While this expression holds some meaning for us as pet owners, our dogs and cats, on the other hand, tend to disregard any ‘holier than though’ lectures about this statement. While in many cases, cats are considered more discerning when it comes to “things” that could ultimately cause harm, dogs often live in the moment! As such, we need to be acutely aware of the many things that our furry friends will put in their mouths. As the spring approaches, changes in weather, holidays, and some federal legislation will offer some increased challenges.
The weather part is easy to figure. Our cats that have been curled up inside for the long winter are now venturing out again. Our dogs are discovering many things that have been buried under all that snow, and sometimes burying it doesn’t make it better in the long run. Living things that have died and rotted carry many bacteria, that while not deadly can give our pets some pretty good bouts of vomiting and diarrhea. New plants that start to spring up are especially tempting to cats and can indeed cause the same, and some are toxic and lead to further complications. As it warms further, the inevitable ingestion of internal parasites becomes a concern. Routine deworming programs will handle those parasite issues. Good close communication with your veterinarian will help sort out the simple gut issues from the ones that need more extensive medical therapy.
With holidays come treats and wrappings. Cats love anything in a line – string, ribbon, elastics. Dogs tend to want the treats, i.e. candy, chocolate, and anything else sweet that happens to be around.
PREVENTION is the BEST thing for the cat eating those straight pieces of stuff. It may seem impossible as you clean the box and see fragments of elastic bands or similar and realize the little gem has outsmarted you again. Fear not – you can only do what you can do. Our dogs, on the other hand, are much more upfront about eating the sweets and leave lots of wrappers around to attest to the consumption. Gather as much info as you can about what it was, the amounts, your dog’s weight and possible time of ingestion. Call your veterinarian as soon as possible. Many of these things are more of an annoyance than anything, but some are very dangerous given the right circumstances. As we are no doubt aware, legislation to legalize marijuana is fast approaching. Already it has led to many cases of toxic ingestion, mostly in dogs, in our practice.
This is not about support or against the legalization of marijuana. The increased use and the many different presentations becoming available including edibles that dogs readily will consume calls for increased diligence on behalf of pet owners. If ingestion of such is a possibility, please let us as the veterinary team know. We are not regulating the use or cooperating with the authorities. Our goal is to aid in the correct treatment for your pet and ultimate healthy recovering. If we know what we are up against, it becomes more likely for a successful outcome.
Please pick up the phone and call, text, or email to your veterinary team, to get as educated as you can about such things. We are there to help your relationship with your furry friend be as long and as uneventful as it can be. Have a great spring!
Written by Dr. Tim Blatt, DVM