Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Commonly Swallowed Household Poisons

Certain household items, like chemicals, are obviously poisonous to our pets if ingested. But many people are unaware of some common household items that are equally damaging when consumed. Here’s a short list to watch out for around our 4 legged family members:

grapes & raisins – most fruits and veggies are safe (and healthy!) to feed, but for some reason certain dogs experience bad reactions to this fruit, some even suffering from acute renal failure.

Chocolate – the theobromine and caffeine in chocolate is very dangerous, especially the darker the chocolate is and the smaller the animal is. Dogs have also been poisoned after eating the cocoa mulch used in some gardens.

Onions – the thiosulphate in onions can cause hemolytic anemia in dogs.

Xylitol – a common sweetener in gum, candy, mints and other products. It can cause vomiting and hypoglycemia. I recently met a woman whose Maltese was killed after ingesting 2 pieces of gum.

Macadamia nuts – in any form, these nuts can cause a range of symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea and hind-end weakness

Zinc - some dogs (like Labs) will eat anything that fits in their mouth, and many are prone to swallowing pennies or other items containing zinc. This causes zinc toxicity, resulting in hemolytic anemia, gastroenteritis and damage to the liver, kidney, and pancreas.

The ASPCA’s poison control hotline recently released their 2009 list of most common poisons. Top on their list of offenders was human medications, either snatched off counters or eaten off the floor. The second was the misapplication of spot-on flea and tick products, especially for cats. Inhaling household cleaners and nibbling on toxic house plants also made the list.

Keep the number of your vet and the ASPCA Poison Control Center on hand in case of an emergency. The ASPCA PCC hotline is: 888-426-4435.