10 Things That Can Poison Your Dog

by Stephanie Johnson, pet enthusiast

BEWARE!  Many common household items are OK for you, but NOT for your dog…

Here’s a list compiled by the “Pet Poison Helpline” of the 10 most frequently reported dog poison emergencies in 2011.

1.  Some foods we eat — including chocolate, xylitol, and grapes/raisins

We have all heard that chocolate is toxic to dogs.  But, did you also know that xylitol, the sweetener used in many sugarless foods including gum and candy is highly toxic. According to the vets at Pet Poison Helpline, “When Xylitol is ingested, even in small amounts, it can result in a life-threatening drop in blood sugar or even liver failure.”

Also important to note, grapes and raisins are among the most toxic foods to dogs and can cause kidney failure.

 2.  Certain insecticide sprays, bait stations, and spot on flea/tick treatment
Pay particular attention to products that contain organophosphates, often found in rose-care products, which can be life-threatening even in small amounts.

3.  Mouse and rat poison

 For obvious reason, these products are toxic and can cause severe issues in dogs including internal bleeding, brain swelling, kidney failure, or severe vomiting and bloat, according to the veterinarians. Your dog can even be poisoned by eating dead rodents that ingested rat poison!

4.  Accidental or intentional use of human anti-inflammatories

This includes prescription Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory products (i.e. Meloxicam/Mobic,  Celecoxib/Celebrex, and Valdecoxib/Bextra).  As well as numerous “over-the-counter” NSAIDs including ibuprofen (i.e. Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (i.e. Aleve).

NSAIDS can cause stomach and intestinal ulcers, and kidney failure.

 5.  Acetaminophen

Acetaminophen (i.e. Tylenol) can cause severe liver failure in dogs. It can also cause dry eye. A single Tylenol tablet can be fatal to a cat.

Do NOT give any of your prescription or over-the-counter products to your dog unless recommended by a veterinarian with specific usage instructions.

6.  Household cleaners

The Pet Poison Helpline reminds us that just because a cleaner says “natural” does not necessarily mean it is safe for your pet to consume.  Keep cleaners where pets can’t get to them and try to avoid or limit exposure to areas that were just cleaned.

7.  Anti-depressant human drugs

Anti-depressants account for the highest number of prescription medication-related calls to the Pet Poison Helpline. According to their veterinarians, “When ingested, they can cause neurological problems in dogs like sedation, lack of coordination, agitation, tremors, and seizures.

8.   Fertilizers (including bone meal, blood meal, and iron-based)

To a dog, fertilizers can smell heavenly and probably taste good too. However, ingesting fertilizer can cause severe pancreatitis or form concretion in the stomach, which obstructs the gastrointestinal tract.

 9.  Amphetamine human drugs

According to the Pet Poison Helpline, “medications used to treat ADD and ADHD contain potent stimulants…even minimal ingestions by dogs can cause life-threatening tremors, seizures, elevated body temperatures and heart problems.”

10.  Increase dose of Veterinary anti-inflammatories and/or pain relievers without vets recommendation

Just like with us, it’s not good to overdose your dog on painkillers. The result can be severe gastric ulceration and acute kidney failure. Make sure you follow your veterinarian’s recommended dosage on pet NSAIDs like Rimadyl, Metacam, Deramaxx, etc.

If you think your dog is still in pain, take him back to the vet to discuss natural therapies and/or a change in medications — don’t just up the dosage yourself.

The best way to prevent dog poisoning is to be diligent. Dog-proof your home in the same way you would baby-proof. Put medications in high cupboards that dogs cannot reach. Make sure the garbage has a tight lid, or better yet, is in a cabinet with a child lock on it so your pet cannot get into it while you are gone.

The Pet Poison Helpline reminds us to never medicate a pet with human drugs without consulting your veterinarian first. It also reminds us to be aware of cigarette butts, which are harmful to dogs and any poisonous plants in our houses or your yards.

To get more information on how to keep your pet safe, visit the Pet Poison Helpline.

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