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Winter Pet Toxins

When winter weather hits, it’s important to keep your pet’s safety in mind. There are several toxins that present a real hazard this time of year! Here, your Roanoke, VA veterinarian tells you about the most common winter pet poisons and how to have your pet avoid them.

Ice Melt

Most ice melt products are made with sodium chloride, otherwise known as salt. You don’t want your pet ingesting it! Small amounts of salt can lead to an upset stomach and skin irritation, while large amounts can result in a serious case of poisoning. Don’t allow pets to track ice melt indoors on the paws; avoid ice patches when outdoors, and store ice melt carefully where pets can’t reach.

Antifreeze

Episodes of antifreeze poisoning rise in the wintertime, as car owners use the substance to keep their engines running smoothly. Antifreeze is often made with ethylene glycol, an alcoholic substance that can poison pets in very small amounts. It even smells and tastes sweet, which could attract pets! Don’t use antifreeze with your pet nearby, and clean up any spills right away.

Holiday Plants

Holly and mistletoe, common around the holidays, can poison a pet who ingests too much. Poinsettia plants aren’t likely to cause serious poisoning, but they can upset your pet’s stomach and cause mouth and throat irritation. Other common wintertime plants like lilies, Autumn crocus, and Amaryllis also present a hazard. Make sure your pet stays far away from harmful plant life!

Pesticides

Small rodents and insects like to invade our homes in the winter in an effort to seek shelter from the cold weather outside. You might use pesticide or rodenticide products to ward them off. Remember that these products are poisons, designed to kill! Place pesticides very carefully, or choose non-toxic alternatives like traps, so that your pet stays safe.

Medicine

Cold and flu season will be upon us before you know it. Remember that a variety of human medications—cough syrup, aspirin, prescription drugs, and much more—can poison your pet! NSAIDs like ibuprofen are an especially common pet poison, and can cause reduced blood flow to your pet’s kidneys and damage to the intestinal lining. Keep the medicine cabinet shut tightly so that your pet can’t reach any harmful pills!

Want more tips for keeping your pet safe as the winter weather rolls on? We’re here for you. Call your Roanoke, VA vet.

Are These Pet Toxins Already in Your Home?

Believe it or not, you most likely already have a variety of potential pet toxins inside your home. Don’t worry, though—with a few simple precautions, you can keep your animal companion safe and sound! Learn more here from your vet in Roanoke, VA.

Pesticides

Do you use pesticides or rodenticides around your home to ward off pesky intruders? Remember that pesticide products are poisons, designed to kill the critters that come in contact with them. That’s why it’s important to choose pet-proof pesticides or go with alternative pest-control options that aren’t toxic to pets, like traps. Ask your vet for further advice.

Dangerous Foods

A great many human foods can prove harmful to a pet. The list includes grapes and raisins, onions, garlic, chives, leeks, scallions, shallots, avocado, chocolate, candy, salty items like chips and pretzels, fatty or rich foods, and alcoholic beverages, among others. To protect your pet, don’t leave foods out on the kitchen table or countertops where pets may be able to reach them. Instead, store foods in cabinets or the refrigerator where they belong.

Human Medication

Various human medicines—standard painkillers like Advil or Motrin, antidepressants, cough syrup, all sorts of prescription drugs, and more—can prove toxic to a pet who manages to get their paws on them! A determined pet may even be able to chew right through a child-proof plastic bottle cap. Store all medicines inside a closed cabinet or drawer where your pet won’t be able to reach, and store your pet’s own medicine in a separate area from human medications so the two don’t get mixed up.

Poisonous Plant Life

Plenty of plants and flowers can harm a pet who ingests them. Oleander, dieffenbachia, elephant ear, philodendron, rhododendron (also called azalea), lilies, tulips, the sago palm, a variety of aloe plants, and ivy are just a few examples. Inside and outside your home, make sure you’re not harboring a harmful plant variety. Ask your vet what kinds of toxic plants are most common in the area where you live.

Cleaning Products

While a pet isn’t likely to seek out a cleaning solution to ingest, you’ll want to play it safe. Everything from household disinfectants and air fresheners to bleach-based products and carpet cleaner could cause serious problems! Keep the supply closet shut tightly at all times.

To learn more about pet toxins at home, call your Roanoke, VA veterinary clinic.

Tips for Brushing Fido’s Teeth

Have you looked at your dog’s teeth lately? Just like people, dogs can develop a wide variety of dental issues, ranging from gum disease to cracked, chipped, or broken teeth. We recommend having Fido’s teeth checked by a vet every year. However, home care is also important. One of the best things you can do is brush your canine pal’s teeth. A local Roanoke, VA vet offers tips on how to do that in this article.

Start Young

If possible, start brushing your furry pal’s choppers while he is still young. It’s much easier to teach a puppy about dental care than to try and get a wary adult dog to accept a toothbrush!

Choose Products Wisely

You’ll need to get doggy dental products for your pet. Never use human toothpastes on Fido: things made for us aren’t safe or suitable for our canine companions. When choosing pet toothpaste, opt for a yummy flavor, like beef or chicken, to make the experience more enjoyable for your pooch.

Training

It’s may take Fido some time to get used to the idea of getting his teeth brushed. Start by just gently rubbing your pup’s gums and teeth with your finger. Offer your pooch treats, praise and ear scritches, so he forms a positive opinion about the process. The next step is to put some pet toothpaste on your finger. (We know, this is a bit yucky, but it’s just for training.) Once your canine buddy has accepted this, you can start incorporating a doggy toothbrush. Keep up the rewards as well!

Scheduling

You don’t necessarily have to brush your pup’s entire mouth every day. Just do one quarter at a time, and keep rotating. Your furry friend will still benefit!

Tips

While you are brushing your four-legged buddy’s choppers, keep a close eye out for signs of dental issues. Bad breath is a common one. Swelling, tartar buildup, and bleeding gums are more red flags, as are bloody, stringy, or excessive drool. You’ll also want to watch for behavioral clues, such as grumpiness, reduced interest in play, and lack of appetite. Call your vet right away if you notice any of these warning signs.

Do you have questions about doggy dental woes? Please contact us, your local Roanoke, VA pet clinic, for all of your dog’s veterinary care needs. We are dedicated to providing excellent veterinary care.

Fluffy’s Scratching Habit

Do you sometimes find your cat using your sofa as a nail-care station? Is your kitty slowly shredding your carpets and furniture? Kitties have many adorable habits, but their nail-care routines aren’t always very popular with their human buddies. Read on as a local Roanoke, VA vet discusses Fluffy’s scratching habit.

Why Kitties Scratch

Even if your feline friend looks tremendously pleased with herself after scratching your sofa, she isn’t deliberately trying to ruin your things. Cats have a strong, instinctive urge to take care of their claws, and with good reason. In the wild, kitties need their claws for survival. Although your pampered pet may never need to hunt for her dinner, climb a tree to escape a predator, or defend herself against anything but the vacuum cleaner, she’ll still feel driven to sharpen her claws.

Choosing A Peticure Station

If you want your furry little diva to stop scratching your things, you’ll need to provide her with a suitable nail-care station. Choose something that is tall enough to allow Fluffy to stretch out to her full length. Make sure it doesn’t wobble: if your furball’s scratching post isn’t sturdy, she may become wary of it and stop using it.

Teaching Good Habits

If you just tell Fluffy not to scratch your couch, you’ll probably just get a yawn and a meow in reply. What you’ll need to do is get your cat to form a bad association with improper scratching and a good association with her scratching post. When you see your kitty scratching improperly, do something that will startle and/or annoy her: make a loud noise, squirt her with water, or stamp your foot. Your furball will probably bolt for a quieter spot. When you see Fluffy using her scratching post, reward her with toys, treats, praise, and ear scritches.

Last Resorts

If you aren’t having any luck, contact your vet to set up a nail-trim appointment for Fluffy. This is painless and temporary, just like a human manicure. Claw caps are another option. These cute fake nails for kitties come in many bright colors. Like nail trims, they are also painless and temporary. (Note: we don’t recommend these options for cats that go outdoors, as they need their claws for defense.)

Please contact us, your local Roanoke, VA pet hospital, for all of your cat’s veterinary care needs. We are here to help!