The ASPCA fields over 150,000 calls a year from people who’s pets have ingested something potentially toxic. Many substances in our homes and yards that are perfectly safe for us can be dangerous to our furry and feathered friends. Here is a list of the 10 most common poisons to be aware of:
1 -Human prescription drugs.
Dogs are notorious for tasting anything that drops on the floor – because it just might be a tasty tidbit! Make sure your pets are not in the room when you take prescription medications and always keep them well out of reach. The most common medications ingested by dogs were Cardiac and ADHD medications.
2 – Insecticides – including Flea and Tick spot on treatments.
We may think we are doing our pets a favor by applying flea and tick pesticides, but over-treating can be life threatening. Always read labels and dose carefully and never put dog products on a cat. Better yet – Go Natural! Read about natural pest control here. Also be careful of pesticide use inside the house or around the yard and garden. Dogs and cats lick their paws and ingest whatever they walked through – so keep them away from any treated areas until the pesticides have been washed away.
4 – People Treats.
Chocolate is the most common people food poison for pets – see last week’s post on Dogs & Chocolate. Xylitol, a sugar substitute commonly found in gum, is the second most common people food poison. Xylitol can cause seizures and liver failure in dogs. Alcohol is never appropriate for pets – even if your dog “seems” to like beer – it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity and even death.
5 – Household Products.
Your pet’s nose is much closer to the ground and they are smaller than we are, so they inhale household cleaners at a much higher concentration than we do. Bleaches, detergents and disinfectants can cause gastrointestinal distress and irritation to the skin, eyes or respiratory tract. Keep your pet out of the room while you clean and rinse well. Think of having a pet as similar to having a toddler – don’t leave anything in reach you would not want them to ingest – like firelogs, matches, paint, tobacco products, etc.
6 – Pet Medications.
Flavored chewable prescription and over-the-counter pet medications make it easier to get our pets to comply. However, making medication tasty can also pose a risk to their health when they manage to abscond with a whole bottle! Keep pet medications safely out of reach and IN a cabinet – not on the counter.
7 – Rodent bait.
If your feline friend is not a mouser, you may be tempted to take matters in your own hands. If you choose to use rat or mouse bate and poisons take extra precautions to be sure that your pets cannot reach it – even if they try really hard. Dogs, especially, can be as attracted to the bait as the rodent.
8 – Plants.
This is one category that cats lead dogs in the number of exposures. Lilies can cause kidney failure and death in cats. Other common toxic plants include azaleas, rhododendrons, tulips and daffodils. Please see the ASPCA list of toxic/non-toxic plants for more information.
9 – Lawn and Garden Products.
Fertilizers – even organic varieties, can be quite toxic to pets. Many are made of dried blood, poultry manure and bone meal – which smell appealing to pets. Use caution and keep pets out of the yard until fertilizers are well watered in.
10 – Automotive products.
Anti-freeze, brake fluid and other automotive products can be fatal if ingested. Clean up any spills promptly and keep pets safely confined when you work on your vehicle.
The best remedy for household poison is prevention. If you suspect your pet has been exposed to something toxic, call your veterinarian right away or call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) at (888) 426-4435. Experts at the APCC are available to answer questions and provide guidance 24 hours a day for a $60 consultation fee.