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aysoku oru qru eexsptieorntss: answered Petplan staff veterinarian Dr. Nina Mantione answers some common medical questions about your pets Q: Q: I’ve heard that citronella can be toxic to pets — what types are ok and what should I avoid? Actually, citronella is relatively safe for pets. It can be an irritant, so if sprayed directly into a pet’s face it can cause eye irritation. Likewise, if a curious puppy ingests some, it may cause gastrointestinal upset. Citronella is otherwise fairly nontoxic. If ingested in large quantities, citronella can be toxic to cats, but most of our feline friends are much too smart and discriminating to be eating any significant quantity of such a smelly chemical. The one thing I will say is this: dogs and cats have a much more sensitive sense of smell than we do, so I imagine that the scent of citronella may be pretty annoying to them (that’s just my own speculation). But in general it is pretty safe, so go ahead and use citronella if you’d like, and exercise the same caution you would in the presence of a toddler. My dog is on an antibiotic. Will he be more sensitive to sun exposure? While photosensitivity can be a serious problem in people (as anyone who’s ever had too much sun exposure while taking a course of antibiotics can attest), it is not something we typically worry about in dogs. Technically, dogs can have a medication-related photosensitivity, but don’t really feel the effects because their coats help to protect them from most of the sun’s rays. If you have a very short-coated white dog on one of these drugs, I’d probably suggest exercising a little caution by avoiding long periods outside in the middle of the day, but in general you need not be too concerned about adverse side effects. I have a doggie life vest, but what else can I do to keep my dog safe on our boat? First: good job on the life vest! Be sure your pup wears it Q: whenever he’s on board. Fish hooks are another concern; your dog may try to eat a baited hook or get in the way of casting. Curious hounds have an uncanny way of getting into trouble with fishing paraphernalia, so unless he’s trained to sit and stay, keep him away from the action. Bait can carry foodborne illness, so make sure there’s no sneaking of snacks. Raw fish that’s been sitting in the sun may seem appetizing to your dog, but it can induce a nasty gastroenteritis. The rest of boating safety is pretty common sense. Train him to sit in a safe area while sailing to avoid a “dog overboard.” Ensure there’s shade so he can escape the sun. And if he feels queasy, talk to your veterinarian about motion sickness medication. 44 fun in the sun issue


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