Holiday Pet Safety Tips from the AVMA

Are you keeping your pets safe this holiday season?  Lots of tempting food and decorations around the house could lead to an unexpected holiday visit to the vet!

Here are a few common-sense holiday pet safety tips from the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Certain people foods are toxic or unhealthy for our dogs and cats.  Make sure these popular holiday food items are out of reach:

  • Chocolate, sweets, and baked goods (the artificial sweetener xylitol is toxic to dogs)
  • Turkey skin and bones
  • Onions, raisins, nuts, and grapes
  • Alcohol
  • Raw yeast dough

Some holiday decorations can pose health hazards to pets, including:

  • Unsecured Christmas trees (and Christmas tree water that contains additives)
  • Tinsel, lights, and ornaments
  • Flowers and plants (including amaryllis, mistletoe, holly, and poinsettias)
  • Potpourri and lit candles

Here’s a cute infographic on holiday pet dangers from the AVMA that you can keep as a reminder!

 

 

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FDA Issues Warning on Vitamin D Toxicity in Several Brands of Pet Food

The US Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning for pet owners about high levels of vitamin D in several brands of dry dog food.

Currently, the affected dog foods are sold under the labels Nature’s Promise, Nature’s Place, Abound, ELM, ANF, Evolve, Sportsman’s Pride, Triumph, Orlando, Natural Life, and Nutrisca.

While already a long list, the FDA notes that the situation is still developing, and more brands may be added in the coming days.  Right now, the list does not include cat food or wet dog food.

Although vitamin D is an essential nutrient, too much vitamin D can cause vitamin D toxicity in dogs.  The symptoms pet owners should know about include:

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Excessive drooling
  • Weight loss

Serious cases can lead to kidney failure and death.

Stop feeding your dog any food on the list and see your veterinarian if you suspect vitamin D toxicity.  Show your vet the food packaging.  The FDA notes that some of the symptoms can mimic those that follow the ingestion of rodenticides.

Pet owners and veterinarians are encouraged to report cases of vitamin D toxicity to the FDA via their safety reporting portal.

 

Voters Approve New Animal Welfare Laws in Florida and California

This week’s midterm elections saw two major animal welfare victories in the states of Florida and California.

Florida’s Amendment 13, a measure to ban commercial Greyhound racing, was approved by 69% of voters in the state.  Thanks to this new legislation, Greyhound racing will be phased out over the next two years.  Good news for dog lovers interested in adopting retired Greyhounds!

In California, Proposition 12 was on the ballot.  Prop 12 was approved by 61% of California voters.  This measure will establish minimum space requirements for farm animals (egg-laying chickens, veal calves, and breeding pigs).  It will also ban the sale of meat and eggs from farms that don’t meet the space requirements.

Do you know the animal protection laws in your state?  You can find out by clicking on the interactive map on the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s website.

 

US Law Enforcement Works to End Animal Abuse

Did you know that the National Sheriffs’ Association has a division called the National Law Enforcement Center on Animal Abuse?

The NLECAA website has lots of great information for animal lovers around the US who are interested in finding out how law enforcement responds to animal maltreatment.

They recently released a report on the connection between animal cruelty and violence against humans.  The report notes that before 2016, animal abuse was put into an “all other offense” category in a national crime statistics database.

Since 2016, law enforcement now collects data from all over the country on animal cruelty, including gross neglect, torture, organized abuse, and sexual abuse of animals.

The report provides guidance for first responders on the scene at animal abuse investigations, including how to link animal abuse to other forms of possible violent criminal activity.

You can download the full report HERE.  The National Law Enforcement Center on Animal Abuse also has a guide on how to report suspected animal abuse in your state.

You can follow the work the NLECAA is doing to protect animals on Twitter!

Images:  NLECCA

 

Mushroom Safety for Dogs

In many parts of the world, fall is the time of year when mushrooms make their appearance in woods and other natural areas.  Is your dog at risk of poisoning if she eats a wild mushroom while out on a walk?

According to the North American Mycological Association, only 1% of mushrooms are considered to be “highly toxic” to pets.

There are some mushrooms that are attractive to dogs, probably because of their odor.  There are also mushrooms that are toxic to dogs while being harmless to humans.

Some mushrooms contain compounds that are dangerous, and sometimes deadly, if consumed by dogs.

NAMA recommends that dog owners take special care with these mushrooms when out on walks:

Amanita phalloides

Amanita muscaria

Amanita pantherina

Dogs can go into a deep, coma-like sleep after consuming certain mushroom toxins.  Other mushroom toxins can cause gastrointestinal distress.  The effects can last for hours.

If you are concerned that your dog ate a poisonous mushroom, seek veterinary care right away.  You can also call the Animal Poison Control Hotline or one of the NAMA experts in your area.

Click HERE for more information on mushroom poisoning in pets.