Life Threatening Medicines Are Everywhere!

Nearly half of the calls received by the Pet Poison Helpline involve either over-the-counter or prescriptions medications for humans. Often the culprit is a curious canine who has chewed into a bottle of pills that has been left on the counter within paw’s reach. According to Dr. Karen Mercola, Pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen are the number one cause of pet poisonings. It is also important to remember that certain OTC drugs won’t have the same effect on all pets…for example, even aspirin can be dangerous.

  • NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug including Advil, Medipren, Motrin, Nuprin, Anaprox, Naprelan, Naprosyn, and Aleve. Never give an NSAID meant for humans to your pet. A drug that relieves a human’s pain can cause serious problems for a pet. Don’t leave these medications lying around the house—on a nightstand, or kitchen or bathroom counter. For an inquisitive dog, these drugs can be a deadly temptation. NSAIDS metabolize slowly, which increases the likelihood that toxic levels will build up. Symptoms of poisonings include digestive upset, increased thirst and frequency of urination, bloody stools, staggering and seizures.
  • ACETAMINOPHEN is another commonly used painkiller that can mean serious danger to our pets. Acetaminophen brand names include Tylenol, Paracetamol, and Panadol. Other drugs, including some types of Excedrin, and several sinus and cold preparations, also contain this ingredient that is not safe for your pet. If your dog ingests acetaminophen, liver damage can result, and the higher the dose, the more likelihood of red blood cell damage. Symptoms of this poisoning include lethargy, trouble breathing, dark-colored urine, diarrhea, and vomiting.
  • PSEUDOEPHEDRINE is a decongestant compound found in many cold and sinus medications, and even a small amount can prove fatal to a dog. There are literally dozens of over-the-counter and prescription drugs which contain pseudoephedrine, but a few common ones are Sudafed, Comtrex, Contac, Tylenol Cold, Theraflu, Sinarest, Triaminicin, Drixoral, and Nyquil.
  • ANTIDEPRESSANTS can cause listlessness, vomiting and in some cases, a syndrome causing agitation, disorientation, elevated heart rate,, blood pressure, tremors, and seizures.
  • DIABETES MEDICATIONS can cause a dangerous drop in blood sugar levels of a dog, bringing on disorientation, lack of coordination and seizures If you or a family member takes an oral medication for diabetes, including glipizide and glyburide, be sure to keep these drugs out of reach of your pets.
  • ADHD MEDICATIONS are commonly used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in humans, but these are stimulants to pets. If your dog or cat ingests methylphenidate, it can result in elevated body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. There is also a danger of seizures. Brand names for methylphenidate include Ritalin, Concerta, Methylin, and Daytrana.

The best way to keep you’re your pet out of danger of ingesting drugs intended for humans is to always keep your medication in sealed containers, in a place well out of reach of your curious pet. Call your veterinarian, an emergency clinic, or a pet poison hot line immediately if you suspect that your pet has ingested a human medication. Be prepared to offer as much information as possible, including the weight of your pet, name of the suspected drug, and signs of poisoning that you have observed.

Spring is in the Air

Spring cleaning, spring planting, spring pruning, spring allergies;

Bees, butterflies, campfires, marshmallows, smores, spring allergies;

Fragrant flowers, soft spring rain, fresh mowed grass, spring allergies!

Spring is here and with it comes planting seeds, blooming flowers, buzzing insects…and seasonal allergies. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergy and asthma, conditions caused by an inappropriate over-response of the immune system to a substance called an allergen that triggers a cascade of harmful cellular and chemical events. Pets as well as humans suffer from seasonal allergies, and allergic reactions in dogs can be immediate or delayed, local to specific tissues, such as the paws or eyelids, or systematic where the entire body is affected. Most allergic substances, or allergens, are inhaled, but some are ingested, and animals tend to experience skin disorders rather than sneezing and watery eyes, and once exposed, they usually become extremely itchy. Typical signs of an allergy are licking the feet, rubbing the face, and frequent scratching. Skin or ear infections caused by allergies can be quite painful.

If your dog starts to lick or scratch excessively, he probably has allergies. Fleabites are the number one cause of allergy in dogs, so a consistent, safe, pest management program is important. When skin allergies are caused by environmental allergens, dogs typically scratch, bite, chew, or rub their face, neck, armpits, groin, rectal area, bottom of the tail, the bend of the joints, and between the toes. Inhaling dust or pollens produces the canine version of hay fever. Continuous scratching can lead to hair loss, dandruff, darkened or thickened skin, and greasiness. Hot spots may develop due to irritation from constant chewing or scratching, which can result in infection, and in severe cases, additional eye and nose allergies, or secondary bacterial or yeast infections develop

It is important to determine the source of an allergic reaction in your dog before any realistic treatment can be established, and since individual dogs respond differently, it may take some time for your veterinarian to find the solution that is most effective for your pet. Once the allergen is identified, the best solution is to remove it from his environment, but this is sometimes not practical. Airborne antigens, including pollen and dust, cannot be entirely avoided, so minimizing exposure is the goal. Avoid running through weeds and wooded areas. Wash your dog’s bedding regularly. Professional cleaning of the air ducts and filters in your home can make a big difference for both dogs and people.

Good nutrition is the cornerstone to treating any chronic illness, so improving the quality of your dog’s diet can help because, even if your dog doesn’t have a food allergy, a lot of the immune system is in the digestive tract. Cut out all the commercial treats and add an omega-3 fatty acid supplement, which can bolster the immune system and manage issues from the inside out.

Many topical treatments, including shampoos, rinses, gels, and lotions are available to soothe irritated skin, calm itchiness, and reduce inflammation, and antihistamines are sometimes recommended. However, because the symptoms of inflammation are produced from the inside out, shampoos, sprays and ointments can provide only temporary relief, and although they are beneficial to use during a flare up, long-term treatment should focus on balancing your pet’s immune system. A simple method of identifying a dog’s immune response to literally hundreds of environmental substances is to have your veterinarian submit a blood sample to a veterinary laboratory that specializes in measuring the amount of immune proteins already present in the dog’s bloodstream, which will determine appropriate treatment.

Steroids such as prednisone, cortisone, or other “allergy shot”, work remarkably fast, but they actually turn the immune system off, and do not address the root issue of why your pet’s immune system is over-reacting in the first place. Steroids can have a negative effect on your pet’s liver, adrenal glands, and kidneys, and suppressing the natural immune system with steroids also allows for opportunistic yeast and bacteria to grow on your pet’s skin, thus increasing the chances that antibiotics will be prescribed. Steroids are recommended only as a last resort.

Unfortunately, allergies cannot be cured, they don’t disappear, and usually become worse as your dog ages, but don’t despair! Work with your veterinarian to develop an individualized, appropriate treatment protocol to manage your dog’s allergies. It’s worth a little extra effort to keep him healthy and comfortable.


Fond Memories of Pepe Le Pew

February is the month of love – Valentine’s Day is a major holiday for humans, and February kicks off mating season for skunks. Pepe Le Pew is a fictional character from the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes series of cartoons, first introduced in 1945. Depicted as a French striped skunk, Pepe is constantly in search of love, but his offensive skunk odor and aggressive pursuit of romance cause everyone to run away from him. I guess I thought everyone was familiar with this obnoxious, lovable character, but sadly, today’s kids have never heard of him, and his pursuit of Penelope Pussycat, a cat who often has a white stripe painted down her back, usually caused by some accident such as squeezing under a fence with wet white paint.

Anyway, most skunks are ready to play the mating game in February, and the stink usually occurs when males try to court females who are simply “not in the mood for love.” When that happens, female skunks generate an aroma to repel their potential suitors. According to HSUS Urban Wildlife representatives, “Skunks are gentle, non-aggressive creatures who have wrongly earned a bad reputation because of their offensive odor. People don’t appreciate the benefits they provide by eating grubs, insects, mice, and baby rats.”

As for a human being sprayed by a skunk, it is unlikely. When alarmed, they are actually more afraid of you than you are of them, so if you know you have some on your property, make some noise warning them when you go outside to let them know you are coming, and they generally run away (They usually come out at dawn and dusk). Skunks give off a warning when alarmed by stamping their front feet, and if you don’t bother them, they will most likely not bother you. However, dogs are curious and if they ignore a skunk’s warning, they will likely get sprayed.

An Ode to the Skunk

Waddling around everywhere, a skunk is prepared to begin his affair.

Then he is bothered by a nosey dog barking at him while he perches on a log.

The dog growls with all of his delight, but nearsighted skunk has love in his sight.

Then the dog attacks him without his consent, so the docile skunk lets out his scent.

Confused and somewhat afraid, the dog knows that he is outplayed,

The skunk patiently sits on his log, knowing he won’t be bothered again by that dog.

He knows that love is in the air, and is eagerly anticipating an affair.

If your dog is outside a lot, it is very possible that he will come in contact with a skunk, and although skunk spray is not usually a medical emergency, it is potentially painful for your pet, especially if it hits the face. If your pet gets sprayed, before doing anything else, check his eyes. If they are watering or red, he probably took a direct hit It is important to wash them out with warm water (or sterile saline solution if you have it.) Forget a tomato juice bath….very messy and very ineffective, and regular pet shampoo won’t get rid of the odor either. There are many commercial “deskunkers” , but we have found that a simple homemade concoction is the best:

  •  Mix in a large bucket:
  •  One quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • One fourth cup baking soda
  • One teaspoon of liquid dishwashing soap or pet shampoo
  • (The mixture will fizz)

Wet your pet’s coat down with luke-warm water and apply the homemade solution on his wet coat. Rub it in with a sponge or washcloth while the mixture bubbles, and leave it on for several minutes. Although the solution is not toxic, avoid getting it in your dog’s eyes, ears, nose, or mouth. We suggest putting a protective eye ointment into his eyes, and a couple cotton balls in the ears before you begin soaping. Rinse thoroughly, and then rinse again! Don’t let your pet ingest any of the mixture, and toss whatever is left because it will pop the lid off any container because of the gas that’s generated. Just hope there won’t be another stinky encounter for a long time, and if you would enjoy watching a few Pepe escapades, just Google: Looney tunes, PepeLePew, and you will find the original cartoons.

Ticks are BAD News

Warm weather means tick season, when those tenacious little vampires get warm and hungry and start looking for a good meal. Huge numbers of tick eggs hatch every spring and the young ticks climb onto vegetation. They creep up tall grass, weeds, fences (or even walls of your house) and wait until a passing shadow, an odor, or a vibration tells them that a possible host might be passing by. Then they let go of their perch and fall, or reach out with their front legs to latch onto a furry coat (or your pants leg). Once on-board, they insert their mouths into their prey, and begin their meal…. Disgusting, but ticks are more than nuisances…they are dangerous. When ticks bite wild animals, they take in the bacteria these animals may harbor, and can transmit them along to their next host, meaning that any microorganisms that were hitching a ride inside the tick are passed on to your dog through the tick’s mouth. Some bacteria can cause diseases in dogs (and in people) –dangerous, debilitating, and sometimes even fatal diseases such as Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Obviously keeping kicks off your dog in the first place is better than having to pull them off, but despite your best efforts, dogs (especially the outdoorsy ones) are likely to occasionally get a tick. You can discourage tick attacks by keeping grass trimmed, and woodpiles and brush away from the area where your dog spends time. If ticks don’t have good, sheltered spots to hang out and wait for a warm host, they may move on to somewhere tick-friendlier.

Talk to your veterinarian about a preventative that is safe for your dog and most effective against the ticks common to your area. Do NOT buy over-the-counter products… many are ineffective, and some are downright toxic. Your vet will consider age, size, health, and other factors to determine the best medication.

After any outdoor activity, do a tick check as soon as you get indoors. Work through your dog’s coat with a flea comb and carefully rub your hands over his complete body to look and feel all over for suspicious bumps and creepy crawlies. When ticks are engorged with blood, they are visibly swollen and purplish, but unfed ticks will resemble tiny brown scabs and are easy to miss. Newly attached ticks are easy to overlook, so examine your dog closely, paying special attention to the paws, face, ears (both inside and out), mouth area, and genitals—although ticks can attach anywhere. If you see a tick, don’t panic or make any assumptions. Most ticks do not carry infection, and tests have verified that even if they are infected, they only begin transmitting disease if they are allowed to remain attached to feed for sustained periods of time, but it is important to remove them immediately. Do NOT try to burn, smother, or otherwise get a tick to “back out.” Also do not attempt to remove a tick with your fingers. These methods do not work, and can cause the tick to regurgitate more potential pathogens into the dog’s skin.

You can use tweezers to remove a tick, but an inexpensive, easy-to-use tick remover called “Ticked Off”, works much better. I suggest having a couple of these on hand “just in case.” You can find them in most pet stores and at Amazon on- line. For info on this ingenious device, go to or call the company toll free at 800-642-2485.

If you do not have a commercial tick remover, using a sharp tweezers, grasp the tick as close to where it is embedded in the skin as possible. Do NOT grasp the tick by its body. Pull slowly and steadily, directly out. Do not jerk, twist or wiggle the tick. Use steady pressure to make the tick release its hold and allow you to remove it intact. Be patient if this takes a little time. Check to make sure all of the tick has been removed, and once you have removed it, don’t just toss it into the garbage or down the kitchen sink. Ticks are very tough little parasites…they have even been known to survive being flushed down the toilet. The best solution is drowning in alcohol.

If you use a vet-approved preventative product, do daily body checks, and remove any tick from your dog immediately, both you and your dog should cruise through the tick season without serious problems.

Was there ever a dog that praised his fleas?

Fleas and ticks sadly are a part of life for most dogs during warm weather months. Fleas are tiny wingless insects with an extremely hard outer shell that makes them difficult to kill, and, being exceptionally prolific, they can multiply to thousands in a short time. The tireless flea can jump 10,000 times without stopping; its flat body allows it to move easily through fur, and its powerful legs come with “rakes”, which help it hang on to the hair of its host. During the winter months, fleas are usually dormant, residing in well-protected hideaways that resist cold weather, but once things start looking sunnier, they emerge from their resting places, eagerly looking for any warm-blooded creature that happens by. Once fleas finds a tasty dog, they have a two-part mission—to suck blood and lay eggs. The dog enables them to survive and reproduce.

Mark Twain is credited with saying that “it’s a good thing for a dog to have a flea or two—it keeps his mind off being a dog.” The fact is that If you find a flea( or two) on your dog, you can be sure that there are many more, and fleas make any dog’s life miserable and can quickly cause a long lasting infestation in your home, creating a nightmare for both two legs and four legs.

What purpose do they have? You can’t swat them like a fly; you can’t squish them like a cockroach…they just bite and jump away, so why do they exist? What purpose do they have? As Sarah Kane asks, “Was there ever a dog that praised his fleas?” Obviously the answer is NO, and there has never been a human who praised fleas either. VCA Animal Hospital estimates that a dog with 25 fleas gets bitten 600 times a day, causing major discomfort, but fleas also cause skin allergies and anemia and potentially transmit tapeworms.

The American Veterinary Medical Association reports that flea-related diseases account for more than a third of the total cases they treat in small companion animals, and urge responsible caregivers to use flea (and tick) preventatives BEFORE they have a problem. For some reason, many caregivers seem to react to fleas AFTER the fact. They tend to treat pets when they see fleas, and then stop if they no longer see fleas, which results in a frustrating ongoing cycle of re-infestation. Flea larvae burrow into cool, dark places like carpeting and crevices along walls where they feed on adult flea feces and other organic debris, and since flea pupa can remain dormant for more than a year, prevention is definitely better than cure.

An array of commercial products is available to rid your dog of fleas, or prevent them from taking up residence in the first place, but consult your vet about easy-to- use preventative treatments and remedies. Millions of people purchase over-the-counter products believing they couldn’t be sold unless they were proven to be safe. Not so: they are often in-effective, and sometimes toxic. Talk to your veterinarian about a safe, effective plan of attack, and once the choice is made, be consistent in its application. If you forget a scheduled treatment, your dog is at risk. Keep a reminder system on your refrigerator. Or phone. Implementation of some relatively easy strategies can protect everyone in your household, both human and animal, from these nasty parasites.

“The flea, though he may kill none, he does all the harm he can.” John Donne

How Long Has it Been?

As a friend explained how she was busy doing deep spring cleaning, I tried to remember how long it had been since I had done any “deep cleaning,” so I put it on my priority To-Do list. Why I chose the linen closet in the bathroom as a starter project, I don’t know, but I enthusiastically dug in. There on the top shelf was a box marked First Aid Kit (for humans), and I was reminded that I had not updated our Pet First Aid Kits for quite a while.

When an animal is injured, exposed to a poison, or experiences an unexpected medical emergency, it is important to have a well-stocked pet first aid kit. First aid is not a replacement for emergency vet care, but being prepared for pet emergencies is important. You can buy a pet first-aid kit from a pet supply store or catalog, but most of them are overpriced and understocked…..we suggest assembling your own kit (actually we suggest two kits…one for the home and one for the car)…which should include:

  • Pet first-aid book
  • Phone numbers of your vet, the nearest emergency veterinary clinic, and a hotline such as the ASPCA center at 1-800-426-4435.
  • Copies of your pets medical records including shot record, and a current photo of your pet (in case he gets lost)…Put these in a waterproof container or bag.
  • Nylon leash
  • Self-cling, stretch bandages that stick to itself, but not fur.
  • Muzzle or strips of cloth to prevent biting….even the friendliest dog can bite if in pain or fear. (Don’t use a muzzle if the dog is choking, coughing, vomiting or having breathing difficulty) An emergency muzzle can be made with gauze, strip of cloth, or even a leash…make a loop with a single knot at the top, and tighten it over the snout. ‘Then make a second loop with the knot at the bottom and tighten it. Pull the ends of the gauze around and behind the head and tie it securely.
  • Absorbent gauze pads or gauze sponges, roll of strip gauze, and sterile non-stick gauze pads (for bandages)
  • Adhesive tape to use as the final cover on a bandage.
  • Antibiotic ointment for topical treatment of minor wounds.
  • Antiseptic such as Betadine to clean a wound, and Q tip applicators
  • Blanket (a foil emergency blanket works well and takes up little space) If space is available, a regular blanket is helpful for warmth or for carrying a pet hammock style.
  • Canned dog food or baby food
  • Eye wash or sterile water
  • Emergency ice pack
  • Flashlight
  • Hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting…but contact a vet or poison-control expert prior to using this
  • Non-latex disposable gloves
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Popsicle sticks…for stabilizing an injury with a splint
  • Rectal thermometer – a dog’s temp should be between 100 and 103 degrees.
  • Scissors (with blunt ends) and tweezers0
  • Sterile saline solution
  • Wound cleaning solution such as Nolvasan solution

Hopefully you will never need to use the items in your pet first aid kit, but it will certainly be valuable in the event of a medical emergency. If you have an iPhone, the American Red Cross pet First Aid app puts veterinary advice for everyday emergencies in the palm of your hand…with videos, and simple step-by step advice, it’s never been easier to know pet First Aid. You should also make sure that you have important phone numbers for your pet stored in your phone. You never know when they will come in handy….and in case you are wondering, I never did get into “deep cleaning” and as I finished putting together a couple pet first aid kits, I thought about how long it had been, but decided that a long leisurely walk with my dog sounded more inviting.

Keeping Pets Safe This Easter

We are continually bombarded with news of harmful toxins. The most publicized, recent reports concerned the frightening water situation in Flint, Michigan. We are not sure how the toxic water affected the four-legged members of that city, but veterinarians and toxicology experts at Pet Poison Hotline urge everyone to remember that children and pets are among the most vulnerable to poisoning. The Pet Poison Helpline stresses the importance of educating ourselves on how to pet-proof appropriately and avoid the inevitable heartache that so often results when a pet is accidentally poisoned.,and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center just released the list of the top pet toxins for the past year:

  1. For the first time ever, over the counter medications and supplements surpassed prescription medications to take the top spot in toxins most commonly ingested by pets. These medications, including herbal and other natural supplements, attracted the most concern , with more than 28,000 cases reported. This category is amazingly large, encompassing almost 7,000 different products.
  2. Prescribed human medications fell to the second spot on the list, representing more than 15 percent of all cases. The types of medication to which animals were most often exposed correlate with the most popular medicines prescribed to humans, and often carried in purses, pockets, or back packs.
  3. Insect poisons accounted to more than 15,000 cases. If label directions are not followed carefully, these products can be very dangerous to pets.
  4. Pets, especially dogs, who will eat about anything, can get into serious trouble by ingesting onions, garlic, grapes, raisins, alcohol, and xylitol, a popular sweetener that is now being used in many products, including some peanut butters. Almost 15,000 cases in 2015 involved human foods.
  5. Household products found around most homes made up more than 14,000 cases. Most common items in this category include cleaning products, fire logs, and paint.
  6. Overdoses of veterinary prescribed medications represented more than 7 percent of total cases, emphasizing the importance of exercising extra caution even with vet meds.
  7. Chocolate continues to be very problematic for pets. Dark chocolate is the most dangerous since it contains high amounts of theobromine, a relative of caffeine that can be deadly, but all chocolate is toxic to dogs.
  8. Indoor and outdoor plants ranked eighth on the list, and although most of the calls involved cats and houseplants, curious dogs can also get into trouble by ingesting plants.
  9. Rodent poisons can be just as toxic to pets as they are to mice and rats. Depending on the type ingested, poisoning can result in moderate to severe symptoms—anywhere from uncontrolled bleeding, swelling of the brain, kidney failure and seizures. Most of the mouse poisons, unfortunately, have no antidote, so be sure that these products are placed totally out of reach of your pets.
  10. Lawn and garden products, including herbicides and fungicides round out the top ten. It is incredibly important to store all garden and lawn products away from pets (and children )

The best thing a pet caregiver can do is become aware of common toxins and pet-proof your home accordingly. For a complete lists of toxins, go to, and If you suspect that your dog may have ingested something questionable, immediately consult your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline, a 24 hour animal poison control service, at 1-800-213-6680. (There is a charge for this service, but it might be a small price to pay for saving your dog’s life.)

Easter is one of the most celebrated days in the Western World, and, although it is celebrated by different groups in different ways, basically Easter is a Christian holiday. It is considered one of the oldest and holiest times commemorating the resurrection of Christ. Many secular aspects have also become associated with the day, with millions of chocolate bunnies and eggs made each year, and many Help Calls are necessary because Easter candies have been ingested by our four-legged friends. Exercise caution when hiding candies, and keep the Easter baskets up and away from inquisitive pets.

May the glory and promise of Easter bring you joy and happiness as you focus on the true meaning of the Easter season!

Not Every Hazard Has A Happy Ending

I often discuss the deadly summer hazards lurking around the corner for your canine companion, but this past week clearly illustrated that these hazards are for real.

Many dogs do not understand the dangers when they dash out an open door and carelessly run away from their safe haven. We have several TLC residents right now who are convinced that an unlatched gate is an invitation to find “greener pastures.” Thankfully we have a double gated system so that if a dog sneaks out a gate, there is another barrier to conquer…. and I firmly believe that one of the most important commands we can teach our dogs is “Come.” If you have a dog that has a tendency to wander off, we encourage you to work on basic commands such as “stay”, “sit”, and “come”. They may mean the difference between life and death for your dog, and may save you from the traumatic experience of having your pet become a casualty. We spent several hours trying to coax a frightened, obviously lost dog, to trust us. Darkness came and our rescue efforts were unsuccessful. We have not seen the dog again, and can only pray that somehow he found his way home, or allowed someone else to rescue him.

Many mushrooms are toxic to dogs, and the horrible seriousness of that truth hit home when Cooper, our little shelter dog who moved into our hearts and home, found tiny brown mushrooms in his secure pet yard, and apparently felt obligated to eat some. Thankfully, he vomited, which probably saved his life, but he has been one sick little guy, and is still on medication. Most of us don’t realize that some of the mushrooms popping up in our yards are very toxic to dogs and can be fatal. Dogs like Cooper, who like to “graze”, will sometimes eat wild mushrooms along with lawn grasses, resulting in poisoning. The fact is that dogs can become ill by just licking a poisonous mushroom, and symptoms can range from mild vomiting and diarrhea to severe digestive problems to complete liver failure. Cooper is still recovering from very serious digestive illness.

If you catch your dog in the act of eating mushrooms, remove any pieces from his mouth and induce vomiting with either 1 teaspoonful of syrup of ipecac per 10 pounds of body weight, or 1 tablespoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide every 10 minutes repeating 3 times. If there is a short delay in realizing that your dog has eaten poisonous mushrooms, get him to your veterinarian immediately.

Another hazard that I encountered first hand this week involved a dog who had discovered rat poison in a farmer’s shop, and consumed some of it. Rodenticides are used to control the overpopulation of rats and mice, and poisoning by pesticides and rodenticides is one of the most common household dangers to your pet., and if your dog goes outside at all there is possible contact with rodent poison. It might be in a neighbor’s yard, in a trash bag, or in the back corner of a shop or a garage. The health and survival of your pet depends on the amount of poison ingested, and the time before treatment begins. The best prevention is to keep all poisons, especially rodent poisons, totally out of your dog’s reach. Carelessly placed, or stored, they are potentially fatal threats to your dog’s health.

The hot and sunny stretches of summer can create hazards for your pets, but a little extra care and attention can help them enjoy the hot weather safely so that encounters with summer hazards have happy endings.

Recognize the Danger Signs of Heat Exhaustion

It is hot. Really hot and humid, and as the temperatures soar, so does the danger of your dog suffering from heatstroke. We already know that dogs have more difficulty controlling their body temperature in warm weather than humans do. In fact, when we are mildly uncomfortable in the heat, our dogs are likely very uncomfortable simply because they are not equipped with many sweat glands as people have.

On hot days, a dog gradually escalates his cooling mechanisms. First he begins to pant, exposing his tongue and mouth to air. Then he lets his tongue hang out to further increase surface area. The blood vessels under the mucous membranes dilate in an attempt to improve heat exchange across the moist surfaces. Finally, the shape of the tongue changes… it gets wider at the tip, often turning upward and flaring the outside edges. When exercising your dog in warm weather, always watch his tongue. If you hear him panting loudly or see the end of his tongue widening, your dog has just used his last cooling mechanism, and may be moving into heat exhaustion, which can result in heatstroke. It’s time to take a rest and get him to a cool location immediately.

Hot, humid weather is not the only cause of heatstroke. Extreme activity alone can cause heatstroke, and when added to warm weather, it can quickly become deadly. This can be a real problem for the canine athlete. The muscles provide a portion of a sleeping dog’s body heat, and when the dog uses his muscles to exercise the amount of heat produced by the muscles can increase greatly over that of a dog at rest. A working dog’s body temp may rise from normal to 105 degrees or even higher in just minutes, which explains why long – distance sled dogs can become overheated at low temperatures.

First signs of heat exhaustion are heavy, rapid breathing, a widened tongue, and drooling. If not immediately moved to a cool area, the dog will begin to show signs of heatstroke, including rapid pulse, glazed eyes, elevated body temperature, failure to respond to commands, warm, dry skin, excessive whining or agitation, staggering, vomiting, and eventual collapse. It is important to note that only one of these symptoms has to be present to indicate the dog may be in trouble.

Be proactive and address environmental causes of heatstroke ahead of time. Provide shade and plenty of water if your dog is to be outdoors for any length of time. Take walks during cooler morning or evening hours and, although it seems obvious, NEVER leave your dog in a car, or tied outside in the sun.

If you see signs of heatstroke, immediate action is needed. Start soaking him with cool water. Do NOT use ice-cold water because that can constrict blood vessels and worsen the condition. Once the dog is wet, if available, a fan or air conditioner pointed in her direction is helpful. As soon as possible, get the dog to your vet, who will continue treatment as well as administer intravenous fluids or an enema to cool her from the inside.

Be alert to the possibility of canine heatstroke, and curb your dog’s enthusiasm when necessary on these hot humid days, so both humans and canines can enjoy the long, wonderful dog days of summer.

Spring is Mud-Luscious and Puddle-Wonderful

Spring this year certainly has verified E.E. Cummings’s assertion that the world is mud –luscious and puddle-wonderful, but with warmer weather, also come problems like allergies, skin infections and flea and tick invasions.

Pets sometimes cause allergies, but they can also suffer allergies. Although some allergic substances are ingested, most are inhaled, and pets suffer from the same miseries as human allergy sufferers, although they don’t sneeze or blow their noses.

The two common seasonal allergies that may affect your dog are flea allergies and atopy. Flea bite allergies caused by an immune reaction to flea saliva are extremely common in dogs, but are easily diagnosed, and a caregiver has many options available to eradicate that parasite from the dog’s environment. Prevention is always better than a cure.

Atopy or allergic inhaled dermatitis is caused by something in the air or environment like ragweed, pollen, mites, mold, feathers, grasses, trees, and shrubs, or something being harvested in the area. Since these compounds are in abundance everywhere it is obvious that totally preventing exposure is impossible.

Dogs tend to experience skin disorders rather than sneezing and watery eyes, and once exposed, they usually become extremely itchy. The telltale signs that your dog has an allergy are the scratching, licking, and chewing. If your dog really starts to lick excessively, he probably has allergies from inhaling dust or pollens—the canine version of hay fever. When skin allergies are caused by environmental allergens, allergen dogs get very itchy. Typically they will scratch, bite, chew, or rub their face, necks, armpits, groin, rectal area, bottom of the tail, the bend of the joints and between the toes. Continuous scratching can lead to scratch marks, hair loss, darkened or thickened skin, dandruff and greasiness. In some dogs, additional eye and nose allergies, or secondary bacterial or yeast infections develop.

Many topical treatments, including shampoos, gels, lotions, rinses and other treatments, are available to soothe irritated skin, calm itchiness, and reduce inflammation, and antihistamines can be used to reduce the effects of seasonal allergies.

Obviously, it is important to determine the source of any allergic reaction in your dog before a realistic treatment can be established, and since different dogs respond to different treatments, it may take a little time for your vet to find the solution that works best for your dog, but it is important to identify the allergen and, if possible, remove it from your dog’s environment, and to improve his immune responses. There may be no cure for allergy, but with understanding and patience, you and your vet can treat the issue and perhaps correct the imbalance in the dog’s immune system, which will result in a much happier dog.

And a treat –scrumptious would be:

Peanut Butter-Yogurt Cubes (healthy for both two-legs and four legs)


  • Blend 1- 5oz. can chicken,
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • 2 cups yogurt


  1. When well-blended, spoon mixture into lightly greased ice cube trays.
  2. When frozen solid, pop out cubes and place in freezer bag.
  3. Serve on easy-to clean surface…

Enjoy a mud-luscious, puddle-wonderful, treat -scrumptious Spring!