Spring has sprung, and with the change of season come new activities and new chances for your pets to get into things that could potentially make them ill. To help protect your pets, we've compiled our list of the Top 5 Spring Time Hazards.
- Chocolate: It probably comes as no surprise to you that chocolate is a big no-no - for both dogs and cats. A potentially lethal dose of chocolate for a 16lb. animal is only 2oz. of baker’s chocolate, so be sure to keep all the chocolate morsels, big and small, away from your fur-kids.
- Plastic Easter Grass: Just like tinsel at Christmas-time, Easter grass is a pet no-no! If ingested, this can be very dangerous and can cause intestinal blockage. If you're worried about keeping it away from your pet, try substituting tissue paper.
- Lilies: You may not know, but lilies are extremely toxic to cats. They have a tendency to chew on them, and any part of the lily (flowers/petals, stems, pollen, even the water in the vase!) could cause acute kidney failure and death. If your cat has gotten into the lilies, don't waste any time. Get him/her to the vet immediately.
#2 Fleas, Ticks, and Mosquitoes
Warmer temperatures for these bugs means it is baby making season! Although they seem like nuisance pests, they are disease carriers and capable of causing severe health problems.
- Fleas: A flea egg can remain dormant for over a year, until ideal temperature is reached. Fleas are carriers of several different diseases (including typhus, plague and cat-scratch infection) and also serve as an intermediate host for tapeworms. If your pet is unlucky enough to have a flea allergy, these little blood-suckers can also cause flea allergy dermatitis.
- Mosquitoes: Mosquitoes may seem harmless, but they can be a carrier for heartworms, which are dangerous to both your dog and your cat.
- Ticks: Ticks carry many different diseases and it is important to remove the tick as soon as you find it. A common tick-borne disease is Lyme disease, though there are several others, and in some cases your pet may be allergic to a tick bite.
Because it rarely gets cold enough here in the New Orleans area to completely eliminate the threat of these parasites, it's best to use a preventative product year round that targets fleas and ticks and that prevents heartworms. Call us to discuss your options for flea, tick and heartworm prevention or take a look at our online store.
- Fertilizers: The fertilizers that are sprayed onto lawns are typically fairly safe, unless your pet ingests it directly. If a fertilizer is ingested in large amounts, it may be toxic causing gastrointestinal irritation or obstruction. If ingested in a small amount it may cause mild stomach upset and loose stool.
- Organganophosphates: This compound is toxic to both dogs and cats; however, cats are especially sensitive. Commonly found in plant care products, this compound can be life threatening, even in small amounts.
- Snail/Slug Bait: This pesticide contains metaldehyde, which is highly toxic to dogs and cats. Ingesting can cause seizures, vomit, diarrhea, and incoordination. Typically it is a sweet smelling substance, which inherently attracts pets. However, even the “pet safe” snail bait contains 1% iron phosphate, and if ingested in large amounts can cause gastrointestinal upset. It is safer than metaldehyde, but still not 100% safe.
#4 Bee Stings
Our pets are curious by nature, and they explore the world through their nose and paws- making them prime targets for insect stings. In most cases there will be mild swelling and tenderness. Be sure not to squeeze the stinger (causing more venom exposure); rather, use a credit card to scrape it out.
Some pets are allergic to bee stings and will need emergency medical care. If your dog or cat starts vomiting or becomes lethargic after a bee sting, it is a sign of anaphylactic shock, and a clear indicator that they need immediate care.
#5 Household Cleaners
Before the ritual of spring cleaning commences, there are a few substances that you should be aware of. Typically, surface cleaners can result in clinical signs of toxicosis, such as vomiting and diarrhea. However, there are certain cleaners that are very dangerous if ingested, or if they come into contact with your pet’s skin. They include:
- Drain cleaner
- Pool chemicals
- Concentrated dishwashing chemicals
- Lime-removal products
- Oven cleaner
- Concentrated toilet cleaners
- Clinical signs include red/raw skin, blistering, pawing at the mouth, severe drooling, not eating, and lethargy.
If you believe that your pet has come into contact or ingested anything that is toxic, it is important that you contact us immediately (remember, we're here 24/7 for emergencies). You may also call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control at (888) 426-4435 (for a fee).
This blog post originally appeared on The Drake Center and edited for further syndication.