23 June 2010

Don't kill your pet with kindness

If you are a pet owner you are probably also an animal lover – which means you take good care of your pet. Or do you?

If you are a pet owner you are probably also an animal lover – which means you take good care of your pet. Or do you? Sometimes, ignorance leads us to 'care' in ways that are not that good for animals.

Here are some of the most common mistakes owners make:

"The most common thing that puts pets in harm’s way from the owners is when the owners treat the animals with human medication," says Cape Town veterinarian Dr Brian Bergman.

He warns that paracetemol (Panado) can be fatal to cats and that asprin (Disprin) may lead to kidney failure or stomach ulcers in dogs when they are given human doses for extended periods of time.

Giving your 2kg-Yorkshire terrier the same dose that you take for a headache is very much like giving you an injection meant for an elephant. The dose is an overkill for the condition, and could very well be fatal.

Just as in humans, obesity causes major health problems for animals too. "An overweight animal is at higher risk of co-morbidities such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer, which literally takes years off its life," says Dr Guy Fyvie, veterinarian advisors to Hill's Pet Nutrition. "Furthermore the extra weight can cause arthritis and mobility problems that can be extremely painful."

An earlier study has shown that the life of an overweight dog is shortened by at least two years (equivalent to a life expectancy shortfall in humans of about 15 years).

So next time Fido is longingly staring at your dinner plate, think twice before you give him that snack – you might be treating him to an early death…

Flea and tick treatment
When treating your pet for fleas and ticks it not only important to use the right product, but also the right amount of the product.

Your cat can die if you treat it with flea/tick treatment meant for dogs, and both cats and dogs are at risk of being poisoned if the solution is too strong.

"Also be very careful when using poison to treat pests, like rat poison or snail bait," warns Bergman. "Pets eat them and are poisoned, often fatally."

Heat and your pet
This is not a new message, however, people still leave their dogs in cars parked in the sun. "The animal gets heat stroke and dies," says Bergman.

Fido might protest when you leave to go to the shops, but you are being much kinder to leave him at home than to let him bake in the hot car while you are shopping.

Lastly Bergman warns against taking your pet for a walk during the hottest time of the day. "Certain breeds, like the bulldog, can get respiratory and cardiac failure, and consequently die, if they are walked in the heat of the day," concludes Bergman. – (Wilma Stassen, Health24, September 2008)

Read more:
Pet Centre
'Obesity a form of abuse'

- (Last updated: June 2010)


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