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Household Chemicals
Pesticides, fertilizers, paints, antifreeze, household cleaners, and other chemicals can pose real dangers to your pet. It's best to prevent poisonings from happening in the first place by keeping containers tightly capped and stored out of reach, but if your pet should become poisoned despite your efforts to protect him, keep him warm and quiet, look for clues to what type of poison it was, when it was swallowed, and how much was swallowed, and call your veterinarian or nearest poison control center immediately. If you take the animal to your vet, remember to take along the container so your vet can treat him effectively.

Poisonous Plants
There are more than 700 kinds of plants that may be poisonous to your pet-- mistletoe, daffodils, larkspur, hydrangea, Lily of the Valley, and foxglove are highly toxic. Rhododendron and azaleas can be harmful to an animal's heart, intestines, and nervous system. Philodendron and dieffenbachia are common houseplants which can prove fatal. And even leaves and stems from tomato plants can be harmful. It's best to keep pets out of vegetable and flower gardens altogether, but if you suspect your pet may have eaten a poisonous plant, watch for symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, mouth swelling, and salivation. Take the animal to your vet and take along a leaf from the plant that was eaten. Treatment is based on the type of plant and amount swallowed.

Accidental Falls
Did you know that each year thousands of animals die or suffer injuries in accidental falls from high places? Terraces and window-ledges, in particular, can be very dangerous, especially in warm climates where doors and windows are often left open for long periods. Keep your pets safe. Never leave your animal unattended on a balcony, and install tight-fitting screens on all open windows. Even with screens, windows should only be left partially open in case your pet manages to push against the screen and knock it out.

Hot Weather
Hot weather can be deadly to your pet, especially if you take your best friend in the car with you on errands or shopping trips. It doesn't matter whether you've parked the car in the shade, or cracked the window, or both. The temperature inside a parked car can rise dangerously high-- as high as 110 degrees Fahrenheit in just a few minutes, causing heatstroke, irreparable brain damage, and even death. When the mercury in your thermometer starts to rise, do your pet a favor and leave him home where he's safe and comfortable, and if you see an animal suffering in a parked car in the heat, summon the police to help you find the owner, or help you find a way to rescue the critter from jeopardy.

Cold Weather
Just because your pet has a fur coat doesn't mean he or she is protected in freezing weather. If the animal is very young, very old, or ill, keep it inside when the temperature dips below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and don't laugh, but your pet may need a coat when you take him or her outside. If the animal gets wet from snow or ice, dry your pet off when you return home. To avoid a skin reaction, or accidental poisoning, wipe the paws thoroughly to remove salt, road chemicals, and ice particles from the footpads. Check the tail, tips of ears, and pads of feet for signs of frostbite, which include pale blue, or, in later stages, black skin discoloration. If you suspect frostbite, apply warm compresses to the affected area, and take your pet to the vet at once.

Animals in Distress
Would you know how to help an animal in distress? Wait. Before you break out the bandages, there are some things you need to know to help effectively. First, restrain the frightened animal. The friendliest of pets can act unpredictably when hurt, and you won't be able to help it if you get hurt yourself. Wrap cats in a towel or jacket to protect yourself from their sharp claws. If possible, wear thick gloves. Muzzle dogs with a scarf or a commercial muzzle, but don't use narrow pieces of string or shoelaces. They could cut into an animal's nose. Remember, never muzzle an animal that is unconscious, vomiting, or having seizures, or you could make matters worse. Contact the American Red Cross or your local Vet for more information.

Pool Safety
We've all heard about the danger to small children of having a swimming pool in your backyard, but animals are at risk for drowning, too. Many pets drown each year in backyard swimming pools, especially puppies and kittens. If you have a pool, or if you live alongside a body of water, it's best to put up a fence to keep animals out. If that's not possible, teach your dog how to get out of your pool by placing the dog in the pool with you, and guiding it to the steps. Do this repeatedly until the dog can find its way out of the pool unassisted. And review the lesson twice a year. Remember, too, that not all dogs are natural swimmers. If you take your dog to the lake or out on a boat, consider getting it a doggy life vest. They're available in a variety of sizes and can save your dog's life.

Cat Longevity
Want to help your cat live a healthier, longer life? Well, keep him or her indoors. Many cats are content to live inside, provided they have a wonderful window to watch the world from, scratching posts, toys, and, of course, your love and attention. Keeping your cat indoors protects your pet from predators, and reduces the likelihood that it will contract and spread serious diseases. Indoor cats are also protected from cat fights, cars, accidental poisoning, and rabid wild animals, and the risk of your cat becoming lost or stolen is eliminated if it's kept inside, so keep kitty in the home for his or her well-being, and for your peace of mind.

Holiday Dangers
Holidays and special gatherings can be a stressful time for the entire family. You can keep your pets safe and stress-free during any holiday season by following these do's and don'ts. Don't let your pets near holiday plants, such as poinsettia, mistletoe, and holly berries. They can be deadly if swallowed. Don't allow them to play with decorations, such as glass ornaments, ribbon, and tinsel, which can cause choking and intestinal injury. Don't allow your pet to chew on strands of holiday lights. It only takes a second for a curious animal to get electrocuted. Don't feed your pet holiday candy, especially chocolate, which can poison the animal, or poultry bones which can splinter, causing intestinal blockage or internal injury, and do exercise caution and common sense to make the holidays safe and happy for the entire family.

Plastic Hazards
Plastics pose a severe threat to animals, especially those who live at the water's edge. Sea turtles, seals, pelicans, dolphins and other animals can't free themselves when they get tangled. As they struggle to get free, they tighten the grip, injuring themselves in the process. Properly disposing of hazards like fishing line, plastic soda-can rings, fishing nets, and plastic or net bags, can literally mean life or death for these animals. So recycle plastics whenever possible. Cut soda rings and plastic bags before disposing of them. Pick up plastics at the beach, and properly dispose of litter whenever recycling isn't available. Let's do our part to protect our beaches and the animals who live there.

Older Dogs
Your senior dog suddenly starts destroying things around the house when you're not at home. Experts say he may be suffering from separation anxiety, which often develops in older dogs due to the ill effects of aging. The behavior may cause him to chew inappropriate objects, scratch himself uncontrollably, relieve himself indoors, or exhibit distress upon your departure. Behavior modification can be used to treat the problem, and in some cases, so can drug therapy. If you and your dog are experiencing this problem, don't assume there's nothing you can do. Consult your veterinarian for treatment.