Is the Latest Home Trend Harmful to Your Pets? What You Need to Know! Article by the ASPCA, January 2018
Is using Essential Oils safe or harmful to your pets?
If you have been on social media lately, you may have seen articles or posts concerning essential oils, oil diffusers and the potential danger they may pose to your pets. Essential oils have been, for a long time, a popular home remedy for a number of maladies including nasal congestion, anxiety, sore muscles and skin conditions, among others. With the sudden popularity of oil diffusers—an easy way to release these oils into your home—there has been an emergence of alarm about how these oils may affect animals in the home. So, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) wants shed some light on this trending topic.
Are essential oils potentially harmful for your pets? And if so, what precautions should pet parents be taking?The answer, as we so often see, is slightly more complicated than a simple “yes,” or “no.”
In their concentrated form (100%), essential oils can absolutely be a danger for pets. Dogs and cats who have either walked through oils, gotten some on their coat or had oils placed directly on them can develop health concerns.
Are some oils/scents more dangerous than others?Some oils may in fact be more harmful than others. However, there are several factors that affect this such as concentration level, and what the product is mixed with. For example, concentrated forms of tea tree oil (melaleuca oil) may cause issues for your pets with only seven or eight drops, whereas another oil may take more or less. Due to the variability in concentration, formulation and possible quality of essential oils, it is best to completely avoid directly applying them to your pet. You should also keep any oils up and out of paws' reach to prevent potential ingestion.
So, does that mean you should return your diffuser?According to APCC, not necessarily. Using an oil diffuser for a short time period in a secured area— one that your dog or cat cannot access—is not likely to be an issue.
However, if your pet has a history of breathing problems, it may be best to avoid using one altogether. Keep in mind, that your pets have a much better sense of smell than we do, so something that seems light to us may be overwhelming to them.
If you do decide to keep your diffuser, you’ll want to ensure that it is in a place where your pet cannot knock it over and potentially expose themselves to the oils. The best way to avoid exposing your pets to dangerous substances is always to err on the side of caution and by “pet-proofing” your space.
While these same concerns with essential oils will apply to other pets such as rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters, it is best to avoid using an essential oil diffuser in your house if you have birds. Birds’ respiratory tracts are very sensitive, and they may develop more serious problems if you use a diffuser.
If you think your pet may have ingested, or been exposed to a potentially poisonous substance, contact your veterinarian or the APCC at (888) 426-4435 immediately. You can learn more about keeping your pets safe from toxins by downloading the APCC Mobile App or checking out our entire list of dangerous household products.
There are so many perks to owning pets that we couldn’t possibly list them all. But hairballs definitely aren’t one of them! These slimy clumps of matted fur are probably well known to the cat owners amongst you, and have most likely been discovered when wandering around the house in your bare feet. Hairballs are generally harmless, but in certain animals can be fatal and should be treated with caution and prevented if possible.
Hairballs are mostly found in cats, although they do also occur in rabbits. Both these animals self groom in similar ways, and their tongues cause them to pick up dead fur and swallow it. As hair isn’t digested properly, it often ends up becoming knotted in the stomach, from where it’s vomited back up. Unfortunately rabbits lack this regurgitation mechanism, and hairballs in this animal can be fatal, causing dehydration and death. If you suspect your rabbit has a hairball, then seek veterinary help immediately.
They are far less fatal in cats, although they can be uncomfortable and can lead to problems if not treated. If your cat is prone to hairballs, then prevention is key to your animal’s health. We’ve listed below some of the easiest ways to prevent hairballs.
Regular Grooming - This is particularly important during shedding season, as the cold weather warms up and your cat sheds their thick winter coat. Daily grooming of your cat, especially those with longer fur, removes excess hair and vastly reduces the quantity that they will swallow after cleaning. Even during the summer months, daily brushing will not only help you bond with your cat, but will greatly reduce the build up of hair in their stomachs.
Hydration - Ensure your cat has a ready supply of clean drinking water. The more hydrated your cat is, the easier it is for their digestion to work and remove fur that’s found it’s way into their stomachs, allowing it to pass naturally through their bodies without building up into a hairball.
High Quality Dry Feed - Maintaining good levels of fibre in your cat’s diet ensures a healthy digestive system that is moving regularly, reducing the chances of hair build up. You can even buy food that is specifically formulated to prevent hairballs in the stomach, particularly useful if your cat suffers from them regularly.
Lubricant Gel - If you have a cat who, despite regular grooming, still suffers from hairballs, then specialist gel/paste can be used to prevent hair from sticking in their stomach. These are often flavoured and make a tasty treat for your cat, and some contain a probiotic to optimise the health of your cat’s digestive system.
Reducing the occurrence of hairballs doesn’t take much work, and will greatly increase the comfort of your cat (and your bare feet in the morning!). If you’ve tried the above and your cat is still suffering from regular hairballs, then speak to your vet as there may be underlying causes.
Bloating in Dogs: A Serious Issue That Needs Immediate Attention, Article by Advantage Veterinary Center, High Ridge, MO
March 23, 2021
If you’ve ever had a big meal and needed to change into a more comfortable pair of pants, you know that bloating is an uncomfortable feeling. Bloating in dogs is a much more serious condition than a brief period of discomfort in the stomach. Without the proper attention, this condition can be fatal. The team at Advantage Veterinary Center wants to arm you with the knowledge to recognize signs of bloat so you can get the necessary medical attention for your dog:
What is bloating in dogs?
Bloat, or gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) complex, occurs when an excessive amount of air fills the stomach and physically prevents blood from moving from the legs and abdomen back to the heart. Without the ability to move through the body, this blood starts to pool and sends the dog’s body into shock.
This emergent condition can force the spleen and the pancreas to move and cuts off oxygen to these vital organs. When the pancreas is in need of blood flow, it releases a hormone that travels right to the heart and can stop it immediately.
Why Bloat Happens
While veterinarians know there is a cause and effect relationship between the buildup of air in the stomach and the organs flipping, no one is truly sure which happens first and causes the other. It is very possible that the stomach flips first, which causes a buildup of air, or vice versa. What is very clear, however, is that bloating in dogs requires immediate medical attention or it could very quickly turn into a fatal condition.
How To Spot Bloat
When it comes to bloating in dogs, every second counts. This condition could go from problematic to fatal in just a few hours, which is why it is imperative to get into the veterinarian if you notice any of the following symptoms:
Certain dog breeds are more susceptible to bloat. Dogs that have long, yet narrow chests tend to deal with bloat more than other breeds. This includes Great Danes, St. Bernards, Irish Setters, Dobermans, and other large breeds. If there is a family history of bloat, there is a higher chance that a dog will experience it at some point. Talk to your veterinarian if you think your dog might have a high risk of dealing with bloat.
If you suspect that your dog is suffering from bloat, please call your veterinary team immediately.
I’ve always wondered: can I flush cat poo down the toilet? Article is from "The conversation", by: Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-ND
Why can’t I flush cat poo down the toilet? Diane, Sydney
When I was a teenager I owned a large dog, a German Shepherd. It was my responsibility to pick up his poo and put it in the bin. I would never have thought to flush it down the toilet.
So, after a quick internet search, I was surprised to find many people do actually flush cat poo down the toilet. I soon discovered training your cat to use a toilet is a hot topic for cat owners, especially for urban cats that live in home units and lack a backyard.
But sharing a toilet with your cat can put your own health in danger. So what do the water authorities say? And is it OK to flush away kitty litter?
It could be dangerousMy first reaction when I read this question was “no”. I suggest you put it in the garbage, like most people do when they walk their dogs. Then, it would be buried in landfill, along with normal household rubbish.
Only flush the three Ps down the loo: pee, poo and paper. The only paper has to be toilet paper. ShutterstockThe main reason is that poo from our pets — and other animals — can be a risk to human health. Animals can spread diseases with other species including humans (called zoonotic diseases).
A common and dangerous zoonotic disease is toxoplasmosis. Cats can carry this disease (among others) and pass it to humans, particularly through human contact with their poo.
Toxoplasmosis can cause serious health issues for people, particularly those with weak immune systems. And it is very serious for pregnant women as they can pass an infection to an unborn baby, with other potentially tragic consequences later in the child’s life.
In fact, a study published last year estimated that toxoplasmosis, cat roundworm and cat scratch disease are linked to more than 8,500 hospitalisations and about 550 deaths in Australia each year.
So it’s best you avoid sharing a toilet with your cat — and always be very careful handling pet wastes.
Cats carry diseases that can be deadly to humans.To get an industry answer to this question, I asked five Australian water authorities that manage the largest urban sewerage systems across the country, including Sydney Water, Melbourne Water and Icon Water (Canberra).
Their reaction was generally “no”. You should not flush any pet waste down the toilet. But it was not unanimous — at least one water authority told me they thought it was OK to flush away cat poo.
There was one big issue they all agreed on, however. And that’s to only flush the three Ps: pee, poo and paper down the loo, the only paper being toilet paper.
What about kitty litter?Every single water authority stressed the message that no kitty litter should be flushed down the toilet. So why is kitty litter so dangerous?
Kitty litter, or other materials that aren’t any of the “three Ps”, can block sewer pipes. Kitty litter is made from all sorts of materials, such as recycled products like old newspapers.
But a common ingredient is a clay material called “bentonite”. It has a remarkable ability to absorb up to 15 times its original weight.
Kitty litter can swell and block sewer pipes.This is the big problem. If you flush kitty litter down your toilet, it can swell up and block sewer pipes, even in the pipes in your home — yuk! Don’t risk it!
Blocked sewer pipes are a horrible, messy and smelly problem. Sinks can block and toilets can stop flushing. They can also cause raw sewage to leak out. Sewage is dangerous for the environment and is very hazardous for people as it can spread infectious disease.
The bottom lineDon’t share toilets with your fur babies. So while it must take impressive balance and gymnastic skills for a cat to sit on, and use a toilet (there are even books on this topic!), my advice is put your cat’s poo (and poo from other pets) into the garbage bin.
And generally, make sure you don’t flush things down the toilet that really should go into the bin.
I am also yet to see evidence cats can flush the toilet themselves — I suspect this isn’t impossible, though.
Why Is My Old Dog Peeing in the House? By: Dr. Ellen Colwell of Sykeville Veterinary CLinic
Does your pooch have a case of the puddles? Is that something they haven’t done in years?
It can be quite alarming to discover your old dog peeing in the house. You’ve trained them well, and all these years they’ve faithfully waited to do the duty outside. But for some reason, seems like they’ve decided your home is the new fire hydrant.
Don’t get upset.
Afraid to say, it’s all a part of getting older. Now’s the time to head to your trusted veterinarian for a full check-up to figure out what’s going on with your old dog peeing in the house.
Read on so you’re well-informed for you and Old Yeller’s next appointment.
Age-Related CausesCanine age is quite similar to humans- it just moves at a faster pace. As we all get older, our bodies start to falter and lose efficiency.
The most common cause of an older dog peeing in the house is that, simply, they can’t hold it like they used to. Their muscle tone has been reduced, and the control they once had over their bladder to wait until they’re outside is fading.
Not only that, but their hormones are changing as well. Particularly in spayed females, dropped levels in their hormones can lead to incontinence.
Your dog could also be undergoing kidney failure. An excess of toxins in the system means more urination needs to take place.
Lastly, your older dog might be experiencing canine cognitive dysfunction. It’s like Alzheimer’s disease–your dog simply has trouble remembering that peeing is something you’ve trained them to do outside.
Drastic changes in your older dog’s usual routine can greatly upset and confuse your pet. This might be one way they’re acting out.
If you’ve just introduced a new dog into the family, you might find your old dog peeing in the house to mark their territory. If this is the case, some firm correcting might be all you need.
Stress and anxiety can also play a factor in your aging dog’s incontinence.
As dogs get older, they might begin to feel an impending sense of their mortality and vulnerability. They might have walked the walk during their younger years, but now they’re skittish over even the phone ringing. Loss of bladder control can be a side-effect to this new, stressful part of their lives.
InfectionsSometimes, however, it’s just a simple case of an infection.
Urinary tract infections affect dogs as much as humans. You’ll notice your dog wanting to go outside much more frequently, dancing around jittery.
Left untreated, a UTI can develop further and cause more problems. Like kidney stones or infection. Seek out the proper anti-bacterial medication to cure the infection before it gets worse.
Schedule an Appointment for Your Old Dog Peeing in the House
It’s best to contact your veterinarian immediately to find the cause for your old dog peeing in the house.
Often, the symptoms you notice are just the tip of the iceberg. Your veterinarian will be able to properly assess your dog’s incontinence, and find the best treatment available. It’s all part of regular care for your senior dog.