Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Pet Obesity - The Causes and Solutions


Definition:
Obesity (the storage of excess fat) is usually caused by excessive food intake and insufficient exercise.

- Estimates show that 40% to 50% of dogs are overweight and 25% of dogs are obese.
- Dogs can develop many obesity-related health problems.
- By examining your dog, veterinarians determine whether he or she is overweight or obese and help you create a weight-loss program.
- The most effective weight-loss plans involve increasing activity and feeding fewer calories.



Causes:
Obesity (the storage of excess fat) is typically caused by excessive food intake and insufficient exercise. According to estimates, 40% to 50% of dogs are overweight and 25% are obese. Obesity is more common in older, less active pets. Dogs that are fed homemade meals, table scraps and snacks are more likely to be overweight than dogs eating only a high-quality commercial pet food.

Obesity-related problems:
- Heart disease
- Reduced life span
- Knee problems (ruptured ligaments)
- Labored or difficult breathing
- Fatigue
- Greater risk for heatstroke
- Diabetes
- Joint problems, including arthritis
- Immune system problems
- Pancreas problems


Diagnosis and treatment
There are many obesity-related health problems, and some medical conditions can lead to obesity. So it’s important to take your dog in for annual checkups. Remember, you can’t judge if your dog is overweight merely by putting him or her on a scale. By examining your dog, veterinarians can use weight, overall body condition, and other indicators to tell you whether he or she is overweight or obese, what the probable cause is, and what the best weight-loss regimen is.

Don’t feel bad if you are told your dog is too heavy. Everyone knows that dieting can be challenging. But losing weight can help your dog live longer, avoid disease and feel better, so it is well worth the effort.

Get veterinary advice before changing your dog’s eating and exercise habits. Veterinarians are trained to recommend an appropriate diet and exercise program for safe weight loss. When helping your dog lose weight, slower is safer. “Crash” diets or intense workouts aren’t appropriate for inactive dogs. If your dog gained the weight slowly, he or she can lose it slowly.

The most effective weight-loss plans involve increasing activity and feeding fewer calories. The more convenient you make it, the better the chance of sticking with it.

When on a weight-loss program, your dog should lose 2% or less of its initial body weight per week. For example, a 100-pound dog should lose no more than 2 pounds every week. A successful weight-loss program may take a year or longer.


Diet:
There are several dietary strategies for helping your dog lose weight. One or more of the following may be recommended by your veterinary hospital. For all of these methods, it’s important to use an actual measuring cup (not an old coffee mug or drinking cup) to keep track of how much you’re feeding your dog.

Feed your dog smaller meals more often. This helps your dog burn more calories and should help minimize begging for food. However, don’t feed more food per day. Instead, divide your dog’s daily ration into three or more feedings.

Feed your dog less of its regular food per day. This strategy is most effective with increased activity. But check first with your veterinarian to ensure that your dog will receive the right amount of nutrients.

Instead of feeding your dog less, gradually switch him or her to a lower-calorie food recommended by your veterinarian. The change should be gradual; a sudden switch could upset your dog’s stomach. Combine the new food with your dog’s usual food in larger and larger proportions over several weeks until you are only providing the new food.

Give treats only on special occasions, such as birthdays, holidays, or good visits to the veterinarian. Offer low-calorie treats and limit or eliminate fattening ones.

Low-Calorie Dog Treats
- Apple slices
- Banana slices
- Carrot slices
- Green beans
- Lean meat (cooked)
- Melon chunks
- Packaged treats (low-calorie or formulated for a smaller dog)
- Pear slices
Do not feed your dog (or cat) grapes or raisins because they have reportedly caused kidney problems in pets.


Exercise
You can help your dog become more active and lose weight by scheduling regular play times and walks. Consult your veterinarian before beginning an exercise program for your dog. Not all games/exercise are appropriate for all breeds or medical conditions. For walks, start out slowly to give your dog a chance to adapt to an exercise routine. Work up to a brisk 10- to 20-minute walk or jog once or twice a day. On hot or cold days, go easy or rest. If you don’t have time to walk your dog, hire a dog walker. Doggy day care centers can also help ensure that your dog gets plenty of exercise throughout the day.

Here are some calorie-burning activities for your dog:
- Fetch
- Keep away
- Playing with other pets
- Walking or jogging
- Running off leash in a restricted area
- Swimming (great for arthritic dogs)
- Tricks for low-calorie treats
- Tug of war

Source: https://www.aaha.org/pet_owner/pet_health_library/dog_care/diseases_conditions/obesity.aspx

Monday, August 7, 2017

Pet Insurance: The Basics



Pet insurance is different from human health insurance in several ways, and that’s a good thing, because human health insurance can be extremely confusing. Compared to our health insurance policies, pet insurance:

Allows you to take your pet to whichever veterinarian you choose, as long as they’re licensed. There are no in- or out-of-network veterinarians.

Offers relatively simply policies. One policy might cover certain conditions, another might cover accidents, and another might cover both accidents and illnesses.

Has much lower premium costs (though they will likely increase as your pet ages, since they will be more susceptible to disease and injury).

Requires payment at the time that services are rendered. Following payment, you can file a claim with your pet insurance provider by sending them a copy of your invoice, and they’ll reimburse you within a couple of weeks.

Pet owners generally seem to be divided on whether pet insurance is worth the monthly premiums. Choosing insurance coverage for your pet is entirely up to you, however, and in the event that something catastrophic happens, insurance could be a financial lifesaver for you. Make sure that you do your research and ask lots of questions before committing to an insurance provider.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Lyme Borreliosis in Dogs

Lyme disease is one of the most common tick-transmitted diseases in the world but only causes symptoms in 5-10% of affected dogs. It is caused by a spirochete (bacteria) species of the Borrelia burgdorferi group. When infection leads to disease in dogs, the dominant clinical feature is recurrent lameness due to inflammation of the joints. There may also be a lack of appetite and depression. More serious complications include damage to the kidneys, and rarely, heart or nervous system disease.



Kidney disease appears to be more prevalent in Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, Shetland sheepdogs, and Bernese Mountain dogs. Experimentally, young dogs appear to be more susceptible to Lyme disease than older dogs. Transmission of the disease has been reported in dogs throughout the United States and Europe, but is most prevalent in the upper Midwestern states, the Atlantic seaboard, and the Pacific coastal states.


Symptoms of Lyme Disease in Dogs

Many dogs who develop Lyme disease have recurrent lameness due to inflammation of the joints. Sometimes the lameness lasts for only three to four days but recurs days to weeks later, either in the same leg or in other legs. This is known as “shifting-leg lameness.” One or more joints may be swollen, warm, and painful.

Some dogs may also develop kidney problems. Lyme disease sometimes leads to glomerulonephritis – inflammation and accompanying dysfunction of the kidney's glomeruli (essentially, a blood filter). Eventually, kidney failure may set in as the dog begins to exhibit such signs as vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, weight loss, increased urination and thirst, and abnormal fluid buildups.

Other symptoms associated with Lyme disease in dogs include:
 - Stiff walk with an arched back
 - Sensitivity to touch
 - Difficulty breathing
 - Fever, lack of appetite, and depression
 - Superficial lymph nodes close to the site of the infecting tick bite may be swollen
 - Heart abnormalities are reported, but rare
 - Nervous system complications (rare)


Causes of Lyme Disease in Dogs

Borrelia burgdorferi, which is the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease in dogs, is transmitted by slow-feeding, hard-shelled deer ticks (Ixodes spp.). Infection typically occurs after the Borrelia-carrying tick has been attached to the dog for at 2-3 days.


Diagnosing Lyme Disease in Dogs

 You will need to give a thorough history of your dog's health, including a background of symptoms and possible incidents that might have precipitated them. The history you provide may give your veterinarian clues as to which organs are being affected. Your veterinarian may run some combination of blood chemistry tests, a complete blood cell count, a urinalysis, fecal examinations, X-rays, and tests specific to diagnosing Lyme disease (e.g., serology). Fluid from the affected joints may also be drawn for analysis.

 There are many causes for arthritis, and your veterinarian will focus on differentiating arthritis initiated by Lyme disease from other inflammatory arthritic disorders, such as trauma, degenerative joint disease, or osteochondrosis dissecans (a condition found in large, fast growing breeds of puppies). Immune-mediated diseases will also be considered as a possible cause of the symptoms. An X-ray of the painful joints will allow your doctor to examine the bones for abnormalities.


Treating Dog Lyme Disease

If the diagnosis is Lyme disease, your dog will be treated as an outpatient unless their condition is unstable (e.g., severe kidney disease). Doxycycline is the most common antibiotic that is prescribed for Lyme disease, but others are also available and effective.  The recommended treatment length is usually four weeks, but longer courses may be necessary in some cases. Your veterinarian may also prescribe an anti-inflammatory (pain reliever) if your dog is especially uncomfortable.
 Unfortunately, antibiotic treatment does not always completely eliminate infection with Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. Symptoms may resolve but then return at a later date, and the development of kidney disease in the future is always a worry.


Living and Management

Improvement in sudden (acute) inflammation of the joints caused by Borrelia should be seen within three to five days of antibiotic treatment. If there is no improvement within three to five days, your veterinarian will want to reevaluate your dog.


Preventing Lyme Disease in Dogs

If possible, avoid allowing your dog to roam in tick-infested environments where Lyme disease is common. Check your dog’s coat and skin daily and remove ticks by hand. We can also recommend a variety of sprays, collars, and spot-on topical products that kill and repel ticks. Such products should be used under your veterinarian’s supervision and according to the label's directions. We also offer the Lyme vaccine, and encourage you to contact us for more information regarding this vaccine and our tick control products. You can reach us at (412) 882-3070.

Source: http://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/infectious-parasitic/c_dg_lyme_disease.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Summer Safety Tips for Pets

"It’s summertime and the living is easy," or so goes the Sam Cooke song. Summertime means fun, sun, and hopefully lots of play outdoors. But as much fun as summer can be for you and your pet, there are a few safety tips that will hopefully make the warmest of all seasons safe and carefree for all concerned.




Apply Sunscreen

That’s right, you should apply sunscreen on your pet if he or she spends more than just a few minutes outside every day in the hot summer sun. Pets with light skin and short or thin hair coat are particularly prone to sunburn or skin cancer. The sunscreen should be fragrance free, non-staining, and contain UVA and UVB barriers similar to sunscreens made for humans. Consult your veterinarian, but there are some sunscreens available made specifically for pets.

Provide Plenty of Water, Plenty of Shade

Dehydration in dogs and cats is a real possibility during the summer, especially if your pet is the type to run and play outside for extended periods without drinking sufficient water. Telltale signs of dehydration include dry gums, loss of skin elasticity, excessive drooling. Don't let it come to this. Give your active pet plenty of playtime breaks in the shade with access to fresh water.

Don't Leave 'Fluffy' in the Car

You may think leaving your pet in a car for a few minutes is no big deal, but it can quickly lead to heat stroke in dogs and cats. In bright sunshine, your car acts like an oven, becoming much hotter inside than the outside air even. In fact, on a sunny 70 degree day, your car can heat up to over 100 degrees within minutes. So, either take your pet with you or leave him or her at home during shopping trips.

Watch for Unknown Grassy Knolls

Pets love to run, play and just investigate grassy areas. But did you know many lawns are treated with fertilizers and pesticides during the summer? Keep your pet safe this summer by keeping them off unknown grassy areas or find a safe spot in your neighborhood or city, like a dog park. Remember, not all grass is created equal.

Avoid Antifreeze

Even though antifreeze is something to watch out for year round, cars tend to overheat more and leak antifreeze during the summer. Pets find it delicious and even in very small amounts antifreeze is poisonous to dogs and cats. So be attentive when walking your dog around the neighborhood or letting your outdoor cat roam the streets.

Sources: http://www.petmd.com/dog/slideshows/care/summer-safety-tips-for-dogs-pets

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Microchipping: What You Need to Know


Despite your best efforts, accidents can happen. Someone leaves a door ajar, an intrepid pooch digs under a fence, and your best intentions go awry: Your pet escapes and gets lost. If he's wearing a collar and identification tag, chances are good that you’ll get him back.

But what if the collar comes off?

To protect their pets, many owners turn to technology, in the form of identification microchips implanted in their pets. Microchips are tiny transponders, about the size of a grain of rice, that can be implanted in your pet's skin by many veterinarians and animal shelters; some shelters implant one in all pets they place.

Microchips are a good back-up option for pet identification, but should never be the main one.

Reading a microchip takes a special scanner, one that an animal control officer or shelter will have, but your neighbor down the street will not. And if Fido wanders off, it's likely to be a private citizen who encounters him first. That's why, in the event of accidental separation, identification tags are your pet's first ticket home. That said, microchips provide an extra level of protection in case your pet loses his collar and tags. Providing your pets with both tags and a microchip can help ensure a happy reunion if the unthinkable happens.


How and where are microchips placed?

Microchips are implanted just under the skin, usually right between the shoulder blades. This is done with a large-bore needle and doesn't require anesthesia.


How they work?

Each microchip contains a registration number and the phone number of the registry for the particular brand of chip. A handheld scanner reads the radio frequency of the chip and displays this information. An animal shelter or vet clinic that finds your pet can contact the registry to get your name and phone number.


Can a microchip get lost inside my pet?

Your pet's subcutaneous tissue usually bonds to the chip within 24 hours, preventing it from moving. There's a small chance that the chip could migrate to another part of the body, but it can't actually get lost.


How long do microchips last?

Microchips are designed to work for 25 years.


Where can I get my pet microchipped?

Many veterinarians and some animal shelters implant microchips for a small fee. But—and this is very important—just getting a microchip isn't enough—you also need to register your pet with the microchip company.


How do I register my pet?

Complete the paperwork that comes with the chip and send it to the registry, or do it online if that option is available. Some companies charge a one-time registration fee while others charge an annual fee. You’ll also receive a tag for your pet’s collar with the chip number and registry phone number.


Are there different types of chips?

Yes, and that used to be a problem. Competing microchip companies use different frequencies to send signals to scanners, and until recently there was no universal scanner that could read all the different frequencies. That was a problem if a pet had a microchip that a particular scanner couldn't detect. Many microchip companies now produce universal scanners and provide them to animal shelters and animal control agencies at no or very low cost. If your local shelters don’t have scanners, they can contact some of the major manufacturers to ask about getting one.


Are there different registries?

Yes, and that, too, used to be problematic. Different chip companies maintained separate databases. Now, some chip companies will register pets with any brand of chip Also, the American Microchip Advisory Council is working to develop a network of the registry databases to streamline the return of pets to their families.

To obtain a lifetime license for a microchipped pet, the owner must have the microchip implanted by a licensed veterinarian or kennel owner, and receive a Permanent ID Verification Form from that individual. This form must be taken to the Country Treasurer’s Office within 30 days of having your pet microchipped. If not returned within 30 days of issuance, the form is void. To obtain a lifetime license for a pet that was previously microchipped, the owner must have them scanned by a licensed veterinarian or kennel owner to obtain the microchip number. The licensed veterinarian or kennel owner must complete the Permanent ID form, which needs to be turned in to the Country Treasurer’s Office within 30 days of scanning the microchip. If the form is not returned during that time, the form is void and the pet remains unlicensed.



Can a microchip replace my pet's collar and tags?

No. Despite advances in universal scanners and registry procedures, microchips aren't foolproof, and you shouldn't rely on them exclusively to protect your pet. Universal scanners can detect a competing company's chip, but they may not be able to read the data. And if shelter or vet clinic personnel don’t use the scanner properly, they may fail to detect a chip.


What if I move?

You need to contact the company that registers the chip to update your information; otherwise, the chip will be useless. You may be charged a small fee to process the update.


What do I do if I adopt a pet who's already been microchipped?

If you know what brand of chip your pet has, contact the corresponding registry to update the information. If you don’t know what type of chip your pet has, find a vet or animal shelter that can read it.




SOURCE: http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/microchips.html

Monday, March 27, 2017

How CCL Injuries Affect Dogs

Damage to the cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) is the most common cause of canine hind limb lameness and is a major cause of degenerative joint disease in the stifle (knee) joint of companion dogs. The cranial cruciate ligament is critical to stabilizing a dog’s stifle, which is the equivalent of the human knee. When the CCL is torn, the upper ends of the two long lower leg bones (the tibia and fibula, like the shin bone in people) become loose within the knee joint, causing abnormal friction, wear and tear. This, in turn, leads to joint swelling (effusion), stifle joint instability, pain, lameness in the affected rear legs and, ultimately, chronic irreversible degenerative joint changes. Dogs with ruptured CCLs will become lame suddenly, because of the pain associated with this injury. They may feel better after rest, but once they rise, walk around or exercise, the pain will return, as will the lameness. They will just plainly hurt.


Symptoms of CCL Injury

The outward signs of cruciate damage depend upon the severity of the injury, which can range from a partial tear to a complete rupture of the affected ligament. Without surgical correction and appropriate post-operative management, the effects of CCL injuries can progress and become permanent. Most owners of dogs with cranial cruciate ligament injuries first notice a sudden onset of lameness or limping in one or both rear legs. Most of these injuries happen when a dog is romping, roughhousing, running, playing, jumping or engaging in other enthusiastic antics. Owners often report that their dog suddenly stumbled, possibly yelped and then “came up lame.” However, the affected ligament probably experienced excessive wear and tear well before observable signs of damage became apparent.

Symptoms of this condition that owners may notice include:
- Lameness in one or both hind legs; may be non-weight-bearing; may come and go; may come on very suddenly
- Limping or reluctance to use one or both hind limbs, which worsens with exercise and improves with rest
- Weakness
- Abnormal posture, especially over the back and hip areas
- Reluctance to rise, run or jump
- Morning stiffness that takes time to “warm out of”
- Sitting at an odd angle, with a hind leg slanted off to one side
- Swelling (effusion) around the stifle joint
- Atrophy (withering away) of the muscles of the affected limb

All or only some of these signs may be noticed by owners. However, regardless of the severity of the injury, the signs of CCL damage usually become worse if they are not treated, because the pain felt by the dog increases as the stifle joint progressively deteriorates.
Dogs At Increased Risk

All breeds and both genders are susceptible to this injury. Rottweilers, Labrador Retrievers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Newfoundlands and other active, large-breed dogs seem to be at an increased risk of suffering from CCL damage. Most affected animals are in good body condition and are not systemically ill at the time of their injury. Rupture of the CCL can happen in any dog at any age, but it is more likely to occur in young, active animals. When a cruciate ligament ruptures in one leg, there is an increased chance that the CCL in the other leg will eventually become compromised, probably because of the increased weight that will be required to support the other leg as it heals.


Goals of Treating Canine CCL Injuries

When a dog suddenly comes up lame in one or both hind legs, its owner should take it to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Left untreated, damage to the stifle (knee) joint usually is progressively degenerative; any chance of reasonable recovery wanes without treatment. A dog that favors an injured leg for a long period of time also runs a significant risk of eventually damaging some part of its “good” leg, because it is being over-used. The goals of treating canine cruciate ligament (CCL) injuries are to relieve pain, improve stability and function of the stifle joint and minimize the progression of degenerative changes.
Treatment Options

Dogs that injure their cranial cruciate ligament suddenly (acutely) should start medical management as soon as the injury is diagnosed. “Medical management” means treatment with medication and other sorts of supportive care. Conservative medical management of CCL injuries includes administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), subcutaneous or intravenous fluids, rest, exercise restriction and possibly corticosteroid therapy. Steroids should not be given at the same time as NSAIDs, because severe gastrointestinal and other adverse side effects can occur when these two types of drugs are combined. Sometimes, medical management without surgery is all that is needed for small dogs, older dogs or dogs whose CCL is only stretched or partially torn. However, in most cases, surgical stabilization of the stifle joint is the only effective way to treat this injury and reduce the risk of future degenerative damage to the joint. Torn or ruptured cruciate ligaments will not re-attach or re-grow without surgical intervention.

There are a number of surgical options for stabilizing the stifle joint, and more are being developed all the time. Some of the current techniques include intra-articular grafts, extra-capsular suture stabilization, tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO), tibial tubercle advancement (TTA), arthroscopic reconstruction and medial meniscal release. A detailed description of these surgical techniques is beyond the scope of this article. A dog’s veterinarian is the best one to assess its injuries and select the best surgical procedure in any given case. Frequently, a general practitioner will consult with or refer the dog to a veterinary orthopedic specialist, because selection of the “best” surgical technique remains controversial even among experts.

After surgery, the dog normally will be managed medically with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and possibly other drugs or supplements to promote healthy cartilage repair (these are called “chondroprotective agents”). A number of chondroprotective supplements are available, both over-the-counter and by veterinary prescription, to help keep cartilage and joints well-lubricated. These include polysulfated glycosaminoglycans, glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, hyaluronan, Vitamin C, omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and MSM, among others. These can be quite effective in reducing inflammation and relieving pain.

In many cases, good dietary management and weight loss alone can dramatically reduce the pain and other symptoms that accompany CCL damage, as overweight dogs tend to suffer more from this injury than do fit dogs. Moderate, regulated exercise and/or exercise restriction can stimulate cartilage growth and help delay joint degeneration, and long controlled walks in early or mild cases of CCL damage may help prevent loss of rear muscle mass. Physical therapy, hydrotherapy (swimming and other water exercises), passive flexion and extension of the affected limb and controlled low-impact on-leash walks often are incorporated into the recovery process. It takes a long time – often months – for a dog to heal from CCL surgery. During much of that time, the dog should be strictly confined and only walked outside on a leash to potty.

Other, less traditional techniques that may or may not benefit affected dogs, in addition to medical treatment, might include: massage therapy to stimulate blood flow to the stifle area and reduce joint stress; application of acupuncture and/or acupressure techniques; use of herbal or other non-regulated supplements or homeopathic “remedies”; and other forms of supportive care that may help to ease pain, increase circulation, speed healing and otherwise promote wellness, relaxation and comfort. Some of these adjunct approaches lack controlled studies of their effectiveness and may not have established quality control methods or ways to assess their benefit to dogs with partially or totally torn or ruptured cranial cruciate ligaments. Chiropractic adjustment or manipulation of dogs with musculoskeletal conditions is highly controversial among veterinary professionals, unless it is performed by or under the direct supervision of a veterinarian with orthopedic expertise.
Prognosis

Dogs that undergo surgical correction of injured cruciate ligaments have a very good prognosis for return to long-term, pain-free function. Stabilization of the stifle joint, post-operative treatment with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, and judicious rehabilitation typically result in rapid resolution of the pain that caused the lameness. If joint effusion (swelling) and discomfort persist, some dogs respond well to steroid therapy at immunosuppressive levels (but not at the same time as NSAIDs are being administered). Owners should know that following damage to the CCL in one leg, the other leg is at a greatly increased risk of suffering a similar injury – even if the first injury is surgically corrected. The contralateral (or “good”) limb is forced to bear an unusually large amount of additional weight, stress, wear and tear before surgery on the “bad” limb takes place, and also during the long recovery process, which typically takes months.




Source: http://www.petwave.com/Dogs/Health/ACL-Injuries/Symptoms.aspx

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Common Household Dangers for Pets

Many common household items can pose a threat to our animal companions—even some items specifically meant for pets could cause health problems.

To protect your pet, simply use common sense and take the same precautions you would with a child.

Although rodent poisons and insecticides are the most common sources of companion animal poisoning, the following list of less common, but potentially toxic, agents should be avoided if at all possible.



Dangers just outside your door
Antifreeze that contains ethylene glycol has a sweet taste that attracts animals but is deadly if consumed in even small quantities; one teaspoon can kill a seven-pound cat. The HSUS recommends pet owners use a safe antifreeze in their vehicles. Look for antifreeze that contains propylene glycol, which is safe for animals if ingested in small amounts. Ethylene glycol can also be found in common household products like snow globes, so be sure to keep these things out the reach of animals. Read more about antifreeze hazards »
Cocoa mulch contains ingredients that can be deadly to pets if ingested. The mulch, sold in garden supply stores, has a chocolate scent that is appetizing to some animals.
Chemicals used on lawns and gardens, such as fertilizer and plant food, can be easily accessible and fatal to a pet allowed in the yard unsupervised.
De-icing salts used to melt snow and ice are paw irritants that can be poisonous if licked off. Paws should be washed and dried as soon as the animal comes in from the snow. Other options include doggie boots with Velcro straps to protect Fido's feet, and making cats indoor pets.
Cans and garbage can pose a danger when cats or smaller dogs attempt to lick food from a disposed can, sometimes getting their head caught inside the can. To be sure this doesn't happen, squeeze the open end of the can closed before disposing.
Traps and poisons Pest control companies frequently use glue traps, live traps and poisons to kill rodents. Even if you would never use such methods to eliminate rodents, your neighbor might. Dogs and cats can be poisoned if they eat a rodent who has been killed by poison (called secondary poisoning).
Threats inside the house
Cedar and other soft wood shavings, including pine, emit fumes that may be dangerous to small mammals like hamsters and gerbils.
Insect control products, such as the insecticides used in many over-the-counter flea and tick remedies, may be toxic to companion animals. Prescription flea and tick control products are much safer and more effective. Pet owners should never use any product without first consulting a veterinarian. Read more about potential poisoning from flea and tick products »
Human medications, such as pain killers (including aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen), cold medicines, anti-cancer drugs, anti-depressants, vitamins and diet pills can all be toxic to animals. 
Keep medicine containers and tubes of ointments and creams away from pets who could chew through them, and be vigilant about finding and disposing of any dropped pills.

Poisonous household plants, including azalea, dieffenbachia (dumb cane), lilies, mistletoe and philodendron. See our full list of poisonous plants »
String, yarn, rubber bands and even dental floss are easy to swallow and can cause intestinal blockages or strangulation.
Toys with movable parts—like squeaky toys or stuffed animals with plastic eyes—can pose a choking hazard to animals. Take the same precautions with pets as you would with a small child.
Rawhide dog chews may be contaminated with Salmonella, which can infect pets and humans who come in contact with the chews. This kind of treat should be offered to a pet only with supervision, as they can pose a choking hazard as well.
Chocolate is poisonous to dogs, cats and ferrets. Read more about why chocolate is dangerous to dogs in this FDA PDF »

Fumes from nonstick cooking surfaces and self-cleaning ovens can be deadly to birds. Always be cautious when using any pump or aerosol spray around birds.
Leftovers, such as chicken bones, might shatter and choke a cat or dog. Human foods to keep away from pets include onions and onion powder; alcoholic beverages; yeast dough; coffee grounds and beans; salt; macadamia nuts; tomato, potato and rhubarb leaves and stems; avocados (toxic to birds, mice, rabbits, horses, cattle and dairy goats); grapes; and anything with mold growing on it. See our full list of people foods that might harm pets »
Tools for keeping your pet safe

The HSUS recommends that pet owners use all household products with caution. We also recommend that you put together a pet first aid kit (for dogs and cats) and have a manual readily available.

If all of your precautions fail, and you believe that your pet has been poisoned, contact your veterinarian or emergency veterinary service immediately. Signs of poisoning include listlessness, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle tremors, lack of coordination and fever.

You can also call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 888-426-4435 for a fee of $65 per case. If you call the hotline, be prepared to provide the name of the poison your animal was exposed to; the amount and how long ago; the species, breed, age, sex and weight of your pet; and the symptoms your pet is displaying. You'll also be asked to provide your name, address, phone number and credit card information.

Source: http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/common_household_dangers_pets.html