1) Never give your cat or dog human pain killers unless instructed by your vet. Non-steroidal pain killers like ibuprofen, aspirin, and paracetamol have very low safety margins for our pets. Cats and dogs cannot metabolize these medications as well as we can, predisposing them to higher risks of gastric ulceration and liver damage. (Cats are especially sensitive to paracetamol—so don’t give any to Fluffy!)
2) Never apply a topical flea and tick spot-on labeled for dogs onto your cat without consulting your vet. Some dog spot-ons contain the insecticide, permethrin. This compound can cause uncontrollable muscle tremors and seizures in cats—even small quantities can be fatal.
3) Never withhold water. Sometimes I have owners tell me they can’t leave water out for their pet because they have accidents in the house, or are drinking an excessive amount and wanting to be let out every ten minutes to urinate. Increased drinking and urination are often signs of a health issue eg. a urinary tract infection, kidney or liver problems, or diabetes. Bring your pet to the vet if they are displaying these clinical signs to ensure there isn’t an underlying health concern.
4) Never catch them by the tail. This one sounds obvious, but sometimes I’m even tempted to grab whatever furry appendage I can get my hands on to prevent one of my four-legged scavengers from jumping onto the dinner table. Tail pulling can result in serious injury, often causing nerve damage. If severe enough, it can be irreparable resulting in a “dead tail,”necessitating a tail amputation.
5) Never feed your cat or dog the following:
-Raisins or grapes (both can cause kidney damage and even death)
-Onions and garlic (can cause blood disorders)
-Bones (especially chicken bones, can splinter inside the intestinal tract and/or cause blockages)
-Walnuts and macadamia nuts (can cause neurotoxicity)
-Chocolate and caffeine (can cause vomiting, diarrhea, heart arrhythmias and even death)
-Alcohol (can cause cognitive deficits and liver damage)
6) Never allow your pet access to areas holding cleaning products, anti-freeze, or pesticides. This one also sounds pretty obvious, but my cats are little fuzzy-pawed Harry Houdinis—they can open cabinets and even the windows in our house if they aren’t locked! Bleach and cleaning fluids are toxic if ingested, and caustic if in contact with skin. Anti-freeze is sweet and often ingested by cats and dogs. If not caught quickly, this toxin causes kidney failure and death. And pesticides like rat poisons and slug pellets (also very tasty!) can cause neurological and bleeding disorders that can result in death.
7) Never cut their nails too short or below the quick. The quick is a blood vessel that runs through the middle of each of your pet’s nails. It looks pink if your pet’s nails are white. If their nails are brown or black though, it can be almost impossible to see where the vessel ends. When cut, it bleeds a lot—believe me, every veterinary professional has made this mistake—not just owners! And it can often be difficult to control the bleeding without special compounds or a bandage. So always err on the side of longer nails when cutting them to avoid a traumatic blood bath for you and your pet!
I hope these were helpful. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to leave me a message in the comment section!