The curious nature of pets is one of their most endearing features, but it can frequently land them in a heap of trouble. Without hands, animals explore the world with their noses and mouths. Occasionally, our pets run across the wrong item, and investigation can lead to serious consequences. According to calls received by the Pet Poison Helpline, the three most common dog breeds to land themselves in trouble are mixed breeds, Labrador retrievers, and golden retrievers. Puppies and kittens are also seen quite frequently for toxin exposure. Instead of curbing your pet’s inquisitive personality, take precautions to prevent mishaps from occurring.

Household toxins

There are many items hanging around your home that can be hazardous, or even deadly, to your beloved companion. Pet-proof your home by placing these common toxins out of paw’s reach:

  • Foods — Sharing a bite or two of human food with your pet is a sure way to show your love, but be sure to choose pet-friendly snacks. Foods to avoid:

    • Chocolate
    • Grapes and raisins
    • Macadamia nuts
    • Garlic
    • Onions
    • Xylitol (a sugar-free sweetener)

Small amounts of any of these items can be lethal to your pet. Stick with lean sources of protein and fresh veggies for shareable snacks.

  • Insecticides — Many insect-killing sprays, bait stations, and traps contain toxic ingredients that can cause serious harm if ingested by your pet. In addition to household insecticides, some pet flea and tick products can be deadly as well. Always ensure you are using a product that is formulated for your pet’s weight and species. All too often, cats are mistakenly dosed with canine products, leading to seizures and possible death. Give us a call if you have questions concerning safe flea and tick medications to use for your pet.
  • Rodenticides — All the deadly chemicals utilized in rodenticides are hazardous to your pet. Depending on the active ingredient, your pet may suffer from internal bleeding, kidney failure, brain swelling, severe vomiting, or bloat. These products also pose a threat to your pet if she eats a dead rodent that was poisoned by a rodenticide.

  • Cleaning supplies — Many household cleaners, such as toilet bowl cleaners, rust removers, and drain cleaners, are corrosive in nature. They can cause chemical burns to the mouth and esophagus, gastrointestinal irritation, and more severe problems if they are absorbed into the body. Even products containing natural ingredients should be kept out of your pet’s reach.
  • Human medications — People hate seeing their pets in pain, and often turn to their own medicine cabinets to help alleviate discomfort. Sadly, many anti-inflammatory products, such as Tylenol® (acetaminophen), Advil® (ibuprofen), and Aleve® (naproxen), are deadly to animals. Giving Tylenol® to your cat can be fatal, while ibuprofen and naproxen can lead to stomach ulcers and kidney failure. Never give your pet any human medication without consulting your veterinarian.
  • Pet medications — Medications formulated for pets are often flavored to make administration easier, but your pet may search out the bottle and scarf down its entire contents. Dosages are calculated carefully, and any excess amount may be fatal to your pet. Keep these medications in a cabinet up and away from noses and paws.

Outdoor and garden toxins

Early spring is a great time to get started on lawn care. In your quest for the perfect yard, you may plant a garden or use products to banish pests and weeds. Unfortunately, these items used to create an outdoor haven can be toxic to your pet. Ensure your pet does not have access to these poisonous items:

  • Plants — While designing your flower garden, avoid these hazardous plants:

    • Azaleas
    • Aloe
    • Dieffenbachia
    • Foxglove
    • Oleander
    • Cyclamen
    • Chrysanthemums
    • Rhododendrons
    • Tulips
    • Daffodils
    • Sago palms
    • Lilies (can cause kidney failure in our feline friends)
  • Lawn chemicals — Striving for the greenest, brightest lawn may come at the cost of your pet’s health. Chemicals designed to kill weeds and fertilize grass are chock-full of ingredients that can be toxic to animals.
  • Mulch — Cocoa bean or cocoa shell mulch contain the same toxic ingredients as chocolate and should be avoided if pets will have access to flower beds. Also, be aware that some wood mulches can cause skin irritation, especially if they’re fresh and filled with high levels of tree oils.

Signs of toxicity in pets

If your pet is not capable of controlling her curiosity, monitor for signs of poisoning so you can quickly contact your emergency veterinarian, the Pet Poison Helpline, or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. Symptoms to watch for:

  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Ataxia, or incoordination
  • Muscle tremors
  • Seizures
  • Pale gums
  • Increased heart rate
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Panting

Is your pet known for sticking her nose into sticky situations? Give us a call to learn how to create a safe, toxin-free environment for your best friend.