Friday, March 25, 2011

Radiation Protection for Pets: What You Can Do

We worry about our pets sometimes as much as we worry about the rest of our family members.  Here are some things you can do to protect your pets from radiation if you live near a leaking nuclear reactor or a radiation cloud comes your way.  By the way, their is very low risk of radiation coming to the North American that would be in amounts dangerous to our health or our pet's health. 

  1. If you live near a nuclear reactor that is leaking radiation, your pets should be not be left outside.  They should be taken inside and bathed. 
  2. When bringing your pets outside, they should not be allowed to eat grass, especially if you live within 50 - 150 miles of leaking reactors. 
  3. If your dog has been outside during any time of the leakage, you should bath them well.  All pets that must go outside occasionally need to bathed more frequently until radiation levels are back to safe levels. Remember dogs like to lick themselves clean and their fur is great for trapping particles, including those with radiation.
  4. If your pet has toys outside, bring them in and wash them before giving the toys back to your pet.  Don't let them bring the toys back outside.
  5. Supplement your pet's diet with iodine from seaweed, which is the best natural source of iodine.  Seaweed (wakame and arame) usually comes dry, so you will need to soak the seaweed in warm water for 15 minutes before serving.   Then cut the seaweed in small pieces and serve mixed in with their meals.  You can also buy dry kelp and sprinkle on your pet's food.  I have also served dry roasted nori (used to making sushi) to my dogs while I'm snacking on it myself.  Give it to them in very small pieces because nori will stick to the roof of their mouths.  My dogs love nori seaweed.  Please note that if your pet has thyroid issues, you will need to talk to your veterinarian before adding iodine to your pet's diet. 
  6. You can also add antioxidants to dog food.  Add carrots for vitamin A, broccoli for Vitamin C, and a few drops of Vitamin E oil.  Except for a few drops of vitamin E oil, human supplements are not recommended without discussing with your veterinarian first.  I already serve my dogs carrots, peas, broccoli, and green beans on a regular basis.  Cats, on the other hand, are carnivores so it is more difficult and not so good for them to have too much vegetables.  You need to discuss with your veterinarian how much is safe for your pet.  He/she may recommend a supplement instead.  Do not feed cats fruit and do not feed either cats or dogs raisins, grapes, chocolate, onions, or avocado, dairy, or macadamia nuts.  These foods, especially in large amounts, can be toxic.     
  7. Now a comment on giving your pet potassium iodide.  The correct amount of potassium iodide is difficult to determine even by veterinarians, so there are risks.  According to Michael Kent, a faculty veterinarian at UC Davis, the side effects for pets taking potassium iodide include severe allergic reactions; gastrointestinal upsets including vomiting, diarrhea and anorexia, decreased normal thyroid function; and damage to the heart, especially if given too much. (1)




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