Pet Proofing

Life has been kicking my butt since my last post! Ironically, a huge portion of that butt-kicking is due to Camp NaNoWriMo (which I wrote about in my last post). Talk about lack of motivation and lack of vision with where this novel is going. I am (fingers crossed) still on track to finish by July 31, but it is not going to be easy.

One of the two other reasons life has been crazy this last week is the topic of this post. The other one (apartment hunting/moving) will probably be a topic for the near future. But for now: Pet Proofing.

Last Friday, at about 11 in the morning, I found a bottle of antifreeze that had been chewed open by my puppy. Now, for those of you who may not know, antifreeze is poisonous to dogs because of a byproduct that is produced in the liver when it is digested. Needless to say, after about a minute of Googling what to do when this happens (because I honestly didn’t know how severe it could be), we were off to the vet.

Fortunately for us, there is a treatment for antifreeze poisoning that can mitigate the effects if you get your pet to the vet in time. We were there within a few hours of Tater ingesting it and he was able to get medication. The vet thinks we got to it in time and that he should recover fully. Unfortunately, this does put him at risk for kidney failure. But for now, he seems to be functioning just fine.

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Now, our vet bill was astronomical. First, because we had to take him to an emergency clinic. Big bucks right there even just for a consultation. Second, the medication that acts as an antidote to antifreeze was CRAZY expensive. And third, he had to be keep there for the weekend for treatment and observation. All in all, we put a huge chunk of change on our credit cards that day.

Obviously, it was worth it. The thought of losing this little guy or leaving him in pain as his kidneys failed was absolutely unacceptable to me. Money was essentially no object in this, and we got some help from family, which was fantastic. However, it got me thinking about pet proofing and how important that is.

Normally, our house is incredibly safe for our dog. He’s not even a year old, and as a curious puppy, he gets into EVERYTHING and chews on EVERYTHING. But we’re moving and we were going through a box of random stuff and there happened to be a bottle of antifreeze in there. It got forgotten and left on the floor, and here we are.

So, I decided to come up with a list for pet proofing. There are some excellent guides online that are more thorough (such as this one: http://www.americanhumane.org/animals/adoption-pet-care/safety/pet-proofing-your-home.html ). But this is my list from personal experience of what my dog gets into most frequently. Naturally, you should observe your pet’s behavior and go from there.

1. Read up on substances (food, chemicals, plants, etc.) that are poisonous to dogs (or whichever pet you happen to have). In general, keep all food items away regardless of whether or not the food is harmful. They might choke on the wrapper.

2. Make sure those substances are always locked away or out of reach.

3. Do routine checks of your house to see if any of those got left out by accident. I would honestly say to do this once a day, just in case. Brief, cursory glances around the house should be sufficient to tell you if something has been left out that shouldn’t have been.

4. Keep small items that your pet could choke on put away. Our puppy Tater loves pens and tends to chew them until the smaller pieces break off. He is also fond of chewing on coins or any small metal object. I pick up things like this every day to make sure he doesn’t get into them.

5. Keep wires contained. When we first got our dog, he got behind the television and got all tangled in the wires back there. He even got one around his neck. Wires and cords are bad news!

6. Make sure you’re up to date on the latest information regarding poisons and hazards for pets. Sometimes with increased research, vets realize that things that once seemed harmless can actually have adverse effects.

7. Research to find out if there are any alternative chemicals that you could use. We found out from the vet that there is a different type of antifreeze that is more pet friendly. It contains an ingredient that off-sets the effects of ethylene glycol if ingested, giving your pet more time to receive treatment with less risk for damage.

8. Always know where the nearest emergency vet clinic is. In the worst case scenario, you will want to know where it is and go there immediately. Don’t waste time going to your regular vet if you think your pet has ingested something that is poisonous or dangerous.

I hope this was helpful. I really encourage all of you to take a good look at your home and make sure it’s safe for all of your pets!

~Teresa

 

 

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