This week is National Animal Poison Prevention Week -
March 20 - 26, 2022. With Spring coming upon us it is time for us to educate ourselves about local household items and food items that may be harmful to our pets.
Below is a list of the top 6 household and foods toxic to our pets along with the signs and symptoms of toxicity:
Xylitol - is a common sweetener found in sugarless gums, such as Trident, Orbit and Ice Breaker Brands. Some candies, mints, flavored multi-vitamins, peanut butter, 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.
Human Medications - Common human drugs including NSAIDs (e.g. Advil®, Aleve® and Motrin®), acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol®) and antidepressants (e.g. Effexor®, Cymbalta®, Prozac®) can cause serious harm to your pets when ingested. NSAIDs can cause serious stomach and intestinal ulcers as well as kidney failure. Acetaminophen can lead to severe liver failure. Ingestion of antidepressants, which, of all human medications account for the highest number of calls to Pet Poison Helpline, can lead to neurological problems like sedation, incoordination, agitation, tremors and seizures.
Flowers - With Easter and spring right around the corner, flowers will begin to bloom. As beautiful as they are, some flowers can cause severe toxicity, or even fatalities, in animals. Certain types of lilies including tiger, day, Asiatic, Easter and Japanese lilies, are highly toxic to 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.
Chocolate - With the Easter bunny on his way, make sure your kids hide their candy from your dog. While the occasional chocolate chip in one cookie may not be an issue, certain types of chocolate can be very toxic. 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. The chemical toxicity in chocolate is due to methylxanthines (a relative of caffeine) and results in vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, and possibly death.
Fertilizers - Many 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.
Pest Control Products - Rodent, snail and slug baits are often used to keep pests at bay. However, if ingested, these poisons are extremely harmful to pets. They are highly toxic and without immediate veterinary attention can be fatal. 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.
Remember that what is safe for humans isn’t always safe for pets. If you think your pet has ingested something poisonous, it is always better (and less expensive) to get help immediately, rather than waiting until your pet is showing severe symptoms. Contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately at 800-213-6680 for life-saving help. Pet Poison Helpline is the most cost-effective animal poison control center in North America, including unlimited follow-up consultations.