Parents with children in the house are well aware of the dangers of household poisons and usually have the numbers of the local hospital and poison control center handy. Pet owners should be aware that their beloved pups are at the same risk for being poisoned as small children. After all, they both are curious and explore with their mouths. Small children and pets often find themselves in quite similar predicaments, so parents of pets should be just as aware of poisons and precautions as parents of children are.
There are approximately 100,000 cases of pet poisoning in the United States every year. Most of the time, the culprits are household agents that do not seem like they’d be a danger to anyone. This is where things can go terribly amiss for pets. Many times, things that are not dangerous to humans can be devastating to pets and usually these things are items we use on a daily basis.
Poisoning is an extremely dangerous and time-sensitive issue. Effects can range from gastrointestinal and neurological problems to heart failure, respiratory distress, coma, or death. Depending on what your dog got into and how much of it he consumed, you could be in for an uncomfortable time at home or a gut-wrenching visit to the emergency vet.
Potential Poison Number One: People Food
One of the most common things that cause poisoning in pets is people food. I know, I know…it’s so hard to resist those big, puppydog eyes staring up at you, longing for your pastry or your burger. However, dogs are not people and while lots of human-grade food is perfectly wonderful for Fido, plenty of it is dangerous. This is only a partial list:
4. Fruit pits and seeds
5. Macadamia Nuts
6. Potato Peelings
7. Green Tomatoes or Potatoes
8. Yeast Dough
Poison Number Two: Medications
There are a number of medications that may be lying around the house that you or your children take casually that could actually kill your pet if consumed. Their systems are very different than ours and great care needs to be taken to keep all medications, for both people and dogs, out of reach:
1. NSAIDS (Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Medications) are the most common medication that is found in almost every household. These include things like ibuprofen or naproxen. For humans, they act as a mild pain or fever reducer but for dogs, could cause damage to their stomachs or cause ulcers and kidney failure.
2. Antidepressants are another common find. If you dog gets into these little pills, they could cause him vomiting or serotonin syndrome which is accompanied by an elevated temperature and heart rate which could lead to seizures.
3. Pet Medications. Even medications that are prescribed for your pet can be dangerous when ingested. If too large of a dose is given or if Fido licks something he shouldn’t, like topical ointments or de-wormers, he could become very ill.
Make sure to keep your medications high up in cabinets, or tightly secured in child-proof containers. It’s easy to drop a pill or for elderly pet owners to accidentally spill them. Make sure you have a towel under your pill bottles when dispensing them so anything that escapes you lands there with no danger of bouncing or rolling to the floor where everything is fair game and much easier for your dog to find that for you to see.
Poison Number Three: Plants
Plants add so much beauty to your home and make everyone a little cheerier, but the wrong plant can spell disaster for your dog if he decides to munch on it! The ASPCA has an extensive list of dangerous house plants that are both toxic and nontoxic. Here are some of the most common plants to find in and around your home that could cause trouble for your pet:
1. Rhubarb. Dogs should not eat rhubarb leaves.
2. Azaleas and Rhododendrons. The toxins in these common yard plants could cause vomiting, diarrhea, coma, or death to the dog that eats them.
3. Tulips and Daffodils. These are a little easier to avoid since it’s the bulbs that contain toxins. However, dogs that dig should not have these in their yards.
4. Sago Palms. The seeds of this plant can cause seizures and liver failure.
These are just some of the very common household dangers that many people have in or around their homes. If you were surprised by the items on this list, be aware that there are many more potential hazards around your home and that these are just a few things to watch out for.
If you believe your pet may have ingested something poisonous, you can reach the Pet Poison Helpline 24 hours a day at 1-800-213-6680.