Wednesday, March 18, 2015

March Is Pet Poison Prevention Month

Doesn't it seem like every month there's a special National Awareness something? This time, it's pet poison prevention. So let's talk about that. ("It's important!")  

First, before we get lost in lists of foods, plants, and chemicals, let me give you a hotline to call if you suspect your dog has been poisoned.

Let's start with some foods that people eat regularly but are toxic to dogs. There are poison control websites that will give you a more complete list, but here are the most common:

     yeast dough
     garlic powder or garlic
     onion powder or onion
     fatty foods
     xylitol sweetener
     grapes and raisins
     corn cobs 
     macadamia nuts

Dogs also wind up at the veterinarian for poisoning  because they ingested prescription and over-the counter medications and other drugs. The most frequent:

     prescription medications
     marijuana (poisoning becoming more common as states legalize it)
     over-the-counter medications (ibuprofen, acetaminophen, cold meds)

Some chemicals found at home: 

     hand sanitizer (ethanol)
     hydrocarbons (paint, polishes, fuel oils)
     antifreeze (watch out for spills on the street that get on paws and are licked later)
     some fertilizers
     de-icers (ingested while licking their paws)
     pine oil
     tea tree oil (yes, it is in some dog shampoos, but it is toxic in large amounts)
      snail/slug, rat, or ant poisons

The list below was prepared by Petplan Pet Insurance. These items were removed from dogs' stomachs, with the bills submitted to the claims department: 

     small batteries 
     wooden checkers
     metal skewer
     fish hooks
     razor blades
     hair ties
     tennis ball
     plastic hanger
     tea lights
     wedding ring
     rubber mat

Does your dog like to walk on the beach and swim in the ocean? Ingesting sand will cost you a trip to the vet, as will salt toxicity if he or she swallows too much salt water.

Do you like to garden? Here are some plants that are toxic to dogs:

     daffodils (narcissus)
     deadly nightshade
     English ivy
     morning glory
     sago palm 

So with an abundance of caution, throw out chemicals you don't need, store medications -- and poisonous foods -- in closed cupboards out of the reach of your dog, pick up small items the pup could ingest, monitor your canine friend if you have toxic plants in your yard, and keep the pet poison hotline handy!

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photo by Progressive Portraits

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