Science

Identify the dangers that threaten our dogs to better protect them

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Domestic accidents, trauma, poisoning, stings and bites, are so many threats to your companion, especially when it is a still inexperienced puppy, ready to discover the world. Whether in the city, in the wild or at home, dogs of all ages and breeds are surrounded by dangers, sometimes unsuspected.

A study published in 2019 by a team of veterinarians, using data from more than 455,000 dogs, highlighted the three main factors that can affect the well-being of these animals: they are dental disease, osteoarthritis and obesity. The vigilance and common sense of their owners, who are supposed to feed them properly and ensure their good body and oral hygiene, are generally enough to protect dogs from these different pathologies.

But in some cases, all the love and care that dog owners have in the face of certain threats to their pets. Therefore, poisoning cases are not uncommon: accidental ingestion of rat poison products amounts to approximately 1,800 cases per year. A simple puddle can also be dangerous: if it is contaminated with a pathogen, your animal can become infected and develop, for example, leptospirosis or giardiasis. And on another note, your animal may also be the victim of intentional poisoning.

Constant vigilance

In fact, some malicious people are busy making poison baits. These generally take the form of meatballs, which contain sharp objects (razor blades, pieces of glass, etc.) or toxic products (rat poison, plant protection product or other poison). An individual who acted in this way was recently at the origin of several dog poisonings in Yvelines: the poisoner had set his bait in the wild, along a path that he knew was frequented by dogs.

To prevent your pet from falling victim to this cruel act, always be vigilant when sniffing the ground for an interesting clue. Always keep an eye on him and keep him busy as much as possible (by throwing a toy, a ball, etc.). And in this sense, the British Veterinary Association (BVA) reminds that wooden sticks should be avoided. In fact, it often happens that dogs are injured when they grasp a stick in their mouths; It can range from a simple scratch or cut in the mouth to more serious infections, caused by a splinter lodged deeper in the throat or digestive tract. Better to opt for an alternative toy, specially designed for dogs.

Although the season is over, it is also good to know that wild mushrooms are toxic to our pets, including some varieties that are nevertheless edible to humans. So, during your fall outings in the woods, stay tuned! At the same time, chestnuts can be just as dangerous – your pet is likely to play with them like a ball and, if swallowed, runs the risk of intestinal obstruction, not to mention that chestnuts contain toxic substances.

Possible dangers, even at home

The Christmas season is approaching, a time of risk for pets. Nearly eight in ten vets in the UK see at least one case of toxic ingestion during the Christmas holidays, according to the BVA. Chocolate, raisins and other dried fruits, artificial sweeteners (like xylitol), or seasonal decorations like mistletoe and holly can be very dangerous for your pet.

Chocolate poisoning remains the most common cause of poison ingestion for dogs at Christmas. Cocoa contains mainly theobromine; however, the dog is very sensitive to the effects of theobromine, which stimulates the central nervous system and myocardium. The darker the chocolate (and therefore the higher the cocoa content), the more toxic it is to the dog. One hundred grams of dark chocolate can potentially kill a 10 kg dog!

In general, it is best to refrain from giving your dog “party” foods, especially fatty foods or treats. These can cause a variety of conditions, from gastroenteritis to pancreatitis. Also, these foods can make your pet overweight.

Additionally, a recent study, published in the journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science, revealed another factor that can affect your dog’s well-being in his own home. Researchers have found that common household noises (vacuum cleaner, microwave, blender, etc.) can make dogs anxious – a stress that their owners unfortunately tend to underestimate. “We know that there are many dogs that are sensitive to noise, but we underestimate their fear of noise, which we consider normal, because many dog ​​owners cannot read body language,” says Emma. Grigg, lead author of the study, who laments that some people enjoy their pet’s reaction instead of worrying about it.

This research shows that intermittent high-frequency noises, such as a smoke alarm battery warning, are more likely to cause anxiety in dogs than continuous low-frequency noises. Certain noises, especially very loud or high-frequency sounds, can also be potentially painful to a dog’s ears. Therefore, for the well-being of your animal, care must be taken to minimize exposure to these types of nuisances.

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