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FAQs on Pet Poisons for Responsible Pet Guardians

March 15 2024

National Animal Poison Prevention Week begins on March 17th this year, emphasizing the importance of pet safety. Poisonings are unfortunately common and can lead to emergency vet visits. But don’t panic! Your nearby Mt. Airy, MD vet shares invaluable insights to prevent such incidents in this helpful article.

What’s the Annual Toll of Pet Poisoning?

The numbers are worrisome. Annually, over 401,500 cases of pet poisoning are tallied in the U.S.

What Types of Food Are Unsafe for Pets?

Fido and Fluffy should avoid consuming certain popular foods! Check out the list provided below.

  • Junk Food
  • Chives
  • Anything That Contains Xylitol (Birch Sugar)
  • Alcohol
  • Currants
  • Chocolate
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Scallions
  • Raisins
  • Many nuts, such as macadamia nuts
  • Grapes
  • Caffeine

Don’t hesitate to ask your Mt. Airy, MD veterinarian for further information on this subject.

What Are the Common Household Items That Pose Toxic Risks to Dogs and Cats?

It’s startling to discover how many everyday household items can be lethal to your furry buddy.

Cleaning Agents: It is generally reasonable to assume that all household cleaning chemicals are toxic to pets. Bleach, disinfectants, furniture polish and oil, detergent, drain openers, mold killers, and other items fall under this category.

Automotive Products: Antifreeze tops the list of dangers for pets, especially with its tempting flavors in some brands. Choosing a pet-safe option is a step in the right direction, although not foolproof. Gasoline, oils, paints, cleaners, and wiper fluids are equally hazardous. Prevent pets from accessing chemical zones and immediately address any antifreeze or chemical spills.

Lawn/Garden Products: These scenarios are worrisome since pets can easily consume them. Slug bait or snail bait is particularly toxic to dogs because of the presence of Metaldehyde, which is prevalent in many brands.

Fertilizers, fungicides, weed killers, and herbicides are all dangerous. Pets can pick up these chemicals on their fur as they walk through treated areas.

What Plants Are Toxic to Pets?

Many pets enjoy chewing on plants. That may be cute, but it is also rather dangerous. The whole list of hazardous plants is too large to print here, so we’ll focus on the most prevalent ones. Lilies are the most popular among cats. Even in low dosages, they can be lethal to cats. Fluffy merely needs to nibble on a leaf or drink a tiny amount of water to become ill. Fido is especially vulnerable to Sago palms.

Here’s a sampling of the toxic ones:

  • Daffodils
  • Holly
  • Rhododendron
  • Peonies
  • Aloë
  • Crocus
  • Hyacinth
  • Foxglove
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Lilies
  • Azalea
  • Dieffenbachia
  • Oleander
  • Ivy
  • Amaryllis
  • Widow’s-thrill
  • Irises
  • Hydrangea
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Cyclamen
  • Common daisy
  • Birds of Paradise
  • Tulips
  • Sago palm

In general, anything with a bulb should be avoided as it’s typically unsafe for pets. This includes tulips, daffodils, onions, and garlic. Visit the ASPCA website for more information on safe and unsafe plants.

Don’t forget that plants lacking toxicity can still be perilous. Take roses, for instance, with their sharp thorns potentially causing severe internal injuries if eaten. Seek guidance from your vet should you have any questions.

What Household Products Are Toxic to Pets?

Additionally, here are a few others:

Pesticides: Bug spray, rodenticides, and mouse or rat bait—all designed to eliminate pests—can pose serious risks to your furry companion. Several rodenticides contain warfarin, an anticoagulant that can lead to severe and potentially deadly internal bleeding.

Flea and tick medications are on the list as well, considered safe with proper usage. However, overusing or administering an incorrect dosage may pose a risk of poisoning your pet.

Medication: Being cautious to keep medications beyond your pet’s reach is crucial. Some of the most dangerous include aspirin, acetaminophen, and Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen. Keep both over-the-counter and prescription medications securely stored away from Fido and Fluffy.

Do Salt Lamps Pose a Threat to Pets?

It’s true, they can be! Some pets are enticed by the salty taste. Fluffy and Fido may develop a habit of licking the lamp excessively, exposing them to the risk of salt poisoning. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t have a salt lamp; simply place it in an area your pets can’t reach.

Do Cats and Dogs Face the Same Poison Risks?

Partly yes, partly no. Overall, both cats and dogs are susceptible to similar toxic substances. Yet, Fido and Fluffy display different instincts and behaviors. Cats, especially, may be at a higher risk of illness from substances spilling on or contacting their fur. Fluffy’s delicate skin and grooming tendencies increase her risk of toxin exposure. Cats may become ill from walking through pesticide-treated areas and ingesting toxins while grooming. This risk extends to dogs; Fido may ingest dangerous substances by licking his paws.

One more difference? Dogs have a propensity to consume or gnaw at almost anything within reach. While some dogs outgrow this tendency after teething, others persist as avid chewers well into adulthood.

How Do You Identify Poisoning Signs in Pets?

Symptoms may vary depending on the type and amount of poison ingested. Nevertheless, there are some general signs to watch out for. These include:

  • Twitching
  • Irregular Heartbeat
  • Coma
  • Collapse
  • Abdominal pain
  • Seizure
  • Internal Bleeding
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Wobbling/Lurching Gait
  • Excessive Urination
  • Respiratory Issues
  • Shock
  • Drooling
  • Diarrhea
  • Coughing
  • Excessive Thirst
  • Weakness

Cats often withdraw when they’re not feeling well, while dogs may exhibit signs of melancholy. Additionally, you may observe unusual behaviors, ranging from grumpiness to clinginess.

Remember, these signs might suggest different issues. Contact your Mt. Airy, MD vet without delay if you observe anything concerning.

Do Essential Oils Endanger Pets?

Aromatherapy is commonly utilized in health and wellness rituals by many. While pets can derive benefits, it’s crucial to proceed with caution. The potent concentration of oils can present hazards. Cats, especially, are sensitive to chemicals and are thus more vulnerable.

Included are some of the potentially hazardous ones:

  • Wintergreen
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Cinnamon
  • Pennyroyal
  • Ylang Ylang
  • Pine
  • Juniper
  • Peppermint
  • Wintergreen
  • Sweet Birch
  • Anise
  • Clove
  • Citrus Oils

Take precautions; keep perfumes and oils away from your furry pal.

What Are Hazardous to Birds?

Bird enthusiasts should exercise heightened vigilance. Polly’s delicate respiratory system is exceptionally fragile. Fumes that are safe or enjoyable for humans can make your feathered companion unwell. This encompasses scented candles, incense, perfume, and air fresheners. Cooking fumes and aerosols also pose risks to birds.

What Actions Should I Take If I Suspect My Pet Has Been Poisoned?

Acting promptly is essential; your furry friend’s life might be at risk, so delaying is not wise.

Your first course of action should be reaching out to your Mt. Airy, MD vet. In case it’s outside regular hours, contact an emergency clinic. Utilize a pet poison hotline for guidance if necessary. Among several options, you can reach the ASPCA at (888) 426-4435. (Note: charges may apply.) Immediate veterinary care is essential for Fido or Fluffy, but it’s best to call ahead for preparation. You might also be advised on performing first aid, including administering hydrogen peroxide.

Adhere strictly to guidelines and avoid administering anything unless advised by your vet or a poison helpline consultant. Taking incorrect actions could be more hazardous than taking no action.

Concerned about your pet’s safety, health, or care? Reach out for help! Contact us at Taylorsville Veterinary Clinic in Mt. Airy, MD for assistance.