Your dog’s world is full of new scents, sights and adventure. Along with these new experiences come plenty of dangers, too. These potential hazards are enough to make a dog owner completely paranoid. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help keep your dog healthy and safe.
Exist more cases of pet poisoning in the U.S. Many of these were caused by household substances that may seem perfectly harmless to you. But just because something is safe for people doesn’t mean it won’t hurt beloved pets. Some of the most dangerous dog poisons are foods and medications we take on a daily basis.
Depending on how a particular substance affects your dog’s body and how much was ingested or inhaled, pet poisoning symptoms can include gastrointestinal and neurological problems, cardiac and respiratory distress, coma, and even death.
Dog poison No. 1: Prescription medications for people.
Drugs that might be beneficial or even lifesaving for people can have the opposite effect in pets. And it doesn’t always take a large dose to do major damage. Ingestion of any medication not specified for that individual pet is reason to go see a veterinarian. The drugs listed below are some of the more dangerous substances for pets, but any ingestion of human medications should be investigated.
- Antidepressants such as Effexor, Cymbalta, Prozac and Lexapro
- ADD/ADHD medications such as Concerta, Adderall and Ritalin Benzodiazepines and sleep aids such as Xanax, Klonopin, Ambien and Lunestra
- Birth control such as estrogen, estradiol and progesterone
- ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors such as zestril and altace
- Beta-blockers such as Tenormin, Troprol and Coreg Thyroid hormones such as Amour dessicated thyroid and Synthroid
- Cholesterol lowering agents such as Lipitor, Zocor and Crestor
- Human supplements, nutraceuticals or herbal remedies that haven’t been recommended.
- Phase 1 includes a drunken appearance which occurs within 1 hour of ingestion.
- Phase 2 is heart failure which occurs within 12-24 hours of ingestion.
- Phase 3 is renal failure, vomiting, depression, renal pain, hypothermia, coma and death.
- Chocolate. Though not harmful to people, chocolate products contain substances called methylxanthines that can cause vomiting in small doses, and death if ingested in larger quantities. Darker chocolate contains more of these dangerous substances than do white or milk chocolate. The amount of chocolate that could result in death depends on the type of chocolate and the size of the dog. For smaller breeds, just half an ounce of baking chocolate can be fatal, while a larger dog might survive eating 4 ounces to 8 ounces. Coffee and caffeine have similarly dangerous chemicals.
- Alcohol. Symptoms of alcohol poisoning in animals are similar to those in people, and may include vomiting, breathing problems, coma and, in severe cases, death.
- Avocado. You might think of them as healthy, but avocadoes have a substance called persin that can act as a dog poison, causing vomiting and diarrhea.
- Macadamia nuts. Dogs may suffer from a series of symptoms, including weakness, overheating, and vomiting, after consumption of macadamia nuts.
- Grapes and raisins. Experts aren’t sure why, but these fruits can induce kidney failure in dogs. Even a small number may cause problems in some dogs.
- Xylitol. This sweetener is found in many products, including sugar-free gum and candy. It causes a rapid drop in blood sugar, resulting in weakness and seizures. Liver failure also has been reported in some dogs.
- Azaleas and rhododendrons. These pretty flowering plants contain toxins that may cause vomiting, diarrhea, coma, and potentially even death.
- Tulips and daffodils. The bulbs of these plants may cause serious stomach problems, convulsions, and increased heart rate.
- Sago palms. Eating just a few seeds may be enough to cause vomiting, seizures, and liver failure.
- Other plants: Autumn Crocus, Cyclamen, Dieffenbachia, Hyacinth, Kalanchoe, Lily, Oleander, Foxglove, Compost, Mushrooms.
- Don’t panic. Rapid response is important, but panicking can interfere with the process of helping your pet.
- Take the time to safely collect and have at hand any material involved. This may be of great help to your vet, as they determine what poison or poisons are involved. Also, collect in a sealable plastic bag any material your pet may have vomited or chewed.
- If you witness your pet consuming material that you suspect might be toxic, do not hesitate to seek emergency assistance, even if you do not notice any adverse effects. Sometimes, even if poisoned, an animal may appear normal for several hours or days after the incident.
- Do not try to make your dog vomit unless instructed to do so by your veterinarian.
- Keep all medications, even those in child-proof bottles, in cabinets that are inaccessible to your dog. If you inadvertently drop a pill on the floor, be sure to look for it immediately. Supervise anyone, such as the elderly, who may need help taking medications.
- Always follow guidelines on flea or tick products.
- Although you can safely give some ”people foods” to your pet as a treat, others are toxic. If you have any questions about what is safe, ask your veterinarian. Or, err on the safe side and give treats made specifically for animals.
- Be sure any rodenticides you use are kept in metal cabinets or high on shelves where your pets can’t find them. Remember that dogs can be fatally poisoned by eating an exposed rodent, so always be very cautious about using these products. Tell your neighbors if you put out rat bait, so they can protect their pets from exposure, and ask them to do the same for you.
- When buying plants for your home, opt for those that won’t cause problems if your dog happens to nibble on them. The ASPCA has an online list of toxic and nontoxic plants by species. If you choose to have toxic plants, be sure they are kept in a place where your animals can’t reach them.
- Store all chemicals and cleaners in pet-inaccessible areas of your home.