In 2010, the ASPCA Poison Control Center handled more than 167,000 cases of pets exposed to toxic substances, many of which included everyday household products.
For the Top 10 Drugs that can poison your pet click here.
2. Insecticides. About 20% of the calls to the APCC were about insecticides. Insecticides are commonly used on our pets for flea control and around our houses to control crawling and flying bugs. The most serious poisonings occurred when products not labeled for use in cats were applied to them. Always follow label directions.
3. Rodenticides are baits used to kill mice and rats, mostly grain based. Not only does this attract rodents, but it attracts dogs and cats. There are several different types of rodenticides that can cause seizures, internal bleeding or kidney failure. Rodent baits typically can result in blood clotting disorders, brain swelling or kidney failure, while snail and slug baits can result in severe tremors or seizures. Always make sure these items are placed in areas that pets cannot access.
4. People Food. Xylitol, grapes, raisins, onions and garlic are commonly ingested by our pets. Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs, while onions and garlic can cause anemia if enough is ingested. Xylitol, a sugar alcohol used to sweeten sugar free gums and mints, can cause low blood sugar and liver failure in dogs. Many sugarless gums, including some Trident™, Orbit™, and Ice Breaker™ brands, contain xylitol. Candies, flavored multi-vitamins, desserts and baked goods may also be made with xylitol. Even small amounts when ingested can result in a life-threatening drop in blood sugar, or with large amounts of ingestion, liver failure. Signs of xylitol poisoning include vomiting, weakness, difficulty walking, tremors and seizures.
To read more about the risks of xylitol click here.
5. Veterinary Medications although made for our pets are flavored for ease of giving. Unfortunately, that means that animals may ingest the entire bottle of medication if they find it tasty. Common chewable medications include arthritis and incontinence medications. Contact your veterinarian if your pet ingests more than his proper dose of medication.
6. Chocolate contains methylxanthines(a relative of caffeine), which act as stimulants to our pets. The darker the chocolate, the more methylxanthines it contains. Methylxanthines can cause agitation, vomiting, diarrhea, high heart rate,hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, muscle tremors, seizures and death. Baker’s chocolate and dark chocolate pose the biggest problem. The darker and more bitter the chocolate, the more dangerous it is to our pets.
7. Household Toxins such as cleaning supplies (bleach, acids, alkalis and other detergents), can cause corrosive injury to the mouth and stomach. Other household items such as batteries and liquid potpourri can cause similar problems. Always keep these toxins behind securely locked doors. Rule of thumb: If it has a warning label on it keep out of the reach of children and pets. Other toxic household items include; Fabric softener sheets, mothballs, post-1982 pennies (due to high concentration of zinc)
8. Plants. Both house plants and outdoor plants can be ingested by our pets. Certain types of lilies including tiger, day, Asiatic, Easter and Japanese lilies, are highly toxic to cats, while sago palms can cause liver failure in dogs and cats. Severe kidney failure can result from ingestion of even a few petals, leaves, or even the pollen. In addition, ingestion of certain spring bulbs (e.g. daffodils, tulips) can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. More serious reactions include abnormal heart rate or changes in breathing. Keep house plants and bouquets away from your pets.
For a full list of plants poisonous to dogs and cats click here.
9. Many herbicides have a salty taste, and our pets will commonly ingest them. Always follow label directions and keep pets off treated areas until they are dry.
10. Outdoor toxins such as antifreeze, fertilizers and ice melts are all substances that animals can find outdoors. Keep these items in securely locked sheds or on high shelves where pets cannot get to them. Fertilizers are basic 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 even death.
What information will I need when I call poison control?
Whether you call your regular, emergency veterinarian or any any of the suggested poison control centers always have the following information available:
- the species, breed, age, sex, weight and number of animals involved
- the animal’s signs (Animals can't tell us symptoms. Tell them what you notice)
- information regarding the exposure, including the agent (if known),
- the amount of the agent involved
- the time elapsed since the time of exposure.
Have the product container/packaging available for reference.
Collect in a sealable plastic bag any material your pet may have vomited or chewed.
Use extreme caution when handling some of the chemicals. Wear non-latex gloves if at all possible.
I think my pet has ingested something potentially dangerous, but she seems normal. What should I do first: call the poison control centers or rush it to my local emergency veterinarian?
If you suspect that your pet may have become exposed to a harmful substance, but is not showing signs of illness, stay calm! Contact your local veterinarian or any of the above mentioned Poison Control Centers first. Not all exposure situations require an immediate trip to the clinic. Remain calm. Pets can sense your agitation and may become excited, which will raise their blood pressure and may contribute to spreading the poison through the bloodstream faster.
What should I do if I think my pet ate something poisonous?
Remain calm and composed. If your animal is having seizures, losing consciousness, is unconscious or is having difficulty breathing, telephone ahead and bring your pet immediately to your local veterinarian or emergency veterinary clinic. If necessary, he or she may call the Poison Control Center. Bring the suspected substance with you.
PetEducation.com - First Aid for ingestion of toxic products by pets. Click here (GREAT RESOURCE)
American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Household Hazards (PDF File here)
ITS THEIR JOB TO KNOW.
Peroxide CANNOT be used for ALL cases of poisoning in cats and dogs.
Some chemicals and toxins may counteract negatively with the ingested substance.
In other cases some poisons should not be coming back up by forcing the animal to vomit.
Poisons can be ingested, inhaled and injected.
If you have a doubt, there is no doubt. Call Poison Control!
Even the human line can help in most pet cases.