All About Paws Pet Sitting


The information provided on this page is for education purposes only and is not intended to replace your veterinarian’s advice.  Always consult your veterinarian or a poison control center for questions or concerns you may have about your pets.  Please remember, prevention is the best medicine.

Animal Poison Control
The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center is a division of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).  It is staffed by 30 veterinarians, including 13 who are board-certified in general and veterinary toxicology.  The APCC is one of the best resources for any animal poison-related emergency, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  The Animal Poison Control Center provides assistance to veterinarians and pet owners alike.

If you think that your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, remain calm and call: (888) 426-4435.  A consultation fee (currently $60) may be applied to your credit card.  Be prepare to provide the following information:

  • Your name, address and phone number
  • The substance your pet has been exposed to, if known
  • Estimate of the quantity ingested
  • Estimate of times such as duration of exposure and onset of symptoms
  • Symptoms your pet is experiencing

Pet First-Aid
Thousands of dogs and cats are injured and die every year from preventable accidents.  According to the American Animal Hospital Association, one in four pets that died could have been saved if appropriate first aid was applied prior to seeking veterinary treatment.  Preventable accidents are the leading cause of death and disability for non-senior dogs and cats.   In an emergency, pet first-aid does not replace veterinary treatment.  However, pet owners who know some basic first-aid could help their pets until they can get them to a vet. 

Learn how to treat common pet injuries by taking a first-aid course.  A good first-aid class will teach owners many valuable things such as: how to give medications, how to detect the presence of illness and how to administer CPR.  Purchase and read a pet first-aid book available at pet stores or from the Red Cross or enroll in a Certified American Red Cross Pet First Aid class.  For recommendations, please contact us.

Disaster Planning
Each year, two to three million people suffer as the result of disasters. Their pets are also affected. The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters has created a guide so animal owners can be prepared for man-made or natural catastrophes. Download a copy to help you become better prepared.

General Safety Tips for Pet Owners
1.  Assemble or purchase a pet first-aid kit.  The kit should include gauze pads, adhesive tape, nonstick bandages, antibiotic ointment, clean towels, cotton balls, medical grade vinyl gloves, sterile eye wash, hydrogen peroxide, scissors, an instant cold pack, tweezers, isopropyl alcohol, rubber tubing for tourniquet, First Aid book (read in advance), and a thermometer.

2. Injured pets are often confused and in pain and may bite or scratch.  Even your own pet can be aggressive when in pain or frightened and must be handled with care.  Always approach a sick or injured animal slowly. Do not make quick, jerky or loud movements. Learn proper techniques for subduing an injured pet if necessary.

3.  Know the signs of an emergency.  Look out for behavior and health changes.  If you notice unusual crying or whining; coughing; bleeding; dizziness; confusion; vomiting; diarrhea; increased urination; excessive drooling; uncontrollable panting; and irregular or difficult breathing contact your veterinarian immediately.

4.  Post a list of contact numbers near your phone so you don’t lose critical time.  The list should include phone numbers for your veterinarian, animal poison control center and the nearest emergency vet clinic.

5.  Before an accident happens, make sure you understand how to get to the emergency vet clinic and find out their hours if they are not open 24 hours a day.  Also, find out how your veterinarian wishes to handle emergency situations, especially those that happen after normal office hours.

6.  Do not leave a choke chain, slip collar or choke collar on a dog. These collars should be used only during obedience training because they can become caught on something and choke the dog to death. An appropriate collar is a loosely-placed nylon collar, or leather-rolled collar that should be left on the dog at all times with current rabies tags and owner identification.  We highly recommend the use of the KeepSafe Break-Away Collar (formerly the Chinook Break-Away Safety Collar).

7.  Never leave a dog tied up on an above ground deck.  They can fall off and strangle themselves.

8.  Know the foods, medications, plants and chemicals that can harm your pets and keep them safely out of reach, off the floor.  Use child protection latches on cabinets and cupboard doors to keep pets out of these areas.

9.  Remove toxic houseplants and outdoor garden plants or place them out of reach.

10. Be careful when using fertilizers and chemicals on the lawn and in the garden.  Product labels usually will tell you how long you must wait before pets are safe.  If you have questions, do not hesitate to call the manufacturer for complete details.   When using granular fertilizers, make sure none gets in the paws of your pets.  They can track this in the house and/or ingest it this way.

11.  Make sure electrical cords are taped down or covered with a safety strip so pets don’t chew through them or trip.

12.  Keep pets in your home or in a fenced yard.  If this is not possible,  confine them in the yard with a stake and lead.  This will help avoid the dangers of cars, garbage, plants  and other animals.

Dangerous Foods
There are some foods we should not feed our pets. Dogs and cats are not able to metabolize some of the foods that people eat.  Some foods can cause pets to experience irritations and/or digestive upsets.  Others are considered toxic and can cause severe illness or even death.  Below is a list of the most commonly know foods that can cause harm to  pets.  This list is not intended to be all inclusive.  Please ask your veterinarian for a comprehensive list of foods your pets should avoid and for information about the effects these foods may have on your pet.

Excessively fatty foods
Spoiled foods, garbage
Moldy foods
Chocolate, any kind
Raw and cooked onions/onion powder
Macadamia nuts
Yeast Dough
Grapes and raisins
Baby food, stews, soups and sauces cooked with onion/onion powder
Pear and peach pits
Vitamins containing iron
Milk and dairy products
Mushrooms (if also toxic to humans)
Coffee grounds and beans
Tomato and potato leaves and stems
Wild cherry
Balsam Pear
Japanese Plum
Xylitol (found in sugar free chewing gum)

Help your pet avoid these foods by making sure they cannot get into garbage and refraining from giving them food from the table. 

Source:  The University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine & The American Kennel Club

Dangerous Plants
This list includes the most common plants which may be poisonous or hazardous to your pets, but does not include all potentially dangerous plants. To obtain additional information, check with your local poison control center, veterinary school, or toxics expert.

Autumn Crocus
Bird of Paradise
Black Locust
Buckeye (Horse Chestnut)
Castor Bean (seeds are particularly toxic) 
Day Lily  
English Ivy
Hemlock (Poison, Water)
Horse Chestnut (Buckeye) 
Ivy (English, Ground, Poison)
Japanese Yew (Yew)
Lily of the Valley
Maple, Red
Mauna Loa Peace Lily (Peace Lily)
Mistletoe "American"
Morning Glory 
Peace Lily (Mauna Loa Peace Lily)
Sago Palm (seeds are particularly toxic)
Tomato Plant 
White Snakeroot
Yew (Taxus sp.)

Pets are often curious and this can get them into trouble.  The best thing a pet owner can do to prevent this is to keep the area the pet will be in clean and clear of personal items.  Many times these accidents happen when pets are alone and anxious and like to chew to relieve stress.

Source:  The University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine & The American Kennel Club

Miscellaneous Facts
Here are the top ten most common items surgically removed from pets, according to Veterinary Pet Insurance:

1.  Socks
2.  Underwear
3.  Panty Hose
4.  Rocks
5.  Balls
6.  Chew Toys
7.  Corn Cobs
8.  Bones
9.  Hair Ties/Ribbons
10.  Sticks

The following common household goods and products are involved in the most calls to animal poison control centers:

1.   Prescription and over-the-counter drugs
2.  Insecticides and insect control products
3.  Common household plants
4.  Chemical bait products
5.  Common household cleaners

Common household items that are harmful to your pets:

Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
Antifreeze and other car fluids
Bleach and cleaning fluids
Boric acid
De-icing salts
Drain cleaners
Furniture polish
Hair colorings
Weed killers
Nail polish and remover
Prescription and non-prescription medicine
Rat poison
Rubbing alcohol
Shoe polish
Sleeping pills
Snail or slug bait
Windshield-wiper fluid

Symptoms of possible poisoning are: vomiting, diarrhea, difficult breathing, abnormal urine (color, aroma or odor, frequency, etc.), salivation, weakness. If you dog should ingest harmful chemicals, contact a veterinarian or poison control center immediately.

Getting In Touch
Interested in All About Paws Pet Sitting's services?  Please use one of the following methods to contact us:

1.  Use our Consultation Visit Request Form to contact us.

2.  Call us at 708-305-2291.

3.  Email us at for more information.