April 19, 2010 – San Francisco, CA – According to an American Pet Products Association (APPA) survey, 62 percent of U.S. households have a pet and more than half of all owners identify their pets as a member of their family. The survey also found that in 2009 Americans spent $45 billion on their pets – nearly half of that was for vet care, supplies and over–the-counter medicines. But was this money well spent? And how much do people really know about their pet’s health?
JustAnswer is a website connecting people to thousands of verified Experts in over 100 categories including Pet & Veterinary. These Experts provide answers to pet owners’ most important questions, helping them become savvier about their pet’s health. According to the Experts on JustAnswer, there are a handful of common household items that can be extremely dangerous for animals and can cause costly situations for owners. To help pet-proof a home and avoid spending a fortune on unnecessary vet bills, here are a few life-saving tips from an Expert on JustAnswer that could help keep your pet safe and healthy:
Q: What fruits and vegetables can be toxic for my pet?
A: Onions and garlic contain the toxic ingredient thiosulphate and are harmful to both cats and dogs. In general, onions are more of a danger and poisoning occurs a few days after the pet has ingested it. Pets affected by onion toxicity will develop haemolytic anemia, which causes red blood cells to burst while circulating in the body. Also, watch out because as few as two to three grapes can lead to kidney failure in dogs. Turns out you need to be extra careful when throwing away those table scraps!
Q: Which flowers are deadly for my pet to eat?
A: While they may be pretty to look at, Lilies and Geraniums can be extremely toxic for your pet. True Lilies, such as Easter, Day and Oriental Lilies, cause kidney failure in cats. Calla Lilies are also toxic for cats and can cause intense burning and irritation of the mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing. For both dogs and cats, Calla Lilies and Geraniums are toxic. To avoid problems, it’s best to keep such flowers out of reach altogether.
Q: Are human medicines safe for animals?
A: When it comes to human medicines and dogs, aspirin is the only over-the-counter pain killer that in some situations may be safe to use. Other pain killers can be dangerous to dogs and can quickly cause gastric ulcers or liver failure. For cats, NO pain killer or fever reducer is safe and if your pet swallows a prescription, be sure to get help for your pet immediately. Adderall, for example, can be very dangerous while birth control usually doesn’t cause any lethal problems.
Q: What household items are hazardous for pets to swallow?
A: String of any kind is one of the worst types of foreign objects a cat can swallow. If consumed, it can cause a linear foreign body condition in the gastrointestinal tract – the most dangerous type of GI obstruction a cat can have. Sugar free gum is also a common, yet dangerous object as it causes hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in cats and sometimes in dogs. Other common and hazardous ingestions include batteries and loose change.
Q: What items should be in a pet emergency kit?
A: It would be great if every newly adopted pet came with an owner's manual and an emergency kit, but that’s not the case. Pet owners should keep an emergency kit with hydrogen peroxide, allergy medicine, antiseptic wound and skin cleanser, mild dish soap (to remove oily substances from hair), antacid, histamine-2 blockers, and tweezers. It’s also useful to have handy phone numbers for a family veterinarian and emergency veterinary services including ASPCA’s 24 hour poison hotline for pets.
JustAnswer is the first resource that pet owners should look to in non-emergency situations. Experts on JustAnswer are available 24/7 and can save time and money providing information about common pet related issues. This is especially helpful when questions arise in the middle of the night or on weekends when vet care can be extremely expensive.
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