Pet Poisoning: What To Do In An Emergency

Photo by nightthree

Speaking of holiday plants that are poisonous for your dog, here are 10 very useful tips from a vet on what to do in case of accidental pet poisoning. A sampling:

1-Keep the pet poison control number handy. If you live in the US, the ASPCA’s Poison Control Center is the organization most veterinarians are comfortable with. The center charges $60 per phone call (and it’s well worth it). Keep the number handy or simply bookmark the home page for easy reference.

2-If you suspect poisoning from a specific substance, pick up the remnants of the toxin, the box, the bottle and anything associated with it. Keep this “evidence” handy so you can answer your veterinarian or poison control’s detailed questions.

3-Attempt to ascertain how much of the substance could have been ingested. Think worst-case scenario for safety’s sake.


6-NEVER induce vomiting or administer home remedies for poisonings without talking to a trained individual first. I’ve seen seizuring pets die from ill-advised milk and oil administration. Caustic compounds can damage sensitive anatomic structures on their way back up. It’s best to let a professional do these things—or at least walk you through them.


8-When you’ve determined that the poison your pet ingested requires veterinary attention, my preferred approach—whether it be Tylenol, plants or toilet bowl cleaner—is to open up a file with the ASPCA’s Poison Control Center. You can do this on your way to the hospital (or when you called to determine whether the toxin required medical attention).

(This service costs no more than the $60 phone call. Whether the poison control’s toxicologists need to be in constant contact with your vet for two weeks or tell you your pet will be fine, the fee is the same.)

Poison control will advise your veterinarian as to the best course of treatment: induce vomiting or not, fluids or not, charcoal or not, antidotes, labwork, surgery, etc. I cannot say enough about the value of this service. There’s no better way to treat a poisoning patient than by the poison control’s books, IMO.

Interestingly, this is something not every vet knows about. But YOU can take control of your pet’s care by initiating this clinical interaction. I think it’s especially helpful when sending my patients to the ER. I know they’ll get great care when the poison control’s on the line.


Your Monday Morning Dog Zen

Photo by Toronja Azul

It's Monday morning, so off to work we go! Well, mostly you go. I, being the adorable Chihuahua puppy that I am, get to sleep in late.

But not to worry; I promise to dream of you.

Top Five Holiday Plants That Are Poisonous For Your Dog

'Tis the season for joy, celebration and decoration, family gatherings and great festive meals. But just because something sparkles, looks great, or -- oh who are we kidding! -- tastes divine, doesn't mean it's not dangerous if your dog gets a hold of it and eats it.

These five holiday plants can be deadly if ingested by your dog:

1. Christmas tree

2. Poinsettia

3. Mistletoe

4. Holly

5. Amaryllis, Narcissus, Daffodil

And, although not a plant, let's not forget this other holiday danger for your dog:

6. Chocolate

One more thing. Make sure not to miss the alert at the end of the linked article about the dangers of potpourri from India.

New York Tails

Photo by Paul Keleher

Just what every New York City pet dog, cat, and impish chinchilla need, New York Tails, a magazine dedicated to them:

“I got my ear to the ground,” said Diane West, the magazine’s founder and publisher, who is also a freelance medical writer. She described how “a small ragtag bunch of pet-loving New Yorkers had a dream, reached out to the best pet writers in their respective fields, and put together an all-volunteer local magazine.”


“Just because they are animals living in a jungle of concrete and steel does not mean they cannot have a good quality of life,” said Bob Marino, who is on the magazine’s editorial board and is president of the New York Council of Dog Owner Groups, whose Web site is NYCdog.org (“nice dog”).

Another contributor to the magazine is Carole Wilbourn, a cat therapist known as the Kitty Freud, who writes the Cat Chat column. There is even a gossip page, Tails About Town, which is put together by Beth Joy Knutsen and her dog, Bella Starlet, whom she calls a diva and who accompanies her on red carpet events. An image of the pooch is tattooed on Ms. Knutsen’s ankle.

“This year more than ever, I want to sink our teeth into controversial issues,” Ms. West told her staff during their meeting at an apartment on the Upper East Side. They discussed pets and housing, feral cats living near Kennedy International Airport and pet obituaries. The last issue included an obituary of Sinatra, a spirited chocolate standard poodle who was struck by a car in Central Park, and another for Loki, a short-tailed opossum, which stated, “We met in August of 2004 at Marc Morrone’s pet store in Long Island, and it was love at first sight.”

A Dog, a Cat, and a Parakeet Go Into a Psychologist's Office

Photo by FlyNutAA

Do you love dogs, cats, and other pets? Are you worried about the current economic crisis and its effect on your finances? If so, here's a great way to make your love of animals work for you. Consider a career as a pet psychologist, one of six top hot new careers:

Once the local vet has ruled out physical ailments that can contribute to rude pet behavior, people who love their animals may need to call in a trained, certified behaviorist or pet psychologist. As with human patients, pets can be analyzed and taught to act contrary to destructive impulses. There are even certified applied animal behaviorists. To get into the field, you'll need a master's or doctorate degree in psychology, preferably with additional work in zoology and animal behavior. Salaries vary greatly by locale, but can be upwards of $90,000 a year.