By Ashley Watson
Last week, we explored why dogs eat poop, which is typically not harmful to the dog. But if your pet gets into a non-food item that is potentially toxic, the situation can become much more dangerous. This week, we look at the top 10 common toxins that cause poison-related emergencies. Most of the information for this post was taken from Today’s Veterinary Practice.
If you think your pet has consumed a toxic substance, call your emergency Veterinary clinic, or call the Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) hotline, which is available to you 24 hours a day: (888) 426-4435.
Keep in mind that the APCC may charge a consultation fee, so it may be best to call your Vet or a local emergency clinic after hours. Check out the APCC website for more tips on making your home safe and preventing pet poisoning.
1. Human Prescriptions
The top accidental ingestion call that the APCC received in 2012 was from pet poisonings from dogs and cats getting into human medications. Cardiac medications, antidepressants, and ADHD medications were among the top prescription pills consumed by curious pets. Cats are generally not drawn to larger pills, but they are curiously attracted to venlafaxine (Effexor) capsules.
Always store medications in a place where pets (or children) cannot get to them, and make sure you don’t drop any pills when you are taking them. Store human and animal medications separately to avoid confusing human and animal meds.
Exposure to insecticides were among the top reported animal poisonings last year. Make sure you read all instructions and labels. Also, keep in mind that certain flea-repellants and other products labeled for dogs should not be used on cats. Ask your Vet if you have any questions.
3. Human OTC Products
Ibuprofen is the most common over-the-counter medication that is ingested by pets, especially dogs who chew through bottles. Vitamin D is the next OTC on the list, which are especially attractive to pets if they are prescribed as tasty chews. OTC medications can kill pets, so be sure to keep them away from pets and never give a pet a human product.
4. Veterinary Products
While number four on the list may seem surprising, it’s not unfathomable given the number of chewable medications. These make it easier to give your dog or cat necessary medication, but it can be tempting for your pet to eat more than his or her share if given access. Joint care supplements and heartworm medication are some of the more common chewable meds that pets ingest at toxic levels. Always keep any medications in a location where your pet cannot get to it, such as a locked cabinet or closet.
5. Household Items
In 2012, the APCC received approximately 10,000 calls about pets that had ingested household items—from paints to laundry detergent. Many of the common household products can be harmful and even deadly to your pet, so be sure you know how to prevent accidental ingestion with proper storage and obedience training.
Here are some of the other toxic foods and substances that can cause stomach upset or more sever symptoms in dogs and cats:
- Xylitol (found in sugarless products, such as gum and candy)
- Grapes or raisins
- Avocados (pits can also cause choking in dogs)
- Plants (Lilies and sago palms are the most dangerous)
- Lawn and garden products
For more information about toxic foods for dogs and cats and how to create a toxin-safe home, go here.