We hope you and your pup had a great St. Patrick’s Day celebration and we hope that 2016 showers you with the ever-present luck of the Irish! However, let’s not leave the safety of our beloved furry friends to luck! This month, we want to help you take care by identifying and discussing a few common household hazards / poisons. In alphabetical order, a few things to look out for include:
1. Antifreeze that contains ethylene glycol is sweet to the taste, but is deadly if consumed in even small quantities. As an alternative, look for antifreeze that contains propylene glycol, which still helps your car, but is much safer for animals.
2. Batteries might keep electronics going and going, but they won’t energize your pet. Mouth ulcers, throat and stomach issues can result from the acid inside.
3. Human Food is often poisonous to pets and you should really employ the old “why even risk it?” attitude.
– Chocolate tops the food warnings, as caffeine and theobromine cause toxicosis and may bring seizures and death. Dark chocolate and cooking chocolate rank highest in harm.
– Coffee has caffeine too, so the toxic danger is an equal issue. What gets you up in the morning may seriously bring your dog down.
– Grapes sound like a great snack, except for the acute renal failure your dog might incur. Your kidneys won’t fail, but theirs might. Raisins are really just dried grapes, so they count too.
– Macadamia nuts are particularly poisonous to dogs, and it’s easy to forget if they’re in cookies and snacks you might be tempted to share.
– Onions kill canine blood cells and resulting Heinz Body Anemia can be life-threatening. Onion powder in food is enough to do this, so attention to ingredients is crucial.
– Garlic isn’t as dangerous as onions, and small amounts may even appear in some dog foods, but in larger quantity it’s just as damaging.
– Alcohol can cause the same liver and kidney damage it does to humans; it can also cause acidosis in your dog and end in cardiac arrest.
– Avocados fall into dispute by dog owners, but even if the Persin in avocados isn’t harmful to your dog, that big center seed is a choking hazard.
– Leftovers, such as chicken bones, might shatter and choke a cat or dog. In fact, cooked bones of any kind may be brittle and hazardous.
4. Human Medications, such as pain killers (including aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen), cold medicines, anti-cancer drugs, anti-depressants, vitamins and diet pills can all be toxic to animals. Keep medicine containers and tubes of ointments and creams away from pets who could chew through them and be vigilant about finding and disposing of any dropped pills.
5. Insect Control Products such as the insecticides used in household pests, bee or ant sprays, as well as those in over-the-counter flea and tick remedies, may be toxic. Most professional pest control companies will have pet-safe alternatives. Also, prescription flea and tick control products are much less toxic than over-the-counter remedies. Pet owners should never use any product around pets without first reading the product warnings and consulting their veterinarian.
6. Landscaping Products such as colored mulch or mulch made from recycled rubber, can be deadly to pets if ingested. Also, chemicals used on lawns and gardens, such as fertilizer and plant food, can be easily accessible and fatal to pets. Make sure to read the labels, look for safe alternatives and always follow the manufacturer direction in terms of storage and post-application contact with pets.
7. Laundry Items, such as detergents and fabric softener sheets, may have ulcerous and fatal consequences for your dog. Highly concentrated laundry detergent packets are even more dangerous.
8. Poisonous Household Plants include Autumn Crocus, Azalea, Cyclamen, Kalanchoe, Lilies, Oleander, Dieffenbachia, Daffodils, Lily of the Valley, Sago Palm, Tulips and Hyacinths among others.
9. Toys and Chews like squeaky toys, stuffed animals with plastic eyes, bones, etc… can pose a choking hazard to animals. Take the same precautions with your furry friend as you would with a small child and only allow these when supervised.
10. Traps and Poisons must be treated with extreme caution. Just remind yourself of why they exist! Even if you do not use traps and poisons, remember that your neighbor might. Dogs and cats can be poisoned if they eat a rodent who has been killed by poison (called secondary poisoning).
Use the same precautions in poison-proofing your house for a pet as you would for a child. Keep cleaning products in a high, closed cabinet and take the same precautions in the garage and landscaping shed / areas. Essentially, there should be nothing poisonous below counter- level. Read labels. Never use a medication on your pet without direction by your veterinarian.
Finally, make sure you have a PET FIRST AID KIT with basic supplies as well as:
• Phone numbers: your veterinarian, the nearest emergency-veterinary clinic (along with directions!) and a poison-control center or hotline
• Paperwork for your pet (in a waterproof container or bag): proof of rabies-vaccination status, copies of other important medical records and a current photo of your pet (in case he gets lost)
• Nylon leash
• Self-cling bandage (bandage that stretches and sticks to itself, but not to fur—available at pet stores and from pet-supply catalogs)
• Muzzle or strips of cloth to prevent biting (don’t use this if your pet is vomiting, choking, coughing or otherwise having difficulty breathing)
If your precautions fail, and you believe that your pet has been poisoned, contact your veterinarian or emergency veterinary service immediately. Signs of poisoning include listlessness, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle tremors, lack of coordination and fever.