- 1. Ten Most Common Pet Poisons of 2009
- 2. ASPCA Happy Tails: Language of Love
- 3. Operation Chihuahua Update!
- 4. Domestic Violence Linked to Animal Cruelty
1. Ten Most Common Pet Poisons of 2009
Is your pooch mad for people food? Does your kitty like to self-medicate? Sadly, not everything we love is good for us. In fact, many common household goods that we take for granted as harmless can poison our furry friends. In 2009, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center in Urbana, IL, handled more than 140,000 cases of pets exposed to toxic household substances, including insecticides, cleaning supplies and prescription medications.
To help you keep your pet safe and sound in 2010, our experts have created a list of the 10 common poisons that most affected our furry friends last year. Here’s a sneak peek at their advice:
Top dishonorsonce againgo to human medications, which accounted for the most calls to the ASPCA’s 24-hour poison control hotline in 2009. Pets often snatch pill vials from counters and nightstands or gobble up meds accidentally dropped on the floor. Remember to keep all medications, including pain remedies, antidepressants and decongestants, in a cabinet far away from pets’ prying paws.
Cats and dogs are often the unwitting victims of our efforts to battle flea infestations. The misapplication of spot-on flea and tick products can be especially problematic for our feline friends. Talk to your vet about choosing the right, species-specific flea treatment for your pet and never use products made for dogs on cats, and vice versa.
Some of the most delicious people foodincluding citrus, avocado and raisinscan be poisonous to pets. Chocolate ingestion accounted for nearly half of all people food-related cases in 2009, so be sure to keep cocoa hidden from your resourceful cat or dog.
Pet parents also need to remember to protect their cats and dogs from common household cleaners such as bleaches, detergents and disinfectants. These products, when inhaled by our furry friends, can cause serious gastrointestinal distress and irritation to the respiratory tract.
Household plants may keep your house green and your air clean, but some can cause serious gastrointestinal problems for companion animals who nibble on them. Check out our toxic plant list before your next visit to the nursery.
As always, if you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your vet or the ASPCA’s 24-hour hotline at (888) 426-4435. To read our complete list of the 10 most common pet poisons of 2009, visit APCC online.
2. ASPCA Happy Tails: Language of Love
On December 5, 2009, Mary Alice Strang of Rockville Centre, NY, visited the ASPCA Adoption Center and changed a dog’s life forever. The eight-year-old Pit Bull mix had arrived at our NYC headquarters two months earlier, when her former pet parent, who was struggling to survive on the streets, turned to us as a last resort for her beloved pooch.
Gentle and sweet-natured, Christywho loves other dogs as much as she loves peoplewas in pretty rough shape. She had surgery for breast cancer at the ASPCA Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital, and then spent some time resting, recovering and winning the hearts of ASPCA staff. Soon, she was bouncing around our indoor dog park and teaching a lesson to many a chew toy.
On meeting, Mary Alice was thrilled at the prospect of providing a home for Christy. Now this fortunate pup is settling in nicely with her new pet parents and five kitty siblings: Lilah, Roswell, Otis, Newton and Ernie. Admittedly, the cats are all in “different stages of acceptance.”
“As soon as Christy saw her bed, she was in it,” reports Mary Alice. “She also enjoys the sofa and the armchair and knows the various routes we take for her walks, choosing a different one each day.”
Thankfully, the get-along pooch hasn’t lost any of the unique personality traits that made her such a hit with ASPCA staff. Mary Alice says: “My favorite Christy quirk is that she talks. Her vocabulary is made up of a variety of sounds beyond barks, growls and yips. She likes to put them together into sentences and walk around talking to herself.”
Perhaps one day soon, Christy will share her thoughts with her new pet parent, but until then, Mary Alice is content to watch the plucky pooch explore her new world. “We don't converse yet because I haven’t learned her language,” laughs Mary Alice. “I'm sure that when I do, we'll have great conversations.”
3. Operation Chihuahua Update!
Last week, the ASPCA welcomed 15 adorable Chihuahuas, ages one to seven, who were having a hard time finding homes in the San Francisco area. After full medical and behavioral evaluations and a week of R&R at our Manhattan Adoption Center, the pups made their big debut this past Wednesday, January 13and New Yorkers were more than ready!
Braving the freezing cold temperatures, more than 100 hopeful pet parents journeyed to our Upper East Side headquarters and began lining up at 7:40 A.M. in anticipation of the noon adoption event. “As the noon hour approached, the line grew and grew…and before long, we realized that this initiative had been a great success,” says Gail Buchwald, Senior Vice President of the ASPCA Adoption Center. “As we had hoped, dozens of dog loverssome from out of statewere ready with open arms to adopt these homeless Chihuahuas from California.” By the end of the day, all 11 available Chihuahuas had left the building with their perfect matches! Every adoption included full vetting, vaccinations, spay/neuter surgery and a microchip.
Four of the West Coast canines are still at the ASPCA for minor medical issues: two have been placed on hold by an adopter, but the other two are still available. “These Chihuahuas both have some medical challenges that will require special adopters, but we are certain that they will be adopted quickly!” says Buchwald.
For additional information, please visit ASPCA.org or call our special Operation Chihuahua hotline at (212) 876-7700, ext. 3210.
4. Domestic Violence Linked to Animal Cruelty
From planning pet-friendly vacations to spending oodles of money on toys and treats, most people consider their pets members of the family. Unfortunately, when it comes to domestic violence, pets are also deemed part of the family unit and forced to suffer in silence at the hands of abusers. Some studies estimate that 88% of companion animals living in households where domestic violence occurs are routinely threatened, harmed or even killed.
In cases of spousal, child or elder abuse, a beloved family pet can become a pawn for an abuser who is willing to injure or kill the animal as a form of revenge, to create isolation, or to intimidate his or her victims. ASPCA Special Agents often witness this trend firsthand. "We see a connection between animal abuse and domestic violence all the time," says Special Investigator Diane DiGiacomo. "For example, we'll go out and investigate a complaint of animal abuse and find that the children have already been removed from the home or that the suspect has a history of spousal abuse."
Studies also show that 50% of domestic violence victims delay seeking help for fear that an abuser will harm a pet. Furthermore, most domestic violence shelters are simply not set up to accommodate companion animalshowever, in recent years, animal “safe haven” programs, which provide foster care for pets in domestic violence situations, are becoming more common in cities across the country. And at least 11 states have enacted legislation to allows pets to be included in domestic violence-related orders of protection. This means a court can order an abuser to stay away from an animal or impose other conditions to protect the pet's safetyviolations could result in arrest.
To learn more about the link between domestic violence and animal cruelty, or to find out how you can lobby for stronger legislation to protect animal victims of domestic violence, visit ASPCA.org. If you or your pet is a victim of a violent crime, please call 911 or your local law enforcement.