If you’re planning to do some fall baking or prepare homemade Halloween treats, read this first: Macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs. Your pup would only need to eat a small amount of food containing these nuts to experience negative results.
Dogs who eat macadamia nuts most commonly experience weakness in the back legs, vomiting and diarrhea. Experts at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) say that in most cases, these negative effects are mild and can be managed at home with a little guidance from a veterinary professional. But in more serious cases, the side effects can require veterinary care.
If your pet eats macadamia nuts, you should contact your local veterinarian or APCC right away. Your dog will need care at a veterinary hospital if he starts shaking constantly, has a high fever or becomes unable to walk. Because macadamia nuts are a very fatty food, dogs in rare cases may experience an inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) after eating them. If you see your dog vomiting, experiencing lack of appetite, stomach pain or a decrease in activity level within three days of eating macadamia nuts, you should contact your vet right away.
APCC is your best resource for any animal poison-related emergency—24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you think that your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately.
The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) handles thousands of cases of animal poisoning resulting from plants, pills and other ingested items every year. But not all pet poisons are so apparent—in fact, one major risk may be lurking where you least expect it: On food.
To arm you with potentially life-saving information, APCC wants to educate pet parents about the dangers of moldy food. Food mold, also known as Penicillium spp, is a fungus that grows on aging food. It is often visible to the naked eye, and, if ingested, can make a pet very ill.
While mold on dog food should certainly be avoided, the real danger occurs when pets get into household trash or eat garbage outside, including compost piles and moldy nuts or fruits that have fallen from trees. Fungal neurotoxins on old food can make your four-legged friend very ill. Common signs that your dog has eaten mold include:
Elevated body temperature
Symptoms can last 24-48 hours, and can be life-threatening if left untreated. Available treatments are primarily focused on controlling the tremors and keeping the pet cool and hydrated, however, the best way to protect your pet is to not let them eat moldy food at all. Keep an eye on your dog at all times, especially when outside, and avoid leaving your dog outside of your yard unattended.
If your dog is observed eating moldy food, contact your vet or APCC immediately to learn the correct action to take. Onset of signs can be very rapid, so if your dog is showing symptoms, take him to a veterinary clinic immediately.
If you think that your pet is ill or may have ingested any poisonous substance, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 immediately!
Each fall, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) sees an increase in back-to-school related pet poisonings. One of the most common issues involves dogs getting into kids’ backpacks and lunchboxes. Fortunately, most of these exposures are fairly easy to prevent if pet parents know what to watch out for. Here are a few safety tips from APCC experts for this back-to-school season:
After a long school day, many kids dump their backpacks on the floor when they arrive at home. If possible, designate an area in your home for backpacks out of reach of your pets.
Some dogs are very good at unzipping backpacks and helping themselves to the contents inside. If you have young kids who aren't able to reliably place their backpacks in a secure area, or if you have very crafty pets, the next best thing is to be very careful about what is packed in your child’s backpack.
Common backpack contents like sugar free gum (with xylitol), raisins and medications should never be accessible to pets
APCC commonly receives calls related to ADHD medications (which often contain amphetamines), albuterol inhalers and over the counter pain medications—all of which can cause serious and life-threatening toxicity in dogs and cats.
Kids often leave leftover food in their lunchboxes. APCC has received reports of pets becoming very ill after getting into lunchboxes containing toxic foods such as grapes, raisins, onions, macadamia nuts and occasionally, moldy foods. Please visit our People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets page for a complete list of potentially dangerous items.
We’re wishing your family a happy—and safe!—back-to-school season
Labor Day is fast approaching, and many of us are looking forward to a long weekend full of block parties, barbeques and soaking in the last few drops of summer sun.
We know you’ll agree that holidays are much more fun when we celebrate with the four-legged members of our family, but pet parents should note that many beloved Labor Day festivities and foods can be downright dangerous to our animal companions. So this weekend, as you say goodbye to summer, keep your pets happy and healthy with these safety tips in mind:
Mind the dog days of summer. It may be September, but the weather is still hot, hot, hot. Animals can become dehydrated quickly, so be sure your pets are getting plenty of water over the weekend—especially if they’ll be enjoying the holidays outdoors. Make sure your pet has a shady place to escape the sun, and avoid letting your pup linger on hot asphalt. Your dog’s body can heat up quickly and sensitive paw pads can get burned.
Stash the sunscreen—and the bug spray, too. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in serious problems for pets, including drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy, while the misuse of insect repellents that include the chemical DEET can lead to neurological problems. Keep citronella candles, insect coils and oil products out of pets’ reach, too. And never apply sunscreen or insect repellent to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals.
Grilling? Keep matches and lighter fluid out of paws’ reach. Certain types of matches contain chlorates, which can damage blood cells and result in breathing difficulties or even, in severe cases, kidney disease if ingested. Lighter fluid can be irritating to the skin and, if ingested or inhaled by a curious pup, can produce gastrointestinal irritation, central nervous system depression and aspiration pneumonia.
Leave the treats to the humans. Labor Day is the perfect time for backyard barbeques—and the tasty treats that come with them. While it may be tempting to serve your pup some scraps from the grill, remember that any changes to your pet’s diet can result in severe digestive ailments. Keep them away from raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate and sugar-free products made with the sweetener xylitol, as these holiday favorites are toxic to pets—and never leave alcoholic beverages unattended where your pet can reach them.
Celebrating Lakeside? Buy your dog a life jacket—and use it. If you’ll be boating or spending time by the beach, lake or pool, never leave your pets unsupervised around the water. Just like with people, it’s easy for your pup to develop a cramp in her leg while swimming, become exhausted too far from shore or get overwhelmed by tides. Please consider purchasing a life jack for your dog. It’s easy to become distracted, and a life jacket can save her life.
Fireworks and pets don’t mix. Loud noises like the ones caused by fireworks can be frightening for pets. In fact, one in five pets goes missing after being scared by loud noises. In addition, exposure to lit fireworks can result in severe burns or trauma, and many types of fireworks contain potentially toxic substances like potassium, nitrate and arsenic that can be deadly when ingested. Keep your little ones calm and safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home.
On a recent Sunday evening, New Yorker Oscar Q. was watching his three dogs play when he noticed something unusual about his five-year-old Shih Tzu, Buddy: The dog’s left eye was dangling from its socket.
Oscar immediately took Buddy to the Animal Medical Center, who referred him to the ASPCA Animal Hospital (AAH) the following day. At AAH, Buddy was assessed by Drs. Kristen Frank and Anna Podgorska, and on Tuesday, Dr. Maren Krafchik removed his eye.
Displacement of the eyeball out of the eye socket is a condition known as proptosis, and it often occurs after fighting with a larger dog or following trauma to the face or head.
“I wanted to save his eye, but as long as he’s alive, that’s what's more important to me,” said Oscar, adding that Buddy often plays with other dogs, but such a thing had never happened to him before.
Eye proptosis is not unusual in brachycephalic dog breeds—those with bulging eyes, short snouts and shallow eye sockets—like Shih Tzus, Pekingese, Pugs, Lhasa Apsos and Boston Terriers. For these breeds, even mild restraint or play can result in eye proptosis. Dog breeds with long noses and deep-set eyes are less likely to experience proptosis.
Because proptosis occurs most commonly after trauma, there are no real preventative measures pet owners can take. “Owners of brachycephalic breeds should be aware that their pet is predisposed to this condition and seek medical attention immediately in the event of proptos,” said Dr. Frank. “In certain cases, [eye removal] can be avoided with prompt medical and surgical intervention by a veterinarian.”
As of August 31, 35 eye removal surgeries have been performed at AAH this year for a variety of reasons, including infections and deformities of the eye, diseases of the eye, and trauma like Buddy’s.
On the bright side, eye removal is usually tolerated well by dogs and cats, and Oscar says Buddy is recovering well. “We treat our dogs like kids,” he said. “And Buddy is adored by everyone.”