Pet Safety & Emergency Preparedness
Food and Poisons
There are many substances that your pet can ingest that will make them sick, some of which can even be fatal.
Things that your pet should NOT eat or drink include:
- Food high in fat
- Xylitol – found in gum and some peanut butter brands
- Macadamia Nuts
- Dairy products
Animal Medical Care strongly encourages you to keep your pet on a pet-food only diet. Not only does it provide the best nutrition, it also helps keep your pet safe.
Poisons should be kept far away from your pets. Common sources of poisons include:
- Rodenticides and insecticides
- Antifreeze, bleach, cleaning products
- Certain plants, including azaleas, daffodils and tulips, sago palms, and lilies
- Prescription and over-the-counter medications
If you suspect that your pet has ingested any of these foods, plants, or other products, contact Animal Medical Care to receive prompt treatment.
In the heat of summer, pets are at risk for heat stroke, which can lead to permanent organ damage or death. Cats and dogs are not able to sweat and can have difficulty cooling off during the hotter months, so be sure to take a number of steps to keep them cool:
- Provide cool water
- Ensure access to rooms that do not get much sunlight
- Exercise pets during the morning or evening, when it is cooler
- Provide outdoor shelter from the sun
- Do not leave pets in a car
If your pet appears to be overheating, bring it indoors, provide cool water and apply cool, moist towels to its fur. Do not use ice water, as extremely cold water can cause blood vessels to constrict and hinder cooling. If symptoms are severe or don’t rapidly improve, contact AMC immediately for emergency treatment.
Wind, snow, and ice during winter months also pose a danger to dogs and cats. The easiest way to protect them is to keep them indoors as much as possible. Staying warm consumes energy, so make sure that your pets have a little extra food and water.
Keep outdoor exercise brief and do it during the warmest part of the afternoon. Outdoor cats may seek warmth in the underbellies of cars. Before you start your engine, bang loudly on your hood and peek underneath the vehicle to make sure it's all clear.
Be sure to keep a watchful eye on your pets during the extreme temperatures of the year. If your pet appears to be affected by the temperatures, please contact Animal Medical Care to receive immediate attention.
Animal Medical Care wants you to be prepared in the event of an emergency. In all situations, keep your pet as quiet and calm as possible and keep it warm with a blanket or towel. Check for the three A, B, C’s of first aid:
A - Airway:
If your pet’s airway is obstructed, do your best to clear any obstruction. Be careful, your pet may panic and bite you.
B - Breathing:
If your pet does not appear to be breathing, try gently pumping the chest with the palm of your hand while feeling behind the elbow for a heartbeat or pulse. Close your pet’s mouth with your hand and blow into the nostrils by covering your pet’s nose with your mouth.
C - Cardiac function:
If you cannot detect a heartbeat or pulse, try pressing on the chest with your palm five times and then blowing 1-2 deep breaths through your pet’s nose.
Although you should always contact Animal Medical Care (or Animal Emergency after hours) if your pet shows signs of distress, the following tips can help you help your pet until you can seek treatment.
First, follow A, B, and C above. If the bleeding is severe, try to stop it by applying a bandage. Most bleeding wounds require medical or surgical treatment within 4 hours to reduce the risk of infection and complications.
Burns and scalds:
Apply cold water to the area as quickly as possible. Cover the area with damp, cold towels. If the burn is from exposure to a caustic substance, rinse with cold water for fifteen minutes.
Try to remove any foreign body by gentling rinsing the eye with eye wash or contact saline solution.
Place your pet in a dark, quiet, confined area and immediately contact AMC. Seizures can be caused for many reasons, including eclampsia (where puppies get milk fever from their mother) and epilepsy.
Signs of heat stroke include excessive panting, which can be followed by coma and death. Reduce your pet’s body temperature as quickly as possible with cool water. Avoid using ice or ice water but keep the pet wet while in transport to the vet.