. Most baits contain sweet smelling inert ingredients, such as jelly, peanut butter, and sugars, which can be very attractive to your pet.

4. Never give your animal any medications unless under the direction of your veterinarian. Many medications that are used safely in humans can be deadly when used inappropriately. One extra strength acetaminophen tablet (500mg) can kill a seven-pound cat.

rx5. Keep all prescription and over the counter drugs out of your pets’ reach, preferably in closed cabinets. Pain killers, cold medicines, anti-cancer drugs, antidepressants, vitamins, and diet pills are common examples of human medication that could be potentially lethal even in small dosages. One regular strength ibuprofen (200mg) could cause stomach ulcers in a ten-pound dog.

6. Never leave chocolates unattended. Approximately one-half ounce or less of baking chocolate per pound body weight can cause problems. Even small amounts can cause pancreatic problems.

7. Many common household items have been shown to be lethal in certain species. Miscellaneous items that are highly toxic even in low quantities include pennies (high concentration of zinc), mothballs (contain naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene. One or two balls can be life threatening in most species), potpourri oils, fabric softener sheets, automatic dish washing detergents (contain cationic detergents which could cause corrosive lesions), batteries (contain acids or alkali which can also cause corrosive lesions), homemade play dough (contains high quantity of salt), winter heat source agents like hand or foot warmers (contain high levels of iron), cigarettes, coffee grounds, and alcoholic drinks.

garage-poisons8. All automotive products such as oil, gasoline, and antifreeze, should be stored in areas away from pet access. As little as one teaspoon of antifreeze (ethylene glycol) can be deadly in a seven-pound cat and less than one tablespoon could be lethal to a 20-pound dog.

9. Before buying or using flea products on your pet or in your household, contact your veterinarian to discuss what types of flea products are recommended for your pet. Read ALL information before using a product on your animals or in your home. Always follow label instructions. When a product is labeled “for use in dogs only” this means that the product should NEVER be applied to cats. Also, when using a fogger or a house spray, make sure to remove all pets from the area for the time period specified on the container. If you are uncertain about the usage of any product, contact the manufacturer or your veterinarian to clarify the directions BEFORE use of the product.

800-number10. When treating your lawn or garden with fertilizers, herbicides, or insecticides, always keep your animals away from the area until the area dries completely. Discuss usage of products with the manufacturer of the products to be used. Always store such products in an area that will ensure no possible pet exposure.

Make sure you always have the number available for your local Poison Control Center  as well as Pet Emergency Clinic numbers in case your pet ingests something and you need help fast.