Dog Alerts

Caution! Beware of Xylitol

CautionMany dog owners know that if ingested, chocolate is dangerous to dogs. But more than half of dog owners don't know about the danger of another common substance: Xylitol.

Xylitol is found in sugar-free gum, but increasingly, it is also found in other foods as a substitute for sugar. It may be in candy, mints, peanut and other nut butters, cookies, ice cream, yogurt, jams, syrups and even toothpaste.

According to PreventiveVet.com, xylitol poisoning cases reported to the ASPCA's Animal Control Poison Center have skyrocketed. For example, in 2005, just 201 cases of xylitol poisoning were reported. Just five years later, in 2010, 2,537 cases were reported. In 2018, 6,760 cases were reported. Those are just the cases reported to the ASPCA -- not every case of xylitol poisoning.

In July 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration(FDA) published a report on the dangers of xylitol to dogs. The FDA wrote:

In both people and dogs, the level of blood sugar is controlled by the release of insulin from the pancreas. In people, xylitol does not stimulate the release of insulin from the pancreas. However, it’s different in canines: When dogs eat something containing xylitol, the xylitol is more quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, and may result in a potent release of insulin from the pancreas.

This rapid release of insulin may result in a rapid and profound decrease in the level of blood sugar (hypoglycemia), an effect that can occur within 10 to 60 minutes of eating the xylitol. Untreated, this hypoglycemia can quickly be life-threatening...

Dr. Martine Hartogensis, a veterinarian at the FDA recommends, "Check the label for xylitol in the ingredients of products, especially ones that advertise as sugar-free or low sugar. If a product does contain xylitol, make sure your pet can't get to it."


Watch Out for Poisonous Plants

Flowers-1845074_1920Spring is here and that means you might let your dog wander around your yard for long periods of time. It's generally healthy for dogs to be outside but dangers lurk in what you may think are harmless plants. It turns out that some common plants are poisonous for pets. Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences offers a helpful database of "Poisonous Plants Affecting Dogs," categorized as follows:

  • House plants
  • Flower garden plants
  • Vegetable garden plants
  • Plants found in swamps or moist areas
  • Plants found in fields
  • Trees and shrubs
  • Plants found in wooded areas
  • Ornamental plants.

Did you know, for example, that the common outdoor garden plants bleeding heart, iris and lily-of-the-valley are all poisonous?

Check out this valuable database here: http://poisonousplants.ansci.cornell.edu/dogs/index.html?

Image by Spiritze from Pixabay


Top Pet Toxins According to the ASPCA

CautionEach year, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) releases a list of the leading pet toxins. These substances are commonly found in most every home so, as a dog owner, you should be aware of their danger. The following information is from the ASPCA.

For the third year in a row, human over-the-counter (OTC) medications lead the top toxins list, making up nearly 17 percent of APCC’s total case volume. The most common items in this category include cold medications, vitamins, and pain relievers such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and acetaminophen, which can all cause life-threatening medical issues. Because these items are easily accessible to pets in homes, purses, and backpacks, the ASPCA urges pet owners to take extra precautions and keep all toxic items, especially medications, securely locked in a cabinet.

The remaining nine items on the 2020 list, making up nearly 80 percent of all APCC cases, include the following:

  1. Human Prescription Medications remained at number two in 2020 with antidepressant, anticonvulsant, and cardiac medication ingestions being the most common cases. Like OTC medications, many of these prescriptions can cause gastrointestinal issues and may even lead to kidney failure.
  2. Food Products continue to occupy the third spot, making up 13 percent of total cases in 2020. This year, protein and snack bar exposures along with grapes, raisins, xylitol, onions, and garlic made up most food toxicity cases.
  3. Chocolate ingestion cases continue to increase year after year. APCC handles almost 76 cases of chocolate exposure each day. It’s important for pet owners to remember that the higher the cocoa content, the more dangerous the chocolate will be for your pet.
  4. Plants, both indoor and outdoor, moved up three spots to number five in 2020, with the APCC seeing 9,000 more plant-related calls compared to the previous year. At the start of the pandemic, more people found themselves decorating with plants, especially succulents, or sending bouquets to friends and family. While many plants pose a serious threat to pets, there are also many pet friendly houseplants to consider.
  5. The last five toxins on the list include household items such as cleaning products and paint; rodenticides; veterinary products such as pet medications; insecticides and gardening products including fertilizer.

For more information about the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, please visit www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control. If you think your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, call (888) 426-4435 or contact your local veterinarian as soon as possible.  


Beware of Online Puppy Scams

Carolina Mountain Dog is reprinting this important information from the ASPCA:

Rottweiler-1785760_1920Many families who spent much of the year in their homes due to the COVID-19 pandemic turned to the Internet to look for a pet. Unfortunately, more people looking for pets online means more people looking to profit. In 2020, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has reported a record-high number of scams related to online puppy purchases. 

According to the BBB, the number of pet scams reported in 2020 will be more than double the number reported last year, and five times higher than in 2017 with families reporting that they paid for dogs they never received—and maybe never existed. These scams resulted in families losing over $3 million.  

But falling for a scam isn’t the only risk to buying a puppy online. Puppy purchasers have also reported receiving different puppies from the ones they “ordered,” sick puppies or a seller that disappears once the dog is shipped. 

And even if your mail-ordered pup is as cute and healthy as you hoped, there are real risks you may not have considered to buying a dog over the Internet—ones that harm dogs. Online, every seller markets themselves as a responsible, caring breeder of high-quality pups but the thousands of dollars sent to a far-away seller may actually be helping keep a puppy mill in business.

Cruel breeders use deceptive photos and slick websites to fool families. They exploit weak laws that allow them to keep dogs in conditions no one who loves dogs would accept. They use their profits not to provide better care for dogs, but to breed and sell more puppies.  

No animal lover wants to support cruelty. If you’re looking to add a dog to your family, please consider adoption and work with a reputable local shelter or rescue, or visit a responsible breeder

Source: https://www.aspca.org/news/when-it-comes-online-puppies-what-you-see-not-what-you-get

Image by kim_hester from Pixabay


Can a Dog Detect Covid-19?

Fuca-2491995_1920We dog lovers know just how special dogs are -- and we also know that they serve humanity in many noble ways.

Now, United Kingdom researchers are testing the idea that dogs can detect Covid-19. According to an article in Bloomberg's CITYLAB, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) is forging ahead with the project with high hopes. Will it work? "There’s a good chance that it will," writes Feargus O'Sullivan. "Dogs are already widely used to detect the presence of cancers, bacterial superbugs and neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s. Working with the charity Medical Detection Dogs, the LSHTM has previously carried out a successful training program that demonstrated dogs could detect malaria, creating a test that exceeded required World Health Organization standards."

The head of LSHTM's Department of Disease Control, James Logan, says “We know diseases have odors —  including respiratory diseases such as influenza — and that those odors are in fact quite distinct. There is a very, very good chance that Covid-19 has a specific odor, and if it does I am really confident that the dogs would be able to learn that smell and detect it.”

Read more about it here: https://www.citylab.com/life/2020/04/coronavirus-no-symptoms-dogs-smell-detect-covid-19-infection/609403/

Image: Pixabay.com


Coronavirus Update from Watauga Humane Society

Screen Shot 2020-04-09 at 12.45.37 PMDear Friends of Watauga Humane Society,

In response to growing concerns about the spread of COVID-19, the Watauga Humane Society and Watauga County Animal Control are closely monitoring recommendations from public health officials about possible changes of how we do our work or deliver programs to provide services to lost, homeless, injured and sick animals in our community. 

Currently, over 150 animals are sheltered at WHS in the care of our amazing team of dedicated staff. Should this team be affected by this virus, the care of the animals would suffer. Procedures are being put into practice to insure that our staff remains healthy.

WHS has elected to temporarily limit the amount of possible exposure to the COVID-19, effective immediately. Beginning Tuesday, March 17th, access for the general public to the building will be limited to scheduled appointments only. No unscheduled drop-in visitation of animals will be available.

Animals available for adoption/foster may be viewed on our website in real time and anyone interested in adopting is encouraged to browse the website, then call to schedule an appointment for a meet and greet with a specific animal. (828)-264-7865. 

To fill out our Foster Application, click here https://bit.ly/3b1mxFI

To fill out our Adoption Application, click here https://bit.ly/2TW7gju

Owner surrenders have always been by appointment and will continue to be done this way.

If pets are lost, owners are encouraged to complete lost/found pet reports on our website so the pets can be listed on our website.

Animal Control Officers will still be responding to emergency calls, but non-emergency calls will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. (828) 262 -1672

To contact WHS during this time, or if you have found a stray animal, email us at information@wataugahumanesociety.org or call (828) 264-7895.

Our animals and staff ask that anyone experiencing illness or those with a high risk of having been exposed to COVID-19 avoid visiting the shelter at this time.

These procedures will be in place until further notice.

Sincerely,

Alice Roess, WHS President


Important Information from Asheville Humane Society

Screen Shot 2020-03-26 at 9.42.00 AMIn alignment with the state of North Carolina's Stay at Home Order related to COVID-19, Asheville Humane Society's Adoption Center and the Buncombe County Animal Shelter will remain closed to the public through April 29, 2020.

Community Assistance Available

Asheville Humane’s Community Solutions Department has started a delivery system for pet food and supplies to residents in need and to food pantries.  We’re also continuing to offer owner surrender counseling to try to keep pets with their people during this difficult time.

Buncombe County residents should email helpline@ashevillehumane.org or call our Safety Net Helpline at (828) 760-2008 if they need assistance with their pets.

Animal emergencies or found pets should be directed to the animal control agency that serves the area where the animal is located.


Is Your Dog Safe in Your Car?

Screen Shot 2019-08-15 at 4.36.09 PM
Cars have become more sophisticated, with many features designed to help keep drivers and passengers safe. But how safe is your dog when you drive in your car? CarRentals.com conducted a survey of drivers who have their dogs with them and discovered some surprising things. For example:

  • 47 percent of pet owners acknowledge it's dangerous to drive with an unrestrained dog in the car -- but they still do it
  • 71 percent of dog owners said they would use pet safety features -- if they were already built in to the car
  • 41 percent of dog owners who drive say their dog climbs into their lap while driving
  • 52 percent of drivers reach back to pet their dog while driving.

These are just some of the statistics -- but they clearly demonstrate that dog owners who drive with their dogs could stand to exercise more caution. Thankfully, CarRentals.com also provides very helpful information about how to drive safely with your dog. They discuss safety restraints, driving tips and what to do in case of an accident. Read their free guide here: https://www.carrentals.com/blog/car-safety-for-dogs/


Do You Have a Disaster Plan for Your Dog?

High-water-3063989_1920Hurricanes and floods are a reality of summer and fall in the Carolina mountains. The ASPCA offers some good advice about disaster planning for dog owners:

Ready Your Dog

  • Make sure your dog is wearing ID tags with your most up-to-date contact information.
  • Microchip your dog as a more permanent form of identification—in case collars or tags come off.
  • Train your dog to feel comfortable going into a crate with regular in-crate sessions with treats.
  • Always bring pets indoors at the first sign or warning of a storm or disaster. Pets can become disoriented and wander away from home in a crisis.

Prepare Your Home

  • Ideally, you should evacuate with your pet, but if you are unable to do so, a rescue alert sticker placed near your front door will let first responders know that you have a dog inside your home.
  • If sheltering in place, consider these things when choosing your safe room:
    • Be aware of hazards such as windows, flying debris, etc.
    • Utility rooms, bathrooms and unfinished basements may be easier to clean if your pet has an accident.
    • Having a supply of fresh water is particularly important. In areas that may lose electricity, fill up bathtubs and sinks ahead of time to ensure that you have access to water during a power outage or other crises.
    • In the event of flooding, go to the highest location in your home, or a room that has access to counters or high shelves where your animals can take shelter.

Create an Emergency Kit

  • Obtain a crate that comfortably fits your dog, write your dog’s name and your contact information on a piece of duct tape and stick it on the outside of the crate in case you become separated from your dog.
  • Make a portable emergency kit that includes the following:
    • Medical records
    • Water (7 days’ worth of bottled)
    • Water bowls
    • Pet food (3-7 days’ worth of canned food with pop tops or dry food)
    • Pet’s medications
    • Pet first aid kit
    • Dish soap and disinfectant
    • Disposable garbage bags for cleanup
    • Extra collar, harness and leash
    • Flashlight
    • Blanket
    • Recent photos of your dog (hard copy in case your phone dies)
    • Toys

Consider putting the kit inside the crate and storing near an exit.

Image: Pixabay.com


Alert: Is Your Dog Food Linked to Canine Heart Disease?

Urgent alertThe latest scare regarding dog food concerns products that most dog owners think of as healthier: grain-free dog food.

A current investigation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is studying the effect of grain-free dog food on a condition called Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM). According to the FDA:

"In July 2018, the FDA announced that it had begun investigating reports of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs eating certain pet foods, many labeled as "grain-free," which contained a high proportion of peas, lentils, other legume seeds (pulses), and/or potatoes in various forms (whole, flour, protein, etc.) as main ingredients (listed within the first 10 ingredients in the ingredient list, before vitamins and minerals). Many of these case reports included breeds of dogs not previously known to have a genetic predisposition to the disease. The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) and the Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network (Vet-LIRN), a collaboration of government and veterinary diagnostic laboratories, continue to investigate this potential association. Based on the data collected and analyzed thus far, the agency believes that the potential association between diet and DCM in dogs is a complex scientific issue that may involve multiple factors.

"We understand the concern that pet owners have about these reports: the illnesses can be severe, even fatal, and many cases report eating “grain-free” labeled pet food. The FDA is using a range of science-based investigative tools as it strives to learn more about this emergence of DCM and its potential link to certain diets or ingredients."

Certain brands of grain-free dog food seem to be more suspect than others. There is a lot more information about this from the FDA here: https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/news-events/fda-investigation-potential-link-between-certain-diets-and-canine-dilated-cardiomyopathy


Got a Cold? Keep Your Meds Away from Your Dog

Allergy-18656_1920It's cold and flu season, so you may need some medications to relieve your symptoms. But if you're a dog owner, you likely don't think about the fact that cold and flu medications can be harmful to your dog.

The ASPCA Poison Control Center offers some helpful advice about cold medications that can be dangerous to your dog. Included on the list are:

  • Cough drops
  • Pseudoephedrine
  • Dextromethorphan
  • NSAIDS
  • Ibuprofen
  • Antibiotics
  • Eye drops

Read this important article if you use any of the above medications: https://www.aspcapro.org/resource/dangers-treatment-options-cold-flu-medications

Image: Pixabay


Health Alert for the Holiday Season

StuartMiles-fdpGetting into the holiday spirit often means imbibing alcoholic drinks and baking holiday goodies. Well it turns out that both of those human actions have largely unknown risks to your pet.

Read this important health alert from the ASPCA. While it is written for animal care professionals, it has valuable information for dog owners. Use the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center as a resource for questions about any substances your pet may ingest.

Alcoholic drinks and yeast dough both have the potential to cause toxicity in pets, and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center notes that pets seem to find both quite palatable.

Even though signs you’ll see from the ethanol are the same for both exposures, there can be some differences in the onset of clinical signs as well as some additional concerns.

Palatable Poison

Many dogs (and some cats) will happily lap up a cocktail that is left on the table. Parties are a very common time for pets to get into alcohol as drinks are often left unattended. The onset of action with alcoholic beverages is typically fast (within 30 minutes, potentially faster with higher dosages).

The opportunity for emesis with alcohol is often very short and is not recommended in symptomatic pets. 

Rising yeast dough (such as bread, roll, and pizza dough) is often seen as a tasty snack by pets. The yeast ferments the carbohydrates in the dough, producing carbon dioxide and ethanol. Unfortunately, this process continues in the warm, damp environment of a dog or cat’s stomach as well.

Treatment for Dough Ingestion

There are a couple of special considerations for bread dough that you won’t see when pets get into alcoholic drinks. The amount of dough ingested can be an issue. You can potentially see food bloat or even GDV, especially considering that the stomach can be distended with carbon dioxide.

With bread dough, you may see excellent emesis results (often the 1 pound dough will come up in a single lump, (though there are some cases with little to no recovery of the dough with emesis). When good emesis results are obtained, there will be a much faster resolution of clinical signs.

The onset of clinical signs is much more variable with yeast dough than alcoholic drinks – it can potentially take hours to see signs of intoxication.   

Results of Ethanol Ingestion

Ethanol intoxication from either dough or drinks can cause ataxia, depression, recumbency, hypothermia, disorientation, vocalization, acidosis, tachycardia, dyspnea, aspiration pneumonia, tremors, coma and seizures.

Treatment is largely supportive and symptomatic. Aspiration is common, so antiemetics are indicated. Airway protection may also be indicated in some cases. Monitor acid base status and correct acidosis, fluid therapy for support, monitor for hypoglycemia and supplement dextrose as needed. Diazepam can be given for seizures – and some comatose pets will need ventilatory support.

Image: Stuart Miles, Freedigitalphotos.net


Can Your Dog Get Water Intoxication?

Screen Shot 2018-07-02 at 1.38.49 PM
You're probably familiar with the concept of intoxication when it applies to humans who have to much to drink. Interestingly enough, intoxication is possible in dogs as well -- but it happens when they drink too much water.

Water intoxication is not common, but it is more possible during the summer months. This is when dogs tend to drink a lot of water to keep cool. They also could ingest large quantities of water when they are swimming or playing in streams, ponds and lakes. It is even possible to ingest water when playing with a garden hose.

TopDogTips.com has a handy infographic about water intoxication that details the risks, symptoms, and consequences of water intoxication. It also contains tips for prevention and home treatment, and it includes other water-related dangers for dogs.

You'll find the Water Intoxication infographic here: https://topdogtips.com/water-intoxication-in-dogs/


Top Four Toxic Items Dogs Ingest on July 4

Dog-2723108_640According to the ASPCA, there are four items that lead the list of toxic items ingested by dogs on July 4:

  1. Fireworks
  2. Certain foods
  3. Lawn products
  4. Pool chemicals

We often give our dogs credit for being intelligent in so many ways -- but when it comes to substances, most dogs will eat just about anything if they are curious or hungry. They can also be exposed to toxic substances unwittingly; for example, many products that you commonly apply to your lawn may be harmful to your pets.

For more information about the top four July 4 dangerous items, download the ASPCA flyer at the link below.

Download ASPCATop4July4

 

 


Tracking Your Dog with GPS

ID-10014990When it comes to getting directions, GPS on your smartphone is a given. What you may not know is that GPS is now becoming common for tracking dogs. There are numerous GPS dog trackers available on the market today; in fact, the choices can be bewildering. Here is some basic information about why tracking your dog with GPS makes sense, courtesy of TeletracNavman (and thanks to blog reader Natalie for pointing us to this resource):

  • 40 percent of dogs are startled by loud or unexpected noise. This "noise anxiety" can cause dogs to become frightened and bolt. A GPS tracker can help you find a frightened pet quickly.
  • When a dog goes missing and you aren't home, it could be hours before you take action. Some GPS trackers can notify you as soon as it happens.
  • A GPS tracker is your best friend when you are traveling with your dog. When you or your dog are unfamiliar with an area, it can lead to trouble.
  • If your dog likes to chase animals, cars or moving objects, a GPS tracker can help you track him down.  

TeletracNavman offers several other reasons for GPS tracking, plus a comprehensive list of helpful articles about losing a pet. You can find this resource here: https://www.teletracnavman.com/gps-fleet-tracking-education/tracking-your-dog-with-gps

Image: Simon Howden, Freedigitalphotos.net


April 8 is National Dogfighting Awareness Day

ID-100271616It is difficult for dog lovers in the Carolina mountains to believe, but dogfighting is going on right here in North Carolina. That's why the ASPCA has declared April 8 "National Dogfighting Awareness Day." According to the ASPCA:

"Dogfighting is one of the most monstrous forms of animal cruelty. Forcing animals to maul each other for entertainment or profit has no place in our society.

"We’re constantly working to pass stronger laws to deter and address this abuse—dogfighting is a felony nationwide, but stiff penalties are only one piece of the puzzle. We also need to ensure that dogs rescued from fighting can be rehabilitated and rehomed quickly. Passage of the HEART (Help Extract Animals from Red TapeAct will reduce unnecessary delays in the rehoming of victims rescued in federal cases."

The ASPCA is asking all dog lovers to sign a petition to the U.S. Department of Justice to support passage of HEART. You can sign it here: https://secure.aspca.org/take-action/tell-the-department-of-justice-have-a-heart-on-animal-fighting

For additional information about dogfighting and what you can do to stop it, visit: 
https://www.aspca.org/news/what-dog-fighting-and-what-can-you-do-stop-it

Image: Patrisyu, freedigitalphotos.net


Cold Weather Pet Safety

ID-10034507Keeping your dog safe during winter weather takes some common sense and preparation. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has several excellent tips for pet owners in the article, "Cold Weather Pet Safety."

Among the tips shared by the AVMA are the following:

Know the limits:  Just like people, pets’ cold tolerance can vary from pet to pet based on their coat, body fat stores, activity level, and health. Be aware of your pet’s tolerance for cold weather, and adjust accordingly. You will probably need to shorten your dog’s walks in very cold weather to protect you both from weather-associated health risks. Arthritic and elderly pets may have more difficulty walking on snow and ice and may be more prone to slipping and falling.

Check the paws: Check your dog’s paws frequently for signs of cold-weather injury or damage, such as cracked paw pads or bleeding. During a walk, a sudden lameness may be due to an injury or may be due to ice accumulation between his/her toes. You may be able to reduce the chance of iceball accumulation by clipping the hair between your dog’s toes.

Provide shelter: We don’t recommend keeping any pet outside for long periods of time, but if you are unable to keep your dog inside during cold weather, provide him/her with a warm, solid shelter against wind. Make sure that they have unlimited access to fresh, non-frozen water (by changing the water frequently or using a pet-safe, heated water bowl). The floor of the shelter should be off of the ground (to minimize heat loss into the ground) and the bedding should be thick, dry and changed regularly to provide a warm, dry environment. The door to the shelter should be positioned away from prevailing winds. Space heaters and heat lamps should be avoided because of the risk of burns or fire. Heated pet mats should also be used with caution because they are still capable of causing burns.

Read all the tips in this helpful article here: https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/Cold-weather-pet-safety.aspx

Image: Photostock, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 


Dog Bite Prevention Week: May 15 - 21

Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 2.49.42 PM
This is National Dog Bite Prevention Week, and it's a good time to make sure you and your family are practicing safety when it comes to your dog and others. Believe it or not, more than 4,500,000 people in the United States are bitten by dogs in a year.

We are providing an interesting, informative infographic about dog bites and dog bite prevention, courtesy of UltimateHomeLife.com

You can see it here: http://ultimatehomelife.com/dog-bite-prevention-week-2016-may-15-may-21/