Pet Safety – What You Don’t Know Can Kill Your Dog

by Mary Haight on July 28, 2011

pet safetyPet safety has been on my mind recently, especially with this dangerous heat. Did you know that people are still taking their dogs on errands and leaving them in their cars?  They actually believe leaving the windows open is practicing pet safety and will prevent heat stroke and/or death.  It is a terrible mistake and an awful price paid for many dogs.

But there are a few other pet safety issues I want to point out that seem to be less understood by the general public than the often reported chocolate, raisins, grapes, chives, and the controversial avocado – maybe it will help avert tragedy or a costly emergency visit:

  • Lemon – not many dogs would eat lemon rind, and no self respecting cat would, but just in case you have a dog who will eat anything…(and yes, there is a YouTube video of a dog eating a lemon)..don’t let him.  Essential oils are toxic
  • Yeast dough – gas, stomach aches, and in raw form causes stomach and intestinal ruptures
  • Apple pips, stems, leaves (but not the fruit itself) are listed as toxic
  • Aloe plants – some of us keep these in the kitchen if we regularly cut or burn ourselves
  • Xylitol – hands down deadly sweetener used in gum, breath mints and other products.

(source: ASPCA.org)

Pet Safety, What’s the End Game?

What’s the most important thing to know to keep your pet safe?  Trick question! As with kids, you have to be aware of everything your dog might be able to turn into trouble.

Here’s another way of thinking about pet safety. If your dog ate something too fast – and you know how they scarf down whatever it is they shouldn’t be eating – and it cut off his air?  What if you removed the obstruction with your fingers, but the dog was still unconscious? Do you know dog CPR? If you know how to do it, you can save your dog’s life. And that’s the point of Dr. Lorie Huston’s podcast interview with Jillian Myers of Healthy Paws , a pet first aid company with CPR classes.

Myers started her business after her own dog died, returning home from the dog’s teeth cleaning only to realize complications were presenting. Feeling the pain of that loss, Myers decided to offer pet first aid and CPR education so that others would be able to feel competent in an emergency.  No one wants to feel helpless when pet safety, even pets’ lives are at stake.

You can listen to Dr. Huston and Jillian Myers at Animal Cafe find out more about pet first aid and CPR.  Don’t let your daily tasks get in the way of learning more about pet safety.

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15 comments
Amy@GoPetFriendly
Amy@GoPetFriendly

Very interesting post! We're still seeing dogs in cars here as well. Though the temperatures are not nearly so bad as where you are, a sunny day with temperatures in the 70s can still be dangerous. I'd never heard about lemon skins being toxic - though I don't think Buster and Ty would go anywhere near them. Ty's way to picky and Buster doesn't like anything plant-based ... even bananas!

ruby
ruby

I forgot to mention, a lot of folks use essential oils as flea and tick repellant Some of the more common oils that act as flea and insect repellents are: lavender, citronella, cedar ,peppermint, eucalyptus and lemongrass. Lavender A sweet-smelling, all-purpose insect repellent, Ohio State University recommends it for controlling fleas. Citronella Oil of citronella naturally repels insects such as mosquitoes, black flies, fleas and ticks, therefore, preventing bites. Cedar A wonderfully fragrant oil that provides a pheromone interruption agent that impairs the insects mental capacity and repels them. Peppermint An oil high in menthol - it repels fleas, spiders and even mice. Eucalyptus While better known for its anti bacterial properties it is a great natural pest deterrent as well. Lemongrass Deters fleas and especially tick. According to Ohio State University. Lemongrass oil contains a pleasing citrus scent that is useful in controlling oily scalps and skin conditions, making it suitable for use on dogs with skin conditions in lotion, spray, soap and shampoo formulas.

ruby
ruby

Please explain the toxcity of essential oils, all oils or just certain ones? thanks

MaryHaight
MaryHaight

That's right Hanna, this post lists just five items because they are the five items many people are not as familiar with as the five items listed in sentence form above it. It's *different* from the normal lists and was never intended to be comprehensive as you would have seen had you read the post. I'm sorry, but I don't agree with you. Dog's should not only eat "dog" food. I have home cooked for my dogs for more than 15 years and do blood checks to ensure that nutritional needs are being met. This is a pefectly acceptable practice. Dog food, when it's good as you point out without the by-products, has two or three named meats, like chicken lamb or beef, as its first couple of ingredients and only natural preservatives like Vit E, Rosemary etc. I appreciate that you have dog food products to sell on your site, and it would be great if you could read the post so you would know the context and not criticize it for something that you perceive as missing that isn't.

Hanna
Hanna

This post lists just 5 items that are toxic to dogs but I’ve seen lists that consist of 20 or more items. So, I get that it’s sometimes hard to commit it all to memory but I don’t get the fact that people simply don’t use common sense. While they wouldn’t allow their children to ear dog food, why don’t they use that same common sense and simply not allow their dogs to eat human foods? No need to remember or understand anything except that dogs should only eat dog food. And while we are on the subject of dog food, let’s make sure that the dog food we feed our beloved four-legged friends are all natural and contain no bi-products, no preservatives and no corn.

Mel
Mel

So agree with your comments on the hot weather and dogs in cars. I actually confronted a woman who was driving into the groery store parking lot with her lab in the car on a 90+degree day with high humidity! And, just today I saw a lady standing outside her car and reaching in to pet her Mastiff, who was sitting inside a hot car with the windows cracked about 4 inches. Why? If you're already there and it's in the 90's and miserable you should be in your car with the air on. WTH? I got out of my car and said "Oh my God! Someone left their dog in the car?!?" She said "It's mine." I said "Oh" and grumbled under my breath as I headed inside the store. She was gone when I came back outside a few minutes later. I'm hoping that I embarrassed her enough to take her dog home. Ugh! Regarding some of the other items on your list, I did not know lemon rinds or apple bits were bad for dogs. It's a wonder that my first Sheltie survived my ignorance to live until she was 15 years old. She at grapes and apples (the whole apple). Thank God I know better now! Good post!

LA Stormwater
LA Stormwater

Thanks for sharing this post on pet safety! Another way to protect your pet's health that is not commonly known, is picking up after your pet! Unattended pet waste is flushed into our storm drain system and flows to our ocean. This causes harm to our pets and our ocean! To learn more about how to protect your pet's health and protect our environment, check out www.lastormwater.info/pet

Lorie Huston, DVM
Lorie Huston, DVM

Great post, Mary. You made some good points here about potential toxicities and the lack of general knowledge.

Pamela
Pamela

The xylitol thing is throwing me for a loop. Did you know that nearly all dog toothpastes on the market have xylitol in them? I guess people are assuming the small amount used is not a problem. but since dogs swallow instead of spitting out, it just seems weird to me. I've gone to the store several times to buy dog toothpaste and always find xylitol on the ingredient list. For now, I just use a plain washcloth wrapped around a finger to clean Honey's teeth periodically.

MaryHaight
MaryHaight

Hi Ruby and welcome. The ASPCA has a list that give a range of symptoms produced by named essential oils from vomiting to diarrhea, to central nervous system depression depending on the amount injested. Cats are much more sensitive according to the literature with bad reactions to essential oils. Eucalyptus, peppermint, spearmint and particular citrus plants are all included. You can use the search function for each concern. I know what you are saying about using natural flea, tick, and mosquito repellents, all of which have citronella, lemon grass, lemons, even eucalyptus. I use them too. Even lavender in shampoos can be an irritant to some animals according to the ASPCA. And yes, the skin is a major organ through which these oils can pass if you soak the dog, which no one should do. But this should not lead to any significant amount being injested. I would ask your vet as each animal has their own set of limitations. My dog does not lick the areas where I use the repellent. I spray or wipe lemon based repellent on my long-haired dog and make a point to keep his face away from it and quickly lead him out the door away from residual droplets. But that's just me;) Thanks for asking, Ruby,

MaryHaight
MaryHaight

I know, Mel, I'm getting pretty sick of seeing this kind of unconscious behavior myself. If they have left the car running and the air on inside the car, that is their choice and so much better for the dog...unless someone breaks the window and steals the car. Let's face it we all make mistakes, when we know more, we can be better caretakers. I think people need to be told what happens inside that car and if embarrassing them is an avenue that works, so be it. Some are defiant and unashamed - which is kinda embarrassing but from another perspective! I also fed my dog grapes years ago before they knew about the ill effects. Seeds of all kinds of fruits can be toxic. Lemons no one thinks about, but in summer, people can use them often in drinks. It is elsewhere on the ASPCA site and no on the page of toxic foods. You have to use their search to find it. Some dogs suffer few effects from things like chocolate, others die. As long as we are aware, we are better prepared when an accident happens. Thanks for stopping by!

MaryHaight
MaryHaight

That's the truth! Picking up after Gigi is essential to the environment, our health and the health of other dogs. Thanks for that reminder;)

MaryHaight
MaryHaight

Thanks, Lorie - was hoping it would lead people down the path of how to recognize choking, sometimes confused with reverse sneezes, and then think about what they would do if ultimately the dog needed CPR and they did not know how...that was an important point made in your interview at Animal Cafe!

Mel
Mel

Oh Pamela! I did not know this! I just bought some more and had no idea!. Augh! Why would they do this?

MaryHaight
MaryHaight

Thanks for voicing that frustration, Pamela! That is so crazy...to do this to dogs is unconscionable...their lives are short enough. I bought my dog's toothpaste at the HH Backer Pet Products show (which is really too much fun!) and here are the ingredients of "EZ Dog Pet Toothpaste" which you can see at triplepet.com: purified water, sorbitol, hydrated silica, glycerin, kaolin, tetrapotassium, pyrophosphate, tetrasodium, pyrophosphate (again), flavor, xanthan gum, stevia (natural sweetener from a plant), tea tree oil." that's it in the order on the label. It is non-foaming and comes in flavors, but I use the vanilla. This is distributed by the Benedent corp from which I got Tashi's three angle toothbrush. Hope this helps, just in case you ever feel the need to use a product;)

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