Friday, June 23, 2017

Owners Danger Mistakes 3 of 3

The idea that cats thrive on milk is a myth. In fact, the opposite is often true. Most cats are lactose intolerant, meaning that they can't properly digest the sugars in milk. This can result in diarrhea. While some cats can digest milk with no problems, they don't need it. So most vets recommend skipping the milk.

Letting Dogs Eat Spoiled Food

Your dog may be tempted to rifle through the neighbor's garbage in search of a treat, but don't let her! Food gone bad is no healthier for pets than it is for people. Dogs who eat garbage are at risk for bacterial food poisoning or irritation of the pancreas. Spoiled food may also contain toxic mold, which can cause vomiting, severe tremors, seizures, and death.

Giving Bones to Dogs

We may think of bones as a wonderful treat for dogs, but the FDA paints a different picture. The agency warns that chewing on bones can injure the teeth, tongue, or mouth. Bones can also get stuck in the digestive tract, where they will have to be removed with surgery or an endoscope. If your dog likes to chew, ask your vet about safer alternatives.

Feeding Dogs Table Scraps

It can be hard to resist a dog that's begging at the table. You look into those big eyes and want to share your food with your pet. But rewarding your dog's barks or whines will only encourage more begging in the future. And then you can forget about quiet dinners with your family. If you want to share table scraps as an occasional treat, do it away from the table -- and use the food as a reward for good behavior. Also, some human foods can be toxic to pets.

Feeding Cats Only Dry Food

Cats have a low thirst drive by nature, so they may not drink enough to stay well hydrated. Chronically underhydrated cats could be at risk for urinary tract disorders. Encourage more drinking by adding a water fountain designed for cats. There is also a prescription food by Royal Canin (Urinary SO) that is a dry food that encourages pet to drink. Canned food is generally about 78 percent water and is a good option too, but not needed by every cat. A fluid-rich diet is particularly important for cats with a history of urinary tract problems.

Giving Up a Cat During Pregnancy

Some women are advised to give up their cats during pregnancy, but is this necessary? The concern is an illness called toxoplasmosis, which is caused by a parasite found in feline stool. If a woman is newly infected during pregnancy, her fetus could be harmed. But most people who have cats already have antibodies to protect against toxoplasmosis. The CDC advises pregnant women to keep their cats but avoid handling cat litter if possible.

Having No Disaster Plan

If an emergency forces you to evacuate your home, what will you do with your pets? Leaving them behind is not an option if your community is threatened by fire, flooding, or hurricane-force winds. And not all Red Cross shelters allow you to bring your pets. It's best to identify pet-friendly shelters and motels ahead of time, so you can keep your pets with you during an emergency.

Adopting a Pet on a Whim

If a friend is giving away puppies or a local animal shelter is filled to capacity, you may be tempted to bring home a new pet. But this should never be a spur-of-the-moment decision. You are making a long-term commitment to care for the animal -- 10 to 15 years for dogs and up to 20 years for cats. It's also best to do some research ahead of time to decide what type of pet -- and what specific breed -- would be best for your family.

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