Pet Poisoning

We, as humans, take so many things for granted. We know that there are dangers lurking in our world and we do our best to avoid them.

Our pets, however are not so smart and thus comes the possibility of poisoning.

At the top of the list of animals most likely to have problems are puppies, the curious Georges’s of the canine world. Nothing is sacred from the mouth of a puppy.

Now, big dogs, too, are curious so they are second in line, with cats trailing far behind.

Our intelligence keeps us away from such dangers, but once in a while we need to be reminded, that we need to think “safety first,” when it comes to our pets.

Pets do not know what is good or not good to put in their mouths. So this is a little reminder of the things around your house or yard that can either be lethal or make your pet sick.

Puppies/dogs are the most curious critters and will find things within the house or yard to get into.

Be watchful of the following:

  • Adult medication in small round pill bottles that sometimes get dropped on the floor. Any medication can be lethal to a puppy/dog.

  • Household cleaners, a bottle left on the floor with a loose cap that can spill out. Curious George will try it even if it tastes bad.

  • Lead poisoning, chewing on an old piece of painted wood, chewing or even ingesting lead fishing or other small weights, lead shot, and believe it or not, tubes of caulk and motor oil contain lead.

  • Zinc poisoning, yep, swallowing pennies (and they do) can cause serious problems. The metal reacts with the red blood cells.

  • Lawn chemicals they may not swallow the stuff, but if you are spraying the chemicals around and they walk on the wet grass and then clean their feet. It can be serious for puppies, dogs and cats.

  • Ant and insect poison. These products contain organophosphates (OP’s) and carbonates which affect the nervous system of your pet if ingested (liquid or powder can get on their feet.)

  • Garbage can cause food poisoning and/or bacterial infections, cooked bones can lodge in their throats or splinter. Keep tight lids on garbage cans.

  • Asprin, ibuprofen, phenylbutazone, acetaminophen and naproxen are all found in over-the-counter cold and pain relief products and can be toxic to dogs and especially cats. With Tylenol being the biggest culprit for pets. Do not give any over-the-counter drugs to your pet without vet approval.

  • The new Kaopectate, contains an asprin derivative and should not be given to cats. It is acceptable for dogs (with vet approval.)

  • Antifreeze this seems to be the drink of choice for both cats and dogs. It is sweet tasting, but deadly for pets.

    The symptom to look for is a drunk and disoriented appearing pet that will in a while act okay.

    This is where the danger lies, as it means the antifreeze has been absorbed into the blood stream and is doing its deadly deed of causing kidney failure. Treatment is needed at the first sign of disorientation after that, it might be to late.

  • Chocolate contains caffeine, theobromine and theophylline. These substances act as “excitement builders affecting almost every cell in a pet’s body

    Chocolate in small quantities is not really toxic to pets, it might make them hyper with what we would call a “sugar high.” However, large quantities are a different story, as an overdose can affect the pet’s central nervous system, heart and blood vessels.

    Baking chocolate is the most dangerous, as it has more than 10 times the amount of these ingredients than any other chocolate.

    The effect of chocolate on any animal is dependent on its size, weight, age and health.

    A little milk chocolate is unlikely to create a problem at all and it would take 250 pounds of white chocolate to cause any problems in a 20 pound dog. However, when in doubt, call your vet.

  • Cocoa Mulch, this is one of the new kids on the block, at least for me, as I had never heard of it before.

    Apparently the Hershey Company has been making this mulch for some time and claims that about 98 percent of dogs will not eat it and 50 percent (50% of the 2%) of those that do get sick.

    I have not seen any of this mulch, but it is said to smell just like chocolate and contains up to 1200 mg. of theobromine. A quantity that is definitely lethal enough to create some serious problems.

    My advice is if you are walking your dog and you smell chocolate, don’t stop and let your dog have a bite.

  • Rat poison’s contain substances that can prevent your pet’s blood from coagulating. A small amount can seriously affect a small dog, but will not have any affect on a large dog.

    What do you look for as characteristic symptoms of any type of poisoning?

    Sudden changes in behavior, vomiting, drooling, irregular breathing, rapid heart beat, unsteady on its feet and anything that seems just a bit unusual, warrants a call to the vet. That phone call may save your pet’s life.

    Be aware that small dogs, puppies, dogs who are not well and older dogs are the ones most likely to have serious side effects from eating thing they should not have eaten. The big dogs have size and weight in their favor to help counteract the side effects of bad choices.

    The best way to prevent any of these substances from causing problems is to keep all household cleaners in closed cabinets. Do not spray lawns or gardens unless your pet is in the house and will be kept there until the product dries completely.

    Keep insecticides high up, and when using them, keep your pet out of the area.

    Having a puppy/dog is almost like having another toddler around. Dogs have no hands and so mouthing things is a way to investigate and they do not know a safe product from an unsafe one.

    Cats, with the exception of antifreeze or walking in wet sprayed areas are too finicky to be tempted to eat anything strange.

    I have just touched the tip of the iceberg in regard to things that can cause your pet problems. Be alert, treat your pet as a member of the family and watch out for it.

    No one gives you more unconditional love than your pet (cats included.)

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