Many homes have a variety of indoor plants. Not only are they beautiful, but they also increase oxygen levels, decrease dry skin and remove toxins from the air. During the holidays and other occasions, plants like holly, mistletoe and poinsettias are festive and add a splash to holiday decor.
But did you know that these indoor plants as well as an assortment of others could make your cat sick?
Before bringing new indoor plants into your home, it is important to learn which plants could potentially harmful to your pets.
In the spirit of pet safety and the best interest of our loved fur-babies (cats and dogs), we have provided the 6 commonly purchased indoor plants that are poisonous to pets and recommend you avoid having them indoors.
National Indoor Plant – Week Sept. 15th – 19th
Holly – Common names of the holly plant are English Holly, European Holly, Oregon Holly, Inkberry, Winterberry and American Holly. The Scientific name for Holly is Ilex opaca and it comes from the Aquifoliaceae plant family. Holly plants are toxic to cats, dogs and horses because of the “saponins” found in the plant roots.
Clinical Signs of Illness may include: Vomiting, diarrhea and depression. Leaves and berries found on the Holly plant are low in toxicity.
Mistletoe – American Mistletoe is a staple in the holiday season. To kiss a loved one “under the mistletoe.” Tis the season to keep your pets safe. The “American Mistletoe” plant is toxic to dogs and cats as well as horses. What makes this plant toxic are the Toxalbumin, pharatoxin, viscumin present in the seeds. The Scientific names for Mistletoe are Phoradendron & Flavescens. This plant comes from the Viscaceae family.
Signs of Illness from Mistletoe poisoning may include: Cardiovascular collapse, dyspnea, bradycardia, erratic behavior, gastrointestinal disorders, vomiting, diarrhea and rarely-low blood pressure.
Poinsettias – A very common house plant that grows well indoors or outside is the beautiful poinsettias. This plant’s leaves carry Irritant Sap which is deemed poisonous to cats, dogs and if injested even children are susceptible to illness. The Scientific name for Poinsettias is Euphorbia pulcherrima. This plant comes from the Euphorbiaceae family.
Clinical Signs of Illness may include: Irritation to the mouth, vomiting and upset stomach.
Cyclamen – Also referred to as Sowbread has pretty flower pedals in a pink and red shade. This plant is deemed toxic to both cats and dogs. Its Scientific name is Cyclamen spp. This plant is in the Primulaceae family. Toxic principles of the plant are the terpenoid saponins found in its roots.
Clinical Symptoms of Illness include: Salivation, vomiting and diarrhea. Systemic fatal abnormalities may include heart rhythm off-beat, seizures and possibly death.
Dieffenbachia – Comes from the plant family Araceae. This plant is toxic to dogs and cats. What makes it a toxic plant for pets is Insoluable calcium oxalates and proteolytic enzymes. Common names for the Dieffenbachia plant include: Charming Dieffenbachia, Giant Dumb Cane, Tropic Snow, Dumbcane, Exotica, Spotted Dumb Cane and/or Exotica Perfection. The Scientific name is Dieffenbachia.
Clinical Signs and Symptoms may include: Oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of the mouth, tongue, lips. Signs may also include: excessive drooling, vomiting and difficulty swallowing.
Philodendron – Comes from the plant family Araceae. This plant is toxic to dogs and cats. What makes it toxic is Calcium oxalate crystals. The Scientific names for Philodendron is Philodendron spp.
Clinical Signs of Symptoms include: Oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of the mouth, tongue, lips. Signs may also include: excessive drooling, vomiting and difficulty swallowing.
If you suspect your dog or cat is ill from eating a toxic plant, contact your veterinarian immediately. You can also call the Pet Poison Hotline at www.petpoisonhelpline.com or call 800-213-6680 for more information. To learn more about toxic and non-toxic plants for dogs and cats, the American Society for the Prevention and Cruelty of Animals (ASPCA) has a comprehensive list.
For more information regarding all indoor/outdoor plants that may be harmful to your pets click here.
Having a Happy Cat, Every Day
By Sandy Robins
September is Happy Cat month. Again, I wonder about these designated events since every day of every month should be about keeping your cat happy.
The best way to make your cat happy is to ensure she really feels comfortable in your Home—everywhere and every day. While cats might love to snooze in a favorite chair and on the bed in the spot where their owners usually lie, they still need a designated place in the home to call their very own.
Cats love vertical space because it gives them an opportunity to survey their world and look down on you. The Answer to the question of how to this is a tall cat condo. They usually have small bases so they don’t take up too much space. To meet a cat’s innate needs the condo should provide some privacy, a place to hide and snooze, a lookout zone platform and a place to scratch.
Where possible, position the condo near a window so your cat can enjoy a range of visual entertainment, from birds and butterflies in the garden to passersby (both human and non) and street activity.
Home comforts also include ensuring that your cat’s bed is not placed near a draughty door or window. This is particularly important during the colder months and is especially so for older cats. You should also move the bed around from time to time—it’s like providing your cat with a new place to sleep.
It’s equally important to hone your kitty’s Pounce and Prey skills by providing a variety of toys, from wands to puzzles to catnip-filled comfort toys. Exercise provides both mental and physical stimulation and is essential to weight control (a fat cat is not a happy cat, health-wise). Our cats are not supposed to be couch potatoes but active hunters of prey.
You also need to get your cat’s groom on. While cats are efficiently self-cleaners, those who live safely indoors shed year-round and tend to need extra help. So do elderly cats; their reduced mobility often means they can no longer efficiently groom their nether regions.
For grooming to become routine, you need to find grooming tools your cat is comfortable with you using. Some prefer mitts with rubber knobs to remove fur instead of a slicker brush. In addition, a de-shedding tool is a must-have to get rid of thick undercoat and to prevent matting.
Let your cat dictate where she likes to be groomed, whether it’s the kitchen counter or on your lap. Grooming is a great way to spend quality time with your favorite cat and is a great way of enhancing the human-animal bond.
Lastly, don’t forget that above all else, make sure you always give Your cat plenty of purr-inducing attention every day.
About the Author: Sandy Robins is the 2013 winner of the “Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contribution to the Pet Industry Award.” Her work appears on many of the country’s leading pet platforms, such as MSNBC.com, MSN.com and TODAYShow.com. She is a regular contributor and columnist in multiple national and international publications, including Cat Fancy, as well as the author of the award-winning books “Fabulous Felines: Health and Beauty Secrets for the Pampered Cat” and “For The Love of Cats.” Learn more about Sandy on her website or Facebook page. #welovecats
Older Pets Rule!
By Lisa King
If you’re in the market for a cat or dog, why not consider an older pet? There are many advantages to passing over those irresistible puppies and kittens and taking a closer look at mature cats and dogs.
Most people who go to shelters are looking for younger pets. In fact, pets over the age of five have a difficult time getting adopted, even if they’re far from elderly. These animals have so much to offer, but they tend to get passed over. Here are just a few reasons to take home an adult or senior pet.
- You know what size the pet will be, since he’s full grown. With mixed-breed puppies, adult size is always a guessing game.
- It’s easier to assess the pet’s temperament accurately since his personality is fully developed. Shelter staff can tell you whether the dog or cat you’re interested in likes to cuddle, is kid-friendly, or will get along with your other pets.
- If you choose an adult dog, you’ll avoid the tedious process of house-training your puppy and attending puppy obedience classes, and usually won’t have to worry about chewing, digging or other destructive behaviors. Adult cats may already be trained not to scratch furniture.
- With both dogs and cats, you won’t need to puppy- or kitten-proof your home. Older dogs and cats tend to be less active and inquisitive.
- Older dogs and cats are easier to train since they are calmer and more able to focus than puppies and kittens. Remember that pets can be taught new tricks at any age. Most older dogs already know how to walk on a leash and obey simple commands.
- A dog or cat who has lived in a home with people before is better socialized and more adaptable. They have better manners than young pets and know what’s expected of them.
- Bringing a mellow older pet into a home with existing pets is far less disruptive than bringing home a rambunctious kitten or puppy, especially if the pets you already have are older, too.
- An older pet can be left alone all day while you’re at work. They don’t need close supervision as a puppy or kitten would. They are usually happy to entertain themselves or doze away the day.
- If you’re elderly yourself, you’ll have a lot more in common with an older dog or cat who is low-key and doesn’t require strenuous exercise.
These animals are in shelters through no fault of their own. Owner-surrendered adult dogs and cats are usually the victim of circumstances, like a move to a no-pet home or a change in jobs, or a life event such as divorce, marriage, or a new baby. If you adopt an older pet, you not only acquire a loving and grateful companion, you save a life and reduce euthanasia, because older pets are the ones who are put down when they’ve overstayed their welcome at crowded shelters.
You might be concerned that an older pet will end up costing you a fortune at the vet. Before you adopt, get a veterinary report that details the pet’s issues. The shelter should be able to provide you with one. Some agencies offer assistance with vet bills for a periods of time after adoption, so ask at the shelter or rescue where you adopt your pet. Keep in mind that your adult pet won’t need spaying, neutering or puppy or kitten shots.
There will be an adjustment period for any new pet you bring home. While some pets move right in as if they’ve always lived with you, others take time to adapt to new surroundings. This is especially true if the pet has been in the shelter for any length of time, which is a very stressful experience. Be patient and loving and things will work themselves out.
About the Author: Lisa King is a freelance writer living in Southern California. She is the former managing editor of Pet Product News International, Dogs USA, and Natural Dog magazines. Lisa is also the author of the well-received murder mystery novel “Death in a Wine Dark Sea” and the recently released “Vulture au Vin.”
Houseplant Awareness: Which Ones Are Safe and Which Ones Are Not for Your Pets
By Audrey Pavia
The month of September plays host to National Indoor Plant Week, which runs from the 21st through the 27th. If you love nature, chances are you like to keep plants inside your house. Houseplants add softness and beauty to the home. But if you have pets, you need to be careful of which houseplants you choose. Some plants are toxic to dogs and cats, and can cause a variety of problems, from gastrointestinal irritation to death.
Although the following plants are beautiful, resist the temptation to keep them inside your house where your dog or cat might get to them:
- Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis)
- Amaryllis (Amaryllis sp.)
- Angel’s Trumpet (Datura innoxia)
- Angels’ wings (Caladium hortulanum)
- Azalea (Rhododendron sp.)
- Ceriman (Monstera deliciosa)
- Chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum indicum)
- Croton (Codiaeum variegatum)
- Crown-of-thorns (Euphorbia milii)
- Cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum)
- Devil’s Backbone (Kalanchoe daigremontiana)
- Dumb cane (Dieffenbachia sp.)
- English Ivy (Hedera helix)
- Flamingo lily (Anthurium andraeanum)
- Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)
- Jerusalem Cherry (Solanum pseudocapsicum)
- Kaffir Lily (Clivia miniata)
- Philodendron (Philodendron sp.)
- Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)
If you suspect your pet has ingested one of these plants, contact a veterinarian right away. Immediate symptoms will depend on the plant. Extremely toxic plants, such as Angel’s Trumpet, can cause lethargy, hyperactivity, vomiting, decreased gastrointestinal motility and constipation, dilated pupils, disorientation, tremors, seizures and respiratory depression. Less toxic plants, such as poinsettia, are likely to cause only mild reactions, such as drooling, lip licking, skin irritation, vomiting and diarrhea.
The good news is that plenty of attractive houseplants are fairly safe to keep around pets. Here are some suggestions:
- African Daisy (Dimorphotheca aurantiaca)
- African Violet (Saintpaulia ionantha)
- Aluminum Plant (Pilea spp.)
- Baby’s tears (Soleiria soleirolii)
- Golden Bamboo (Phyllostachys aurea)
- Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae)
- Bird’s Nest Fern (Asplenium nidus)
- Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)
- Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii)
- Coleus (Coleus hybridus)
- Echeveria (Echeveria spp.)
- Geraniums (Pelargonium spp.)
- Impatiens (Impatiens wallerana)
- Jade Plant (Crassula argentea)
- Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum spp.)
- Orchids (Paphiopedilum spp.)
- Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
- Wax Plant (Hoya carmosa)
- Zebra Plant (Aphelandra squarrosa)
While these plants are not considered harmful to pets if they eat them, keep in mind that any kind of foreign matter ingested by your pet might upset his stomach. You may see vomiting or diarrhea if your dog or cat decides to swallow a large enough amount plant material. Once the chewed up plant has left his system, he should be fine, with no lasting effects.
The best way to avoid having any issues with plants and your pet is to place them in areas where your dog or cat is unlikely to get at them. High windowsills make it hard for dogs—and some cats—to reach, and the extra sun is good for the plants.
For more information on toxic plants, or to get immediate help if you suspect your pet has eaten something poisonous, visit the Pet Poison Hotline at www.petpoisonhelpline.com or call 800-213-6680.
About the Author: Audrey Pavia is an award-winning freelance writer and author of “The Labrador Retriever Handbook.” She is a former staff editor of Dog Fancy, Dog World and The AKC Gazette magazines. To learn more about her work, visit www.audreypavia.com.
Holistic Therapy for Your Pets
By Stacy Mantle
When it comes to the health of our pets, we want to make sure they receive the best care. Natural-based care has been around for thousands of years and some of the newer treatments have found ways to combine traditional practices with modern medicine.
According to the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA), holistic (or integrative) veterinary medicine is “the examination and diagnosis of an animal, considering all aspects of the animal’s life and employing all of the practitioner’s senses, as well as the combination of conventional and alternative (or complementary) modalities of treatment.”
Please remember that none of these practices should be administered at home or without the supervision of a veterinarian certified in his or her practice. Treatments can be just as deadly as they are effective when used improperly. For information on any of these treatments or to locate a holistic veterinarian near you, visit American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association at http://www.ahvma.org/ Here are three alternative therapies you might want to consider exploring for your pets.
Low-level Laser Therapy
Low-level laser therapy is used by alternative-care practitioners as a way to ameliorate joint pain and treat soft-tissue injuries in pets. The theory behind the therapy is that at lower levels, the laser’s light can still stimulate cells and increase blood circulation, which can in turn reduce pain signals. Recent advances in this technology have made laser units available in most veterinary offices. This can be an effective treatment for dogs, cats and horses with arthritis, tendon damage, dysplasia and inflammatory joint or soft-tissue conditions.
For more information on laser therapy, both low- and high-level, visit the American Animal Hospital Association website.
When it comes to skin conditions and natural calmants, there are few things more effective than essential oils. Lavender and chamomile can be very calming when diffused into the air and oils such as rosemary and melaleuca can be very effective in treating skin conditions. However, oils can be very dangerous and should not be used on or around pets unless under the supervision of a veterinarian.
Oils come in a variety of purity levels, which are measured by therapeutic value. Generally, the more expensive the oil is, the higher its quality (though this is not always true). Only pure oils should be used around pets. When used correctly, essential oils can be an effective treatment for many different ailments in any species.
Acupuncture has been around for more than 3,500 years and over a quarter of the world’s population uses it today. This alternative treatment was developed in China and is most often used for treating pain. Traditional Chinese medicine believes that Chi, a vital force that flows throughout the body, travels along channels of energy flow called meridians. Small-gauge needs are inserted into specific pressure points along the meridians to release the flow of energy a disease has blocked. Acupuncture has been used for everything from blocking pain to stimulating appetite. Today, many holistic veterinarians and pet owners stand by the benefits of use on pets. If you or your pet has a natural aversion to needles, you may want to explore acupressure instead.
Whichever method of alternative therapy you choose to try on your pets; be certain you only rely on the advice of those well-trained in such matters. The Internet is rife with bad advice that can potentially cause further harm to your pets. In medical matters, it is always best to rely on veterinarians and those professionally trained in holistic practices.
About the Author: Stacy Mantle is the founder of PetsWeekly.com and the bestselling author of “Shepherd’s Moon.” Learn more great tips for living with animals by visiting PetsWeekly.com or get to know a little more about the author at www.StacyMantle.com
An Assortment of Must-have Items for Dogs & Cats
Puller, a new training toy from Collar, is designed to actively engage dogs and provide enough exercise in just 15 to 20 minutes to keep them happy and healthy. Made of lightweight, odorless polymer, the rings are soft to the bite yet strong enough to withstand daily use—and they float. Puller is available in two sizes: small and large. www.puller.com/usa/
New from the Jackson Galaxy Collection by Petmate, Go Fish™ is an interactive toy that encourages cats to work for their food. Simply sprinkle cat kibble or treats among the tails and watch as they fish them into the trough. The silicon tails rotate easily to continuously change the puzzle to up the challenge and are removable for cleaning. The round tray features a melamine base with rubber feet to limit excess movement and is dishwasher safe. www.petmate.com
Planet Dog has added a new crop of Carrots to its Orbee-Tuff® Produce dog toy line. The new Carrot joins the rest of the Produce collection—the Raspberry, Strawberry, Artichoke, and Eggplant. These durable toys are made in the USA and are doggie-durable, buoyant, bouncy, minty, recyclable, non-toxic and 100 percent guaranteed. As with the rest of the Produce line, the Carrot features a Treat-Spot® perfect for stuffing with tasty morsels for a well-balanced diet. www.planetdog.com
The Fish Wobble Cat Toy from the kathy ireland® Loved Ones Collection by Worldwise was created to draw your cat’s attention with everything she loves: catnip, feathers and unpredictable movements. The well-constructed toy is 2.75 x 3.75 x 4 inches in size and features a blue chevron design. www.worldwise.com
MiracleCare®QuickFinder® nail clippers now come in cool, vibrant colors: blue, purple and green. Featuring QuickSensor technology and a convenient on/off switch, the electronic clippers are fast, safe and easy-to-use. Designed for cats, small and medium size dogs, the clippersafely takes the fear out of nail clipping and projects a green light to let you know when it is safe to clip, yellow for caution, and red when it is not safe to clip by detecting the nail quick. www.miraclecorp.com
These handsome Melamine Bowls from the Wetnoz Collection by Petmate are based on the collection’s popular stainless-steel designs. Dishwasher safe and featuring a no-skid bottom, the bowls are ideal for cats and small dogs. They are available in Wetnoz bold basic colors: indigo, hibiscus, pear, sun, snow and night. www.petmate.com
SynergyLabs’ Dental Fresh® has reformulated four of its additive solutions to better focus on different oral care needs. Puppy features an all-new, safe and gentle formula that protects and strengthens a puppy’s developing teeth and young gums. Advanced Plaque & Tartar reduces plaque and tartar build-up around the teeth and gums plus protects against the advancement of moderate to severe periodontal issues when used as part of a daily oral health care regimen. Advanced Whitening reduces surface stains, reverses discoloration and eliminates bad breath odor when used daily. Enhanced Flavor for Cats has an improved feline-specific formula with a delicious new flavor to aid in the removal of plaque and tartar build-up. And, the Original Formula protects teeth and gums, and restores fresh breath. www.synergylabs.com
ABC Dog Training Program Student of the Month – USA – September 2014
As a child, Zack Morgan was always interested in how animals behave and learn. He was particularly drawn to the ocean and marine animals. This interest continued into his adult life, and in college Zack majored in biology with an emphasis on marine studies. During this time, he also began working part time at the Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue in Reinholds, Pa. It is there that Zack really developed a bond with dogs and realized dog training might be the fulfilling and rewarding career he was looking for. Zack’s manager at the rescue is a current ABC Mentor Trainer and encouraged Zack to become a certified dog trainer through ABC. He signed up for the Dog Obedience Program shortly thereafter and has done wonderfully so far. Zack is currently finishing up his externship and is on track to graduate with honors. Continue reading
Dog Obedience Instruction Program
Canadian Student of the Month
Before Andrew Richards decided he wanted to be a dog trainer, he worked in the construction industry. After being laid off, he had some time on his hands and decided to really think about what he truly wanted to do as a career. While contemplating what he would do next in life, he looked down at his dogs and decided then and there that he wanted to work with dogs. In Andrew’s own words, “It’s all about what will make a happy life and, for me, that’s dogs.” After deciding to do something in the animal industry, he began researching online and found Animal Behavior College. He enrolled in the Dog Obedience Program shortly thereafter and is now on track to graduate in the next few months. Continue reading
ABC Grooming Instruction Program Student of the Month
Erica Rajski lives with her family in La Porte, Ind. She is currently completing her externship with Sue’s Small Stuff Dog Grooming in Mishawaka, Ind. where she has been grooming with Sue and her staff since April 2014. Despite the 45-mile drive and her busy full-time job and schedule, Erica is putting in hard work every Saturday at Sue’s and loves every minute of it. Continue reading
ABC Grooming Instruction Program Canadian Student of the Month– September 2014
Carolyn Chabot, or Carrie as she likes to go by, lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. She just completed her externship for the Animal Behavior College Grooming Program at Hollywoof Grooming Parlor. The owner of Hollywoof Grooming Parlor, Mavis, loved having Carrie in the salon and even offered her a part-time grooming position there, which Carrie eagerly accepted. Continue reading