Apr 03 2017

The More You Know: Understanding Common Pet Toxins

Jack Russel Terrier eating from refrigerator

By now, most people know to keep toxic chemicals and other dangerous items out of reach of small children. The combination of a curious pet and easily accessible toxic chemicals, food, or other items can also be a recipe for disaster. 90% of accidental pet poisonings occur in the home, making it especially important to focus on pet toxins in your home.

Knowing what common pet toxins may be lurking and within reach of your pet is the first step in reducing the risk of a pet poisoning emergency.

A Household Sweep

The annual spring cleaning tradition is the perfect time to take a good look around your home for possible pet toxins. You may be surprised to discover what your pet has access to, including:

  • Food items, such as chocolate, anything containing Xylitol, alcohol, macadamia nuts, raisins, onions and garlic, coffee grounds, avocado, and fatty foods
  • Prescription and over-the-counter medications
  • Non-stick pans (the fumes that result from overheating the pans are highly toxic to birds)
  • Household chemicals, including toilet bowl cleaner, drain cleaner, paint remover, oven cleaner, liquid potpourri, etc.
  • Toiletries and personal care items
  • Food scraps and trash
  • Household plants like lilies (extremely toxic to cats), sago palms, and philodendrons

To keep your pets safe, store any potential hazards well out of their reach, including purses and backpacks which often contain a variety of temptations. Keep trash bins securely covered and, when in doubt, don’t offer people food to your pet.

Pet Toxins in the Yard and Garage

Even if your pet doesn’t frequent the areas outside your home, it never hurts to safely store potential pet toxins in those locations. If you have any of the following chemicals on your property, make sure they are kept off the ground and in a secure location:

  • Antifreeze
  • Fertilizer
  • Insecticides
  • Rodent, slug, or snail bait
  • Citronella candles
  • Cocoa mulch
  • Bone meal, blood meal
  • Pool chemicals
  • Compost (which often contains coffee grounds, onion peels, and other toxic food items)
  • Poisonous outdoor plants, such as rhododendron, laurel, castor bean, and oleander

Special care should be taken with antifreeze, which is a highly toxic product. Clean up any spills or leaks where antifreeze has collected in the driveway or garage, and make sure the lid is on tightly and the product stored well out of reach of pets.

Signs of Pet Poisoning

Any of the following symptoms are possible if your pet has been exposed to a toxic substance:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pale gums
  • Excessive thirst
  • Decreased urination
  • Weakness or lethargy
  • Coughing up blood
  • Seizure
  • Collapse

If you know or suspect that your pet has ingested something he or she shouldn’t have, please call the staff at Paws, Purrs & Exotics immediately. Time is of the essence in a pet poisoning emergency, and the sooner your pet undergoes testing and treatment the better his or her chances of making a full recovery.

pawspurrsandexoticsah | Pet Safety

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