Top 6 household items toxic to pets

Top 6 household items toxic to pets

Educate your clients on how to keep their pets safe inside and out.
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Mar 15, 2011

While it’s important to educate your veterinary clients about pet poison prevention year round, emphasize the topic March 20-26 during National Poison Prevention Week. Click on the links below for client handouts that will help get your message across.

What to do if your pet is poisoned

How to poison-proof your home

Make sure your clients know the most common household items that are toxic to pets. Here are the top six, according to the Pet Poison Helpline.

1. Xylitol: Many sugarless gums contain xylitol, a sweetener that is toxic to dogs. Candies, mints, flavored multi-vitamins, desserts, and baked goods may also be made with xylitol. When pets ingest large amounts, liver failure can occur. Even small amounts when ingested can result in a life-threatening drop in blood sugar. Signs of xylitol poisoning in dogs include vomiting, weakness, difficulty walking, tremors, and seizures.

The amount of xylitol typically found in most pet oral-care products is very small and, when used properly, these products aren’t expected to cause poisoning unless a dog ingests a very large amount.

2. Human medications: Common drugs such as NSAIDs, acetaminophen, and antidepressants can cause serious harm to your pets. NSAIDs can cause stomach and intestinal ulcers as well as kidney failure. Acetaminophen can damage red blood cells in cats, limiting their ability to carry oxygen, and in dogs it can lead to severe liver failure. Ingestion of antidepressants can lead to neurological problems like sedation, incoordination, agitation, tremors, and seizures.

3. Flowers: As beautiful as spring flowers are, some can cause severe toxicity or even fatalities in pets. Certain types of lilies such as tiger, day, Asiatic, Easter, and Japanese lilies are poisonous to cats. Just ingesting a few petals or pollen can result in severe feline kidney failure. In addition, spring bulbs like daffodils or tulips can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

4. Chocolate : While the occasional chocolate chip in one cookie may not be an issue, certain types of chocolate can be very toxic. Bakers’ chocolate and dark chocolate pose the biggest problem. The darker and more bitter the chocolate, the more dangerous it is. The chemical toxicity results in vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, and possibly death.

5. Fertilizers: Many fertilizers are gastrointestinal irritants. However, some are often combined with dangerous chemicals and compounds called organophosphates or carbamates, which can be harmful or deadly to pets. Ingestion can result in drooling, watery eyes, urination, defecation, seizures, difficulty breathing, fever, and death.

6. Pest control products: Rodent, snail, and slug baits are often used to keep pests at bay—they are toxic to pets, and without immediate veterinary attention they can be fatal. Rodent baits can result in blood clotting disorders, brain swelling, or kidney failure, while snail and slug baits can result in severe tremors or seizures.