Monthly Archives: March 2013

National Poison Prevention Week – Is Your Pet Safe?

We think Prince M. would make a good spokes-dog

for National Poison Prevention Week.

He’s a happy, intelligent young man who

is concerned about the safety of his friends and family.


Can I give my pet Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Tylenol or other OTC (over the counter) pain medication?

In a word, NO! 

Ibuprofen can definitely be toxic to dogs and other pets—even in small amounts. Depending on the dose ingested, significant gastrointestinal damage or even kidney damage could result. Tylenol (acetaminophen)  is another drug found in many homes that can be deadly to your pets.

  • Acetaminophen can be toxic to dogs and cats, but cats are 7 to 10 times more susceptible to acetaminophen toxicity than dogs are.
  • Once swallowed, acetaminophen reaches the blood stream within 30 minutes; toxic effects are rapid and damage the liver and red blood cells.

In fact, many drugs that are beneficial to humans can be harmful or even deadly for pets. We strongly urge you to never give your pet any medication without first speaking with his or her regular veterinarian.

We strongly advise owners to never give their pets Aspiring or any medication without first consulting with their regular veterinarian. Many drugs, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like aspirin , can cause serious or potentially life-threatening problems, depending on the dose involved.

If you feel that your pet needs pain relief for any reason, we highly recommend that you get in touch with your veterinarian—if you have not already. Your vet can direct you regarding the best dose to use or, if necessary, can prescribe a different pain reliever.

While most human medications are contained in child-proof bottles, these containers are not pet-proof. Pets can easily chew and break open packaging, so medications should always be stored in a secure cabinet above the countertop

Most people will tell you that there is no such thing as “bad” chocolate. 

Unfortunately if you are a pet it is a sweet and delicious treat

that can cause serious illness or death.

Chocolate Toxicity In Dogs

Dogs are known for eating things when they are not supposed to. This is especially true of puppies. Also, dogs have an excellent sense of smell, making it fairly easy to find any secret hiding spots for the chocolate. This can be a dangerous combination when there is chocolate around the house.

Chocolate is derived from the roasted seeds of Theobroma cacao, which contains certain properties that can be toxic to animals: caffeine and theobromine. If ingested, these two ingredients can also lead to various medical complications and may even prove fatal for your dog.

Symptoms of chocolate toxicity:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased body temperature
  • Increased reflex responses
  • Muscle rigidity
  • Rapid breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Seizures
  • Advanced signs (cardiac failure, weakness, and coma)

The amount and type of chocolate ingested is also important, as they are the determining factors for the severity of the toxicity. The three types of chocolate that you must be aware of are:

  1. Milk Chocolate – Mild signs of toxicity can occur when 0.7 ounces per pound of body weight is ingested; severe toxicity occurs when two ounces per pound of body weight is ingested (or as little as one pound of milk chocolate for a 20-pound dog).
  2. Semi-Sweet Chocolate – Mild signs of toxicity can occur when 0.3 ounce per pound of body weight is ingested; severe toxicity occurs when one ounce per pound of body weight is ingested (or as little as six ounces of semi-sweet chocolate for a 20-pound dog).
  3. Baking Chocolate – This type of chocolate has the highest concentration of caffeine and theobromine. Therefore, as little as two small one-ounce squares of baking chocolate can be toxic to a 20-pound dog (or 0.1 ounce per pound of body weight).

We often get calls from worried pet owners who want to be reassured that even though their pet ate some chocolate that “just a little” won’t hurt….right? You will never hear us say yes to that question! The answer will ALWAYS be to get the pet seen immediately. What we’ve found in the majority of cases is that the “just two little pieces” is often part or all of a bag. How do we know this little gem of information? Well, part of the treatment is to administer a medication to induce vomiting and there’s always the moment of total horror when an owner realizes that finding two empty wrappers does not mean they ate two pieces of chocolate when they see multiple colorful wrappers and a goodly sum of chocolate coming back to haunt them. If your pet ingests chocolate don’t wait to see if there are symptoms-move fast. Induced vomiting is better that seizures, coma and possible death!

In the right quantities chocolate can become toxic for any dog. So be wary of feeding your pet anything that might contain chocolate and always keep it out of reach. Chocolate is toxic to cats as well but they don’t seem as attracted to it as dogs-but the ice cream in a hot fudge sunday might be the motivation for them to give it a taste!

Chocolate is not the only people food that is toxic to pets. 

Xylitol, a sugar substitute can cause liver failure and seizures in dogs. Coffee, tea and alcoholic beverages are also not safe for pets.

Pet Poisons: Household, Garden and Lawn Products, Insecticides and Automotive Products

Pets can find the darndest things to chew up and ingest. Ranging from cardboard boxes, to firewood, paint, soap plastic bags and more, many of these products may only cause a stomach ache, while others, if swallowed  can prove lethal.

Plastic bags are a major cause of intestinal blockages. Often made of poultry manure, dried blood and bone meal, fertilizers can be highly enticing to a pet. Garden and lawn products are two dangerous items that cause many poisoning incidents.

Insecticide labels should be carefully read prior to their use on the lawn, in the house or on the pet. Never use flea or tick prevention products made for dogs on cats. Before putting out rat bait think about the pets that might eat it instead of its intended victim.

Automotive products such as antifreeze, windshield and brake fluids, oil and gasoline are highly toxic to dogs and cats. These products are extremely lethal if ingested. Please keep all automotive products stored safely out of your pet’s reach.

Pet Poisons: Veterinary Medications

While many pet owners find those delectable chewable tablets facilitate giving medications, since they are so delicious, pets can easily consume the whole bottle if given access. Keep all pet medications out of reach. If your pet consumes more than the prescribed dose, or ingests another pet’s medication, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Household Plants

Lilies are beautiful, but according to Cornell Veterinary College, all parts of the plant, even its pollen, are lethal to cats, causing kidney failure. The vibrantly colored Oleander is highly toxic to dogs and cats. Sago plants are high on the list of lethal plants. Here is a list of plants toxic to pets.

Keep your veterinarian’s phone number in a prominent place.

Ark Animal Hospital‘s is 941-493-3300

The Sarasota Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center‘s number is 941-923-7260

If an emergency arises having it handy can safe your pet’s life.

The ASPCA has a 24 hour poison control hot line available for a fee at 888-426-4435. Contact them if you cannot reach your vet or no local pet emergency clinic is available.




It’s All About The Pets!

Jake B-Handsome AND sweet!

Noah L-”You didn’t tell me the paparazzi would be here!”

Duncan W/T-a very handsome boy of Scottish descent,

EVERYONE loves Duncan!

Honey C-dashing, dapper and happy-go-lucky

Our days begin early and then tend to end late most days and the pets in the photos are representative of why that we put our hearts and souls into Ark Animal Hospital. Pets give us such joy with their unconditional love and companionship and we are so honored to have a part in keeping them healthy and happy for their families. They are all so special with their unique personalities and we really enjoy having them and their wonderful owners in our “Ark Family”.

Our special thanks to the wonderful pets who posed for us today. Jake “B” is a glorious black and white Border Collie. (Jake-we all love you but you don’t need to get into anything to come and visit us….we promise!) Noah “L” is staying with us at the moment and he’s the cutest Yorkshire Terrier-we love those cute ears! Duncan “W/T” is a Scottish Deerhound mix who won us over the first day he arrived. He always comes to the counter and gives us a kiss! Honey “C” might be small but he is mighty in spirit. He’s cheeky and he did have time to kiss the photographer today.

We just wanted to share some of the terrific pets that we saw today.

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Dr. Chetica A. Maus & Staff

The Important Part Of Ark Animal Hospital-Our Patients!

This handsome boy is Nero. He had to say hello on arrival!





Meet Moose! Moose is a seasoned 11 year old who looks so kind and wise.


This is Micah who belongs to one of our staff members. We call him the Cowardly Lion (but not to his face!)

We just wanted to celebrate the reason that we are all here early and sometimes stay late…..these wonderful pets that mean so much to you….and to all of us at Ark Animal Hospital. Have a wonderful weekend everyone.

Dr. Chetica Maus and Staff

Images courtesy of Roxanne Sahlin©2013-All Rights Reserved