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6 Foods That Are Toxic to Dogs

Posted on: March 19th, 2014 by

Six foods that are toxic to dogs: chocolate, onions, grapes and raisins, caffeine, macadamia nuts, and xylitol.

By: Dr. Eva Evans, a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best, a dog insurance and cat insurance agency.

We all know that dogs love people food. However, some common human food is dangerous and downright deadly to dogs. If you notice that your dog has possibly eaten any of the following foods, make sure to have him or her seen by a veterinarian immediately!

1. Chocolate

This is the most common toxic food that pets ingest. Chocolate contains two compounds that are toxic to dogs: theobromine and caffeine which will be discussed later. The toxins cause upset stomach which may be visualized as vomiting and diarrhea.  At high doses, dogs may show neurological signs such as seizures, weakness and coma. Dogs can also experience life threatening arrhythmias, or abnormal heart beats. The darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains and the more toxic it is. Treatment includes inducing vomiting (if your dog has eaten the chocolate within the last two hours), administering activated charcoal and giving high volumes of intravenous (IV) fluids. With treatment, most dogs who ingest chocolate will live.

2. Xylitol

This is a sugar substitute that is used in many “sugar free” human products including candy, chewing gum and toothpaste. This chemical causes a very dramatic release of insulin in dogs within 30 minutes of ingestion. This abnormal insulin release can cause dangerous hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Signs include weakness, seizures and coma. If your dog survives this initial episode of hypoglycemia, they can develop liver failure in the days following ingestion. Treatment includes inducing vomiting, IV fluids with added dextrose (sugar) if your dog’s blood sugar is low, and monitoring liver values for several days after ingestion. If your dog develops liver damage from ingesting xylitol, other medications and blood work may be necessary.

3. Grapes and raisins

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Dog Breed Guide: Chihuahua

Posted on: March 17th, 2014 by

ChihuahuaBy Dr. Marc, a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best, a dog insurance and cat insurance agency.

About the Chihuahua

Height (to base of neck): 6-10″

Weight: 4-10 lbs

Color: Many accepted colors, including white, black, and tan.

Origin: Mexico.

Coat: Smooth or long haired.

Life Expectancy: 15-20 years

Energy level: Low to moderate

Exercise needs: Minimal

Is a Chihuahua the Right Dog Breed for You?

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2 Reasons Cats’ Eyes Glow in the Dark

Posted on: March 14th, 2014 by

cat eyesBy Arden Moore, a certified cat and dog behaviorist with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. Arden is an author, radio host, and writer for Pets Best, a cat insurance and dog insurance agency.

I was asked the following question by a cat owner, “When I walk around my house at night in dimly lit rooms, sometimes I get spooked a bit when I see my cat. Precious is a sweet Siamese cat, but at night, her eyes seem to glow red in the dark, giving off a devilish look…What causes her eyes to glow red at night?”

Good question. Your cat’s large, round eyes are designed to operate far better in low light conditions and the dark than our eyes. As hunters who are active at dawn and dusk – the best times for them to stalk prey – cats can actually see as well in pitch black as we can see in full moonlight. Here are two reasons cats’ eyes glow in the dark.

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5 Dog & Cat Poisons Lurking Around Home

Posted on: March 12th, 2014 by

The sago palm can be poisonous to dogs and cats.

By Dr. Eva Evans, a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best, a pet insurance agency for dogs and cats.

We all know that chocolate is toxic to dogs, and there are many other human food items that can cause serious illness and death in our canine and feline companions. However, some of the most dangerous toxicities to pets are actually not food related. Be sure to watch out for these dangerous toxins in our everyday environment to keep your pets safe.

1. Ethylene Glycol (Antifreeze)

Antifreeze has long been known as a very dangerous toxin. Dogs and cats that live outside or have access to the garage are particularly susceptible to coming in contact with ethylene glycol. In addition, certain brands have a sweet taste that animals find irresistible. Antifreeze affects the kidneys by forming deadly crystals inside the renal tubules and destroying the kidneys. Signs soon after ingestion include weakness, vomiting and animals acting “drunk” or intoxicated. Pets usually develop severe kidney failure in 1-2 days. If you notice that your pet has ingested ANY amount of anti-freeze, you should take them to your veterinarian immediately. Without treatment, almost all animals will die. Treatment includes large volumes of intravenous (IV) fluids for several days as well as medication to help the kidneys excrete the toxin as quickly as possible.

2. Sago Palm

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Dog Breed Guide: Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie)

Posted on: March 10th, 2014 by

Shetland Sheepdog

By Dr. Marc, a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best, a pet insurance agency for dogs and cats.

About the Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie)

Height (to base of neck): 13-16″

Weight: 16-20 lbs

Color: Sable, tri-colored, bi-black/blue, merle, double merle, and color headed white.

Origin: Scotland.

Coat: Long double coat.

Life Expectancy: 12-13 years

Energy level: High

Exercise needs: High

Is a Shetland Sheepdog the Right Dog Breed for You?

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