Essential Oils and Pets: Is It Safe?

Aromatherapy has been a popular way to relax and rejuvenate for years, and essential oils use as home remedies for many different ailments has also been gaining in popularity recently. Although you may enjoy lavender, citrus, or any number of lovely scents from essential oils, it’s important to keep in mind some safety measures when it comes to essential oils and pets.

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Hidden Dangers: Protecting Pets from Back-To-School Pet Toxins

pet toxinsWhen the time comes to get ready for the start of a new school year, potential pet toxins probably aren’t at the top of the list of concerns, but they should be! The risks associated with seemingly harmless items, such as backpacks and lunchboxes, are a very real threat to our pets, and deserve a second look.

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Spring Cleaning: Pet Safe Cleaning Tips from The Pet Experts!

Spring cleaning takes on a whole new meaning when you have a pet. Cleaning up after a pet is challenging enough, further complicated by the fact that many commercial household cleaning products contain ingredients that can be hazardous to pets.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to keep your pets protected while you engage in some seasonal scrubbing. Pet safe cleaning is easy and affordable, and The Pet Experts at Elmhurst Animal Care Center can show you how!

Why Is Pet Safe Cleaning Important?

Commercial cleaning products generally have a long list of unfamiliar sounding ingredients, many of which can be toxic to our pets. Pets can come into contact with cleaning products in a variety of ways, and even a small amount ingested or inhaled can cause damage, thanks to ingredients such as ammonia, phthalates, chlorine, phenols, and alcohol. Many of these chemicals are extremely poisonous, and some are known animal carcinogens.

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The Dangers Of Antifreeze: Protecting Our Pets

Refilling the windshield washer system antifreezeAs pet owners, most of us will do everything we can to protect our pets from the dangers of everyday life; we may keep our cats indoors, walk our dogs on leashes, have our pets vaccinated, and keep them away from toxic foods to name a few. Now that winter is firmly in place (and not going anywhere for awhile) The Pet Experts would like to turn the focus toward a deadly, and unfortunately common, pet toxin: antifreeze.

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The Problem with Online Pet Pharmacies

 

You may be asking yourself, “Why shouldn’t I order my pet’s prescription online?  Good prices, direct shipping, what’s to lose?”  Be aware that it may not be as good as it sounds though. Take the following into account before choosing where to purchase your next veterinary prescription:

  • When your veterinarian prescribes a medication, he or she can dispense it in a safe manner, ensuring your pet has had any recommended screening performed, looking out for drug interactions, and keeping the product in an appropriate manner.  This does not always happen with online pharmacies.
  • The FDA says, “buyer beware” about online pharmacies.  There has been much concern about the quality and authenticity of drugs that can be obtained online.
  • If you have a problem or question, your veterinarian is able to address it directly.  Not all veterinary pharmacies can claim the same.
  • Websites that sell prescription veterinary products without the need for a prescription are breaking the law, plain and simple.  If they are ignoring the law in this respect, where else are they cutting corners?
  • Many drug company warranties such as those for heartworm prevention are invalidated when the product is purchased through such venues.

 

Talk to us or to your veterinarian.  He or she truly has your pet’s best interest at heart. And you may be able to walk out the door with your pet’s medication for little more than ordering online.

Our on-site pharmacy is well stocked and able to fill prescriptions before you leave. We are also a compounding pharmacy which means that we can tailor your pet’s medication to their unique needs. This gives us the ability to adjust the dose and method of delivery or to offer solutions for pets that are difficult to medicate, such as adding flavors or ordering transdermal medications.

Talk to us or to your veterinarian about the options they offer. Sometimes convenience is not worth the risk, and your pet’s medications fall into that category.

Holiday Plant Primer

 

Around the holidays our homes are filled with all sorts of objects that aren’t there the rest of the year.  Many times this includes festive plants of all kinds.  These plants often end up in the mouths of curious pets, especially puppies and kittens.  Some may not cause any problems at all, but many cause side effects ranging from mild to severe.  Here is the low-down on a few of the more common holiday house guests:

Poinsettia

While the poinsettia plant is perhaps the most infamous holiday plant, its reputation is not entirely deserved.  Its extreme toxicity is largely an urban legend.  The plant is mildly toxic and irritating to the mucous membranes.  While it is unlikely to cause severe illness, it is probably best to keep this plant out of reach.

Mistletoe

The level of toxicity of mistletoe largely depends on the variety, but the berries of both the American and European variety cause stomach irritation at small doses. At larger doses, it can trigger much more serious problems (including low blood pressure, seizures, and disorientation).

Holly

Eating holly can result in severe stomach upset in dogs and cats.  Signs that your pet has eaten holly include smacking of lips, drooling, head shaking, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.

Lilies

Lilies are very popular around the holidays, but they are deadly for cats.  Ingestion causes severe stomach upset, heart arrhythmias, kidney failure, and death.

Christmas tree

Don’t discount the tree!  The oils and sap can be irritating to the mouth and stomach, which can lead to drooling and vomiting.

Is your garden safe for your pet?

dog in a gardenIt’s that time of year again, when warmer temperatures and longer days beg us to spend more time in the fresh air and sunlight. If you happen to be a gardener, it’s probably also the time that you’re thinking about digging in the dirt and deciding what flowers and veggies you may want to plant. Although gardening can be a very relaxing and rewarding hobby, it can also be dangerous for our dogs and cats. Luckily, creating a pet-safe garden is not very difficult. As responsible pet owners, we just need to take a few precautions to ensure that our yards and gardens are safe for our animal friends.

Avoid Poisonous Plants

The most obvious way to create a pet-safe garden is to choose the right plants. Not all pet owners realize that a great many garden plants are toxic to dogs and cats. Popular varieties such as azalea, rhododendron, oleander, foxglove, lily of the valley, sago palm, tulip and daffodil all fall into this category. Pets that eat these poisonous plants can experience everything from an upset stomach and diarrhea, to seizures and liver failure. Be sure to  check the ASPCA’s comprehensive list of toxic plants before deciding which plants will make it into your garden.

While not toxic, it’s also a good idea to avoid trees, shrubs and plants that are likely to cause allergies. Many of the same plants that cause allergies in humans will affect your pet as well. Look for pollen-free plant species whenever possible. If you do select a plant with a high allergy potential, avoid planting it under windows that you’ll have open during the summer.  If you already have one of these trees or hedges in your yard, keep it heavily sheared so it will flower less.

Rethink Toxic Chemicals

Try to avoid the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides or weed killers in your yard and garden. These pose a danger to dogs and cats because anything picked up on their paws could be licked off later. There are plenty of organic, earth-friendly products available as an alternative that are safe for both pets and humans. Ask your local gardening center for recommendations and they should be able to point you in the right direction.

Insecticides are often necessary to keep our gardens healthy, but their ingredients aren’t safe for our furry friends. The most dangerous forms of pesticides include snail bait with metaldehyde, fly bait with methomyl, systemic insecticides with the ingredients disyston or disulfoton and most forms of rat poisons. Again, a conversation at your gardening center may be able to provide you with some effective but natural alternatives.

Choose Your Mulch Carefully

Many gardeners use cocoa bean mulch—a by-product of chocolate production—in landscaping. Its attractive odor and color make it a popular choice, but cocoa mulch can pose serious problems for your dog. Play it safe and use shredded pine, cedar or hemlock bark instead. Also try to avoid mulch that has been treated with weed inhibitor or insect repellent.

Compost Piles and Worm Bins

These eco-friendly practices can be great for your garden, but be sure they’re not accessible to your pets. Dogs that view garbage and rotting food as a special treat may consider this a buffet, but it’s one that could make them sick.

Garden Tools

Just like toddler-proofing, be sure to keep all pruning shears, trimmers, tillers, rakes and other gardening tools picked up and stored safely out of reach of your pets.

Gardening is a great hobby, and with a little extra planning and effort, it’s not difficult to ensure that your hobby will be safe for your pet.

Scary Halloween Hazards for Your Pet

Bulldog in Halloween costumeGhost and goblins aren’t the only hazards for Max and Mittens this Halloween.  Keep an eye out for these top Halloween pet dangers:

Chocolate

This common Halloween treat is not for your pet.  Chocolate, especially in the form of dark or baking chocolate, can be toxic.

Artificial sweeteners

Beware of baked goods or candies sweetened with xylitol.  Just a small amount of this artificial sweetener could be deadly.

Halloween plants

Traditional Halloween decorations like pumpkins and corn are not toxic, but ingestion could cause digestive upset or an obstruction.

Wires and electrical cords

Decorating for the holidays often leads to cords in places where they are not normally.  Be sure all these are out of the reach of curious teeth and that your pet cannot become tangled in them.

Candles

If you choose to light up your Jack O’Lantern with a candle, keep it out of the way of mischievous cats and dogs to prevent burns.

Costumes

If you choose to dress up your pet, be sure that its costume fits well and does not obstruct vision, hearing, or breathing.  A costumed pet should always be supervised so that it does not become tangled in the costume or chew off pieces.

If you do get your pet into a costume, we’d love to see it! Share your pictures in our Pet Gallery or on our Facebook page.

Trick or treaters

When opening your door to hand out candy, be sure your pets are secure in the house.  Stressful activity and an open door can lead to lost pets very quickly.

Decorations

Be sure that tempting decorations like tinsel, ribbons, and other potentially ingestible items are kept out of reach from curious pets.

If you think that your pet may have gotten into something that he shouldn’t have, please don’t hesitate to call us.