Q: Why is it Dangerous for Dogs to Eat Chocolate?

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A: Many pet owners come to me with questions about dogs and chocolate. The topic is especially timely now, when Halloween candy is in so many homes across the US. During the holiday season in general vets see an increase in visits from owners whose dogs have ingested chocolate simply because there tends to be more of it lying around the house. The reason we see chocolate ingestion more in dog than cats is because dogs will often eat anything that smells good whereas cats are more picky.

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5 Things Every Dog and Cat Owner Should Know

No matter how careful we are as pet owners, dogs and cats sometimes still manage to cut themselves, get overheated and eat things they really shouldn’t. In honor of National Pet First Aid Awareness month, we at Paw Nation want to help you be prepared should trouble strike.We asked Dr. Elisa Mazzaferro, Director of Emergency Services at Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital in Colorado, and the official veterinarian of Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl VI what she recommends you do in these five common situations:

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1. Treating A Cut or Scratched Paw
“One of the most important things clients can do if injury is on the animal’s paw is to put pressure on it with a clean towel and bring the pet into the nearest veterinary hospital,” Dr. Mazzaferro tells Paw Nation. Don’t apply a tourniquet because it can decrease blood supply to the injured limb and be dangerous. And you should probably avoid rinsing a wounded paw in water. “Sometimes that will release a blood clot that’s formed.” says Dr. Mazzaferro.


2. Evaluating Vomiting and Diarrhea

“If your pet’s vomiting or diarrhea occurs more than just a couple of times, or if there is blood in it, or any suspicion of the dog or cat having gotten into a toxin, the pet needs to be seen by a veterinarian right away,” says Dr. Mazzaferro. Otherwise, if vomiting occurs just a couple of times, withhold food and water for at least six hours and see if the condition subsides. “If they continue to vomit or become lethargic, or if they’re a puppy or a very small, toy breed dog, I would bring them into a vet because they can dehydrate quickly,” says Dr. Mazzaferro

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Common Cat Health Problems

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While cats are not, by nature, complainers, that doesn’t mean that they do not get sick. There are many common cat health problems. Fortunately, most can be treated with good results if caught early enough
Here are some of the most common cat health problems of which cat owners should be aware. Keep in mind that no information provided here is meant to take the place of advice from you vet.

Fleas

Fleas are probably the most common problem relating to your cat’s health. Fleas are not just a nuisance, they can carry diseases which can be transmitted to your cat.Also, some cats are allergic to flea bites and serious skin irritation can result.While getting rid of a flea infestation is no small task, preventing an infestation is much easier.Applying topical flea prevention each month is the best way to stop fleas from infesting your cat.Fleas can hide deep within your cat’s coat, so you may never see a flea until it is too late.Regular grooming of your cat will help you spot a flea problem at the very early stages. Be sure to take a look deep within the fur as fleas like to make their home close to the base of the fur. If you cat is scratching a lot, that is one obvious signs that fleas may be present. Also, if you notice what look like specks of dirt in her fur, that is likely a sign of fleas as well.


Feline Leukemia

Feline leukemia is spread from cat to cat through interactions such as biting and grooming. It can also be spread through urine and by sharing a litter box. Because of the way this disease is spread, an outdoor cat has a much higher risk of contracting the disease than does an indoor cat. While it is a good idea for all cats to be vaccinated, it is absolutely essential that a cat that spends any time outdoors receive the vaccine for this disease. This virus can cause cancer, blood disorders and weakens the immune system. Many of the complications resulting from this disease can be life threatening.When first infected, it is unlikely that the cat will show any symptoms at all. As time goes on, and the virus begins to cause secondary diseases, symptoms will begin to appear. These may include gradual weight loss, diarrhea, swollen lymph nodes, pale gums and seizures. Of course, any one of these symptoms should result in a trip to your vet.Because vaccines are not effective 100% of the time, the only sure way to stop your cat from getting Feline Leukemia is to be sure that she does not come in contact with cats that are infected. Keep cats indoors and be sure that any new cats you bring into the home have tested negative for the disease.

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