September 9, 2020 TVAH

Why You Shouldn’t Treat Your Pets Exactly Like Children

Many pet owners lovingly refer to their dogs and cats as their “furbabies” or our “furchildren”. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that. And for many of us, caring for a pet fills our need for nurturing another living creature. But there are some cases in which treating your pet exactly like a human child could be dangerous for them, so we wanted to warn you about those situations.

Car safety is not the same. Humans wear seatbelts, of course, and small children ride in car seats. We occasionally see photos of dogs (and even a cat or two) strapped into the seat just like a human. These photos are amusing – and fine to take while parked in your driveway, as a joke – but they do not accurately represent proper vehicle safety.

Since seatbelts are not made for an animal’s body proportions, they can go flying or tumbling in the event of an accident. Dogs and cats should always ride in an appropriate travel kennel to keep them safe.

Human food is not pet food. Dogs and cats can beg quite convincingly, and those pangs of guilt might have you feeling tempted to share your favorite foods. But some of your favorite snacks can be toxic for your pets, so double check on those items before sharing.

You already know about chocolate, but did you know raisins, onions, and anything with artificial sweeteners can harm your pet? The ASPCA has published a list of foods that are poisonous to your pet, that you can check before sharing your snacks.

Human medications are often not for animals… And when they are, dosage is different. If your pet seems just a little under the weather, you might feel tempted to give them some over-the-counter medication to address symptoms. You should know that many medications that are safe for humans are toxic for animals!

For example, anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen and Naproxen are highly toxic and can cause acute kidney failure in pets.

Other “human” medications, like Benadryl, can be used safely but the dosages vary wildly from ours. Don’t attempt to administer any medication without a veterinarian’s guidance.

And yes, some of your favorite herbal remedies, and even essential oils, can be great for you but terrible for your furry friend. Always call us for advice before using any over-the-counter or “natural” medications for your pet. We can identify safe remedies along with the appropriate dosage.

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