Fall blows in a new set of pet hazards

Autumn is upon us. At least last week it was. Tomorrow, the temperature might be back in the 60s.

Either way, every season, has risks for our pets. Unfortunately, fall is no exception.

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888-426-4435) says they’ll be getting calls about several different things with a focus on these top five.

They say the best medicine is prevention, so as you go about winterizing and decorating, be sure your pets cannot find their way into potential hazards — many of which look or smell appetizing to pets. Then again, our puppy, Rio, is a consummate poop eater. If she’s willing to eat that, I can’t imagine how other products on the market that smell foul to me seem appealing to her.

So dangerous is ANTIFREEZE. Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol. It is odorless, sweet-tasting and a chemical that can be deadly to dogs and cats. Be ever so careful with spilled or dripping antifreeze because pets will be lured to the spill and more often than not, try to lick it up.

If your pet ingests this deadly chemical, he may appear “drunk.” Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting and tremors. Seek immediate veterinary care because even a small amount can be fatal.

Human COLD AND FLU MEDICATIONS are another no-no for pets. We have an eating machine in Rio. She looks for any box, package or loose string to ingest, you name it. A pill bottle or box would be a treat for her. She’d have the packaging ripped apart and could accidentally ingest the medication inside. Even acetaminophen can cause liver failure and damage red blood cells in pets. Decongestants can lead to seizures.

If a little rodent decides to find the warmth of your home more comfy than the conditions on the outside, use extreme caution with PESTICIDES as most can be fatal if ingested, even in small amounts. Even the pet-proof bait station ones are not foolproof. Dogs love to chew through the packaging and I know Rio would find it a challenge. Keep pesticides away from pets and keep any packaging so you can inform the vet if there is an accidental ingestion so they know what they’re dealing with.

On a more pleasantly scented topic, POTPOURRI (especially pumpkin-scented for me!) is a big part of the holiday season. Liquid-type potpourri is especially dangerous. It is made up of essential oils and cationic detergents that contain corrosive agents that can cause severe chemical burns to the stomach and mouth. This explains how a scented plug-in that was left lying on a plastic unit in our house and leaked literally melted the painted surface right off of the unit. I was in shock and awe and never realized the potential, dangerous power of the scented liquid. I thought it was harmless. Who knew it was strong enough to remove paint?

Cats — every one of ours — are at risk around potpourri. They seek it out, love to knock over pots and warmers, get the oil on their coats and paws and then pick pieces of flower-scented potpourri out of the container to bat around. If you have pets be extra careful when using potpourri and scented warmers.

Finally, BATTERIES. If a pet would accidentally consume a battery, it can cause major health issues. The alkaline substances alone can cause oral, esophageal and stomach ulcers and obstructions as well as obvious burns.

Again, if your pet has ingested a battery, contact your veterinary immediately and do NOT induce vomiting! If the battery has been punctured, it can lead to more burns.

There are many, many pet hazards around us daily. The more we can learn and the more caution we can exercise when working around our pets, the better off they’ll be. I know how tough it is with our old chocolate lab who loves to find and chew prescription bottles — after the cat knocks it off the counter — if we accidentally leave it out. I also know that having a 7-month-old puppy who is bigger than all of our other dogs already and loves to find absolutely anything she shouldn’t have and chew it apart.

Our existence revolves around making sure all foreign objects are out of the reach of the cats and dogs. That’s another reason I am looking into pet insurance!

Amy J. Hanna-Eckenrode is the author of “Have Dog Will Blog,” editor of the Central PA Pets magazine and director of the Central PA Pet Expo. She can be contacted at ahanna

@altoonamirror.com or by mail: Paws and Reflect, c/o Amy J. Hanna-Eckenrode, Altoona Mirror, 301 Cayuga Ave., Altoona, PA 16602.

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