March 30, 2021 — This story was released in 2019 to help pet owners make it a safe Easter for pets. This Easter is very different from 2019’s, but some of these reminders are still applicable for community members planning on bringing at least a few Easter traditions into the home on Sunday.
LILIES, CHOCOLATE HARMFUL TO PETS; OTHER EASTER PET SAFETY REMINDERS
March 25, 2019
By: Gina Lattuca, SPCA Chief Communications Officer
The SPCA Serving Erie County reminds pet owners that chocolate and Easter lilies can be harmful, even deadly, to pets.
All parts of the Easter lily, day lily, tiger lily, rubrum lily, and others are toxic to felines. Ingesting even a small amount of the plant can result in kidney failure and, if untreated, death. Shortly after ingestion, a cat may vomit, become lethargic, or develop a lack of appetite. As the kidney damage progresses, these signs worsen. In most cases, a cat must be treated within mere hours of ingesting the plant, or damage to the kidneys will be irreversible.
Most chocolate contains high amounts of fat and methylxanthine alkaloids (theobromine and caffeine) that cause constriction of arteries, increased heart rate, and central nervous system/cardiac muscle stimulation.
These effects can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, excessive panting and thirst, hyperactivity, increased urinating, stiffness, and exaggerated reflexes. Cardiac failure, seizures, coma, and death can result if the chocolate ingestion is not found within four to six hours and treated appropriately.
*Thinking about bringing a bunny into the home? Check out this important article from the SPCA’s former Rabbit Coordinator Mark Schnerle and the House Rabbit Society. You’ll see the truth about the nine most common bunny myths, you’ll learn how to select the right rabbit for you and your family, and more!
*If you color your Easter eggs, ensure the food colorings or dyes do not contain ingredients that are toxic to pets. And speaking of eggs, why risk salmonella by including raw eggs in your pets’ diet? Cooked eggs will offer them the same nutritional benefit.
*Check candy for the ingredient XYLITOL, extremely toxic to dogs even in very small amounts. Xylitol is a low-calorie sugar alcohol used as a sweetener, and does not raise human blood sugar levels or damage teeth. However, it’s extremely toxic to dogs and can cause liver failure, seizures, and death.
*Keep Easter basket ‘grass’ and foil candy wrappers away from pets. These items are non-digestible and can get caught in the intestines, leading to blockage and possible perforation. They can lead to choking, strangulation, and even worse, an internal obstruction.
*If you’re using garlic, onions, or chives in meal preparation, be extra careful about ensuring your pets aren’t sneaking a taste. These items are toxic to both cats and dogs and can cause gastroenteritis and hemolytic anemia. Adding to the risk is the fact that signs of both may not appear for several days. Signs of toxicity include increased heart/breathing rates, pale gums, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, and lethargy.
*Tempted to share holiday table scraps with Fido or Fluffy? Use discretion. Be aware of bones in the mix. And don’t overfeed your animal with table food to which he’s not accustomed…diarrhea is never a pleasant thing with which to deal, especially on a holiday.
*Be careful in selecting spring plants for the home. The foliage, flower, or pod of daffodils can cause upset tummies, vomiting, or diarrhea; flower heads of hydrangeas can cause stomach pains, vomiting, and weakness; the seeds and pods of wisteria can cause all of the above plus dehydration and collapse; even ivy is toxic and can cause breathing difficulty, coma, or death.
*Be sure curious pets are not able to get at a garbage bag! Even if harmful items are properly disposed of, an unsupervised pet can chew through a plastic garbage bag and still have access to raw bones and other waste.
Contact your veterinarian for more information. In an after-hours or holiday veterinary emergency, you can reach an emergency veterinary clinic at 716-839-4043 in Cheektowaga, or 716-662-6660 in Orchard Park.
NO BONES ABOUT IT…KEEP PETS SAFE THIS THANKSGIVING
November 23, 2020
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca
Yes, Thanksgiving looks very different this year than in years past. No matter how small the celebrations, however, many people are still planning on preparing holiday meals, and those delicious smells are enough to drive any four-legged critter into a food frenzy. The SPCA Serving Erie County has issued these holiday reminders to keep your pets safe, slim, and trim:
HUNGRY PETS: Too many holiday treats won’t only pack the pounds on us…they’ll pack them on our pets. Many pets are on standard, limited diets; feeding them large quantities of food they don’t normally receive could cause abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea, none of which are welcome during this festive holiday…or at any other time, for that matter. Use discretion. Turkey bones are also dangerous for pets. A brittle, spiky bone could cause irritation of the stomach or intestines, or could lodge in your pet’s esophagus.
NOTE: Dogs eating foods to which they’re not accustomed may experience BLOAT, a life-threatening condition. Dogs experiencing bloat may have difficulty breathing, may appear weak and/or depressed, may attempt to vomit but cannot, and/or may appear to be extremely uncomfortable for no apparent reason. If your pet exhibits signs of bloat, bring him to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Speak with your veterinarian for more information on this condition.
NO BREAD FOR BARNEY: Think twice before leaving that homemade bread dough atop the oven to rise. According to the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center, when bread dough is ingested, an animal’s body heat causes the dough to rise in the stomach. As alcohol is produced during the rising process, the dough expands. Pets who have eaten bread dough may experience abdominal pain, vomiting, disorientation and depression.
PEANUT BUTTER WARNING: Using peanut butter as a holiday treat for your pet? Remember to check the label! Xylitol is a sugar substitute now added to some peanut butters, along with other foods and candies. It’s safe for most humans, but deadly to pets, even in small quantities! Be sure to check labels for Xylitol or other ingredients that could be dangerous for your pet. It’s also a bad idea to give any animal caffeine-laced peanut butter or other foods; serious health problems could ensue.
GARBAGE PICKERS? Some animals patiently wait for the chance to pick through the garbage when you’re not around. Aluminum foils with juices, plastic wraps with frostings, even tasty strings from tying turkeys…well, the temptation can just be too much for your deprived pets. Keep your garbage bags away from where pets can chew through them to get to the goods. Ingestion of these items can be life-threatening.
SWEET TEMPTATIONS: CHOCOLATE CAN BE FATAL TO PETS! Chocolate contains a substance called Theobromine, a compound very similar to caffeine in structure. Theobromine can be toxic to dogs and cats in small quantities, causing vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, seizures, rapid and irregular heartbeats, muscle tremors, coma, even death. Keep chocolate safely away from all animals.
POTPOURRI PROBLEMS: Of course we want our homes to smell nice when guests arrive…but be mindful that liquid and other types of potpourri, especially sprinkled into rugs, along with many scented essential candles and oils are toxic to dogs, cats, even birds and other animals.
For additional holiday medical reminders, speak with your veterinarian, or call the SPCA’s Lipsey Clinic: 716-531-4700.
SPCA Treats Pet Owners to Tricks for Keeping Pets Safe This Halloween
October 22, 2020
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca
WITH A FEW EXTRA PRECAUTIONS, PETS CAN HAVE A HAPPY HALLOWEEN TOO!
Halloween is meant to be fun for children of all ages, but according to the SPCA Serving Erie County, pets often experience the dark side of Halloween fun. With extra precautions, seasonal problems can often be avoided:
-HUNGRY PETS: CHOCOLATE CAN BE FATAL TO YOUR PET! Please share this tip with children, who may be tempted to share their Halloween take with their best four-footed friends! The sweet smell of Halloween chocolate and other candy left by a door pleases pets, as do cookies and cakes served at Halloween parties. Sweets can cause diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain or worse. Purchase Halloween treats made specifically for pets and keep the “people” treats away from where pets can reach them.
-PETS AS VICTIMS: Halloween is traditionally known for trick-or-treaters…and pranksters. KEEP ALL PETS INSIDE on Halloween night, and the nights immediately preceding and following October 31. This will prevent them from being stolen, teased, kicked, blinded by flashlights or abused in other ways.
-NERVOUS/TERRITORIAL PETS: Constant door-knocking or doorbell-ringing may cause an extremely nervous pet to shake or tremble uncontrollably, or have an “accident” in the house. Territorial pets may become aggressive at the sound of unfamiliar visitors. Keep nervous or territorial pets distracted in another room with the door closed.
-CURIOUS PETS: Keep pets away from costume-making areas, where sequins or buttons can be swallowed. Scissors used for cutting patterns, or knives used for carving jack o’lanterns, can harm your pet. Also remember to keep pets away from a candle-illuminated jack o’lantern. Halloween has become a popular season for decorations as well. Keep decorations out of your pet’s reach, or securely attached in place to prevent your pet from pulling the decorations down. Swallowing a decorative object may cause intestinal problems and present a potential emergency.
-KEEP CURRENT ID ON PETS: Exuberant or nervous pets may bolt out doors opened for trick-or-treat candy handouts. Ensure they are wearing proper identification (even if they are microchipped) in case they become lost. Collars are available for purchase at the SPCA Petique, located at the 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca shelter, and other pet supply shops. If you lose or find a pet, visit the SPCA’s Lost & Found page for tips on what to do next.
Contact the SPCA Serving Erie County with any questions or concerns: 716-875-7360.
The SPCA Serving Erie County has revised its COVID-19 phase adoption policies. This new policy was put into effect July 6, 2020. Please note, while we are waiving the need for adoption appointments for cats and small animals at this time, we may revert to adoption appointments for these animals again in the future. The current adoption policy is as follows:
THANK YOU FOR CONSIDERING THE SPCA SERVING ERIE COUNTY WHEN YOU DECIDED TO BRING HOME A NEW FAMILY MEMBER!
FOR YOUR PROTECTION AND OURS, THE SPCA SERVING ERIE COUNTY WILL REMAIN CONSISTENT WITH OCCUPANCY GUIDELINES DURING OUR COVID-19 RESPONSE PHASE. FACE MASKS ARE REQUIRED!
-Except for cats, bunnies, & other small animal adoptions, an adoption appointment is required to enter the Adoptions Lobby.
-To make an adoption appointment for any type of animal besides cats, bunnies, and other small animals, please call 716-875-7360, ext. 207. Please understand it may take up to 48 business hours to receive a return call. With the exception of required “meet and greets” with pets at home, animals cannot be placed on hold.
-Beginning July 6, it is not necessary to make an adoption appointment for cats, bunnies, and other small animals ONLY. This may change at any time, and we may revert to appointment adoptions for cats/small animals.
-Upon entering the building, it is imperative that you sign in with contact information. We require the name of every guest in your party, including children, for tracing purposes.
-Three people will be allowed per guest pass in the cat room or small animal areas, which means only 3 family members or friends should come together to the SPCA to adopt. Please remember if you are planning to adopt a cat/small animal, only three people per party will be allowed on each guest pass.
-Five families (5 guest passes) will be allowed in the cat/small animal adoption areas at any given time.
-Each guest pass allows a family one hour in the cat/small animal adoption areas to help accommodate all potential adopters and increase the number of animals who find homes each day. (Please note: time limits with adoptable animals are only being enforced during our COVID-19 Response phase. Normally, we encourage visitors to spend as long as possible with an animal prior to adoption!)
-If you are here to adopt a cat, bunny, or other small animal and the maximum number of people are present in the cat/small animal rooms, you have the opportunity to wait in a small overflow area in our lobby or, if you prefer not to wait there or if that area is filled, outdoors. Your sign-in information determines the order of admission into the building. If you choose to wait outdoors, we will call you on your mobile phone when it is your turn to visit!
-Wait times will vary depending on shelter population, so please plan accordingly. Traditionally, the busiest adoption day is Saturday, so if you plan to visit Saturday, please allow yourself enough wait time and understand the cat/small animal visitation 1-hour time limit described above.
-Adoption hours remain 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The final appointment(s) for adoption will be made at 3 p.m. Our final group of potential adopters will be allowed in adoption areas one hour prior to closing.
-We may not be able to accommodate everyone on any given day. Depending on the number of people who have arrived at the shelter before you, it is possible you will not be able to see animals on the day you visit. Believe us, we don’t like it either. We’re in the business of placing these animals in new homes…including YOURS! But we understand, and hope you understand, this is for your safety as well as the safety of our volunteers and staff members.
-See animals available for adoption on this page! Remember, our population changes several times each day, so you’ll want to check back frequently!
THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE AS WE WORK TOGETHER TO KEEP PEOPLE & ANIMALS SAFE & HEALTHY!
–Gina Lattuca, SPCA Serving Erie County Chief Communications Officer
SPCA Issues Hot Weather Reminders Designed to Keep Pets Safe
July 5, 2020
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca
Buffalo has moved full-speed-ahead into hot weather, with temperatures this week predicted to surpass 90 degrees. While many are happy with the warm weather forecast, it’s important to remember pets don’t fare as well as some of their owners on these hot days. Please keep the following hot weather pets tips in mind and share with pet owners you know:
HEATSTROKE CAN KILL, AND FAST. Most pet owners realize that keeping pets in hot cars can kill them…but not many realize just how quickly the effects of heatstroke can set in for a dog or cat. Heatstroke is a condition animals begin to suffer gradually, but it accelerates quickly; it’s easy for early signs of heatstroke to go unrecognized, and for the pet to be in an emergency situation within mere minutes.
On warm days, a vehicle acts like an oven. It holds the heat inside, and that heat becomes very intense even on days that don’t seem too warm. On an 85-degree day, for example, even with the windows open, the temperature inside a car can climb to 102 degrees in 10 minutes, and to 120 degrees in 30 minutes. With the humidity we experience here in Buffalo, it may go even higher. Because a dog’s normal body temperature is 101-102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, he can withstand a body temperature of 107-108 degrees for only a very short time before suffering irreparable brain damage…or death.
The typical signs of heatstroke are:
– Panting – High body temperature
– Dehydration – Red mouth/eye membranes
– Rapid, irregular heart rate – Diarrhea
– Weakness, looking dazed – Coma
If your pet begins exhibiting any of these signs, contact a veterinarian immediately.
Also, use caution during warm weather months when allowing animals outside for short sessions in yards or on porches. Never leave them outside extended periods of time. Ensure appropriate shade and water are always available. Keep close supervision on your pet when outdoors on hot, humid, sunny summer days. If you see an animal left on a porch or in a yard with no access to shelter, or with inadequate shelter, the SPCA may be able to intervene in accordance with New York State’s Animal Shelter Law. Contact the SPCA immediately if the location is within Erie County. During our current COVID Response phase, contact the SPCA Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., at 716-875-7360, ext. 214. During the hours of 4 p.m. – 8 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., please call 716-449-0363. Read more about the Animal Shelter Law here.
And remember…pets can get sunburned too. Speak with your veterinarian about applying sunblock to your pet’s sun-sensitive areas, such as nose and ears, even when the animal is only outdoors for short sessions.
ADMINISTER FLEA PREVENTION PRODUCTS CORRECTLY! Early last June, the SPCA received two cats on death’s door after cheap, incorrect flea products purchased from deep discount stores were applied. The SPCA has already received several phone calls this season from people who misapplied flea products to their pets. DO NOT APPLY PRODUCTS MEANT FOR DOGS ON CATS, AND DO NOT APPLY CAT FLEA PRODUCTS TO DOGS, AND FOLLOW DIRECTIONS CONCERNING THE VOLUME AND MANNER OF APPLICATION! Read the directions carefully PRIOR to application, not during application. The application of improper flea products, low-quality flea products, or products applied incorrectly, can cause internal damage or death to your pet. Always consult a veterinarian before purchasing and applying flea products.
USE CAUTION WHEN PURCHASING SUMMER PET TOYS. Flea products are not the only items that shouldn’t be purchased at deep discount stores. Some pet toys are not durable enough to withstand a pet’s play. This tip and photo came to us last summer from Patrick in South Dayton, NY. Patrick purchased a disc dog toy from a deep discount store for his dogs Roscoe and Titan. On the first throw, Titan caught the toy, which shattered, said Patrick, “…like a mirror.” (See photo, below.) Be sure the toys you purchase for your pets are safe and sturdy.
KEEP PETS HOME DURING OUTDOOR FESTIVALS. This tip may not be as relevant in 2020 as it’s been in the past, since the pandemic has caused the cancelation of most events this summer. However, for future reference: art festivals, food festivals, summer fireworks displays, and other crowded outdoor events are no places for dogs. Extremely hot weather, paired with immense crowds of people and strange noises and scents, heightens the stress level for many animals; the repetitive, exploding sound of fireworks is enough to make even the calmest animal frantic and sometimes aggressive. Your pet’s body is closer to the asphalt and can heat up much more quickly.
The hot pavement can also burn unprotected, sensitive paw pads when dogs are on pavement for any period of time. Check out this photo from a June, 2019 post on WGRZ-TV and click on the photo for the full story:
DON’T FORCE EXERCISE, primarily after a meal or in hot, humid weather. Instead, exercise pets in the cool of the early morning or evening. Be extra-sensitive to older and overweight animals, or those prone to heart or respiratory problems. Bring an ample supply of water along on the walk. For cool, indoor walks, bring pets to shop at the SPCA’s Petique or other pet-friendly stores.
BE CAREFUL WHERE YOU WALK! Avoid walking your dog in areas that you suspect have been sprayed with insecticides or other chemicals (see below), or have puddles or spots of auto coolant. The sweet taste of poisonous liquids attracts animals and can sicken or kill them if ingested. Clean any spills immediately or consider using animal-friendly products to help minimize risks.
Unfortunately, the use of wild rat poisons also increases during warm-weather months, which poses potential hazards for your pets. Be mindful of any poisons your pet(s) can reach on your property and other properties. Read the Humane Society of the United States’ recommendations on alternatives to rodent poisons here >>
WATCH WHAT THEY EAT & DRINK! In July of 2012, two family dogs in North Buffalo died after eating poisonous mushrooms (amanita) growing right in the backyard. Check yards and any areas pets frequent. If something looks suspicious, don’t take a chance….GET RID OF IT. Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection spread through the urine of contaminated animals. The bacteria can get into water (puddles, ponds, pools, etc.) or soil and survive there for months. Humans AND animals can be infected. Use caution when letting your pet drink, walk through, or swim in water that may have been exposed to infected animals (rodents, wildlife, infected domestic animals, and others).
KEEP YOUR PET WELL-GROOMED AND CLEAN to combat summer skin problems. If your dog’s coat is appropriate, cutting his hair to a one-inch length will help prevent overheating and will also allow you to watch for fleas and ticks. Don’t shave down to the skin, though; your pet can get sunburned (see below)! A cat should be brushed frequently to keep a tangle-free coat. Long-haired cats will be more comfortable with a stylish, summer clip.
USE CAUTION WHEN MAKING SUMMER LAWN/GARDEN PURCHASES! When purchasing lawn and garden products, always read the labels for ingredients toxic to dogs, cats, and other animals. Fertilizers, weed killers, herbicides, pesticides, and other chemicals can be fatal to your pets. “Weed out” the toxic products from your garage, and learn more about non-toxic, pet-friendly seasonal items. Snail, slug, and rat/mouse baits, and ant/roach baits and traps are also hazardous. Metaldehyde, one of the poisonous ingredients in many baits, is often very appealing to pets, and metaldehyde poisoning can cause increased heart rate, breathing complications, seizures, liver complications, and death. If insect and nuisance animal control items must be purchased, keep them in locations impossible for pets to reach.
KEEP CORN COBS AWAY FROM DOGS! In August of 2013, SPCA veterinarians removed corn cobs from the intestines of not one but TWO dogs! Both survived, but without veterinary treatment the results could have been fatal. Read this article from VetsNow.com discussing the dangers of corn cobs and corn to dogs.
DO NOT USE HUMAN INSECT REPELLENTS ON PETS! These items are toxic when ingested at high doses, and dogs and cats may lick it off and ingest it, potentially resulting in a toxicity. Read more about what you can use here.
BUNNIES NEED TO KEEP COOL TOO! Pet rabbits who live indoors with no air conditioning can benefit from an easy cooling technique. Rabbit owners can freeze a filled water bottle. Once the water bottle is frozen, it can be wrapped in a cloth and placed on the rabbit’s cage floor. If the rabbit becomes too warm, she’ll instinctively know to lie next to the bottle. Fans can also be pointed in the general direction of a rabbit cage, and rabbits will raise their ears (their natural cooling system) to catch the breeze and cool off. On hot days, pet owners with rabbits living in outdoor pens will want to ensure their pets are cool enough in outdoor locations; if not, rabbits and pens should come indoors.
If you witness animal cruelty or see any animal in need of rescue or emergency assistance this summer, the SPCA Serving Erie County may be able to help. During our current COVID Response phase, contact the SPCA Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., at 716-875-7360, ext. 214. During the hours of 4 p.m. – 8 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., please call 716-449-0363.
Between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m., please contact your local animal control, police department, or call your local after-hours emergency clinic for prices and services.
Those who witness a situation that might constitute
cruelty and/or violence toward animals in Erie County,
including animals left outdoors with inappropriate
shelter in yards or on porches, are encouraged to report the
circumstances to the SPCA Serving Erie County:
716-875-7360 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
FANIMAL’s $64,000 Goal: MET!
Watch our “personal” thanks to EVERYONE who helped push our FANIMAL competition to a victorious finish line: a WIN for ALL ANIMALS!
ECMC Staff Receiving SPCA Serving Erie County Paws for Love Therapy House Calls
April 14, 2020
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca
The SPCA Serving Erie County Paws for Love therapy animals are hitting the virtual road again as they make more HOUSE CALLS, this time bringing their comfort and care to Erie County Medical Center (ECMC).
When ECMC staff members were asked what could be done to help make them feel just a little better, the response included an overwhelming desire for therapy pets.
Enter the SPCA’s Paws for Love therapy animals. The SPCA Serving Erie County Paws for Love two and four-footed volunteers will be making virtual house calls to the staff at ECMC through recorded therapy visits. “SPCA Serving Erie County Paws for Love: HOUSE CALLS, Project ECMC” starts this week; ECMC staff members will be informed about where they can view the “visits” on ECMC’s Intranet site.
ECMC Corporate Associate Medical Director and Emergency Department Attending Physician Dr. Sam D. Cloud said, “Our dedicated clinical and support staff are working many long, difficult hours each day to address the many needs of our diverse patient population during this pandemic. On behalf of us all at ECMC, I am pleased to offer our sincere thanks to the SPCA for providing virtual access to their therapy animals through their ‘Paws for Love’ video visits.”
The SPCA Serving Erie County shares its gratitude and thanks to the professionals at ECMC for doing everything in their power to help us recover and rebound during the current health crisis. Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers are with you all.
MYRTLE THE TURTLE (and her rubber ducky):
HEADING HOME TO BUFFALO!
April 11 — And now, for your viewing pleasure…straight from the SPCA in West Seneca, NY…ladies and gentlemen, after a stay of approximately 111 days…join us in saying goodbye to MYRTLE THE TURTLE!
Today, Anthony and Jill from Buffalo brought Myrtle home to her new 100-gallon aquarium!
They also adopted Myrtle’s rubber ducky and smiley-face balloon, so we know Myrtle will easily make the transition! Thank you, Jill and Anthony, for loving our gorgeous girl as much as we do! GOODBYE, MYRTLE! We’ll all miss you SO MUCH! Be a good girl! Have a happy,loooooooooooooong life!
–Gina Lattuca, SPCA Chief Communications Officer
See the story on WIVB.com here >>