Poison Awareness Month

10 Poison Prevention Tips

  • Never give any medication to your pet without the direction of your veterinarian.
  • Store medications, household cleaners, pesticides, chemicals, foods and sweets in a cabinet above the counter.
  • When using pesticides, keep pets away from the area of application for the time recommended.
  • Never use any product not specifically formulated for pets.
  • Consult with your veterinarian before beginning any flea & tick program – some pets are sensitive to certain insecticides.
  • When cleaning your pet’s crate or habitat, use a mild soap such as liquid dish detergent along with hot water rather than products containing harsh chemicals.
  • Always read the label first and follow instructions exactly for safe use, storage and disposal of products.
  • Do not give chocolate, candy, grapes or raisins as a treat, in any amount.
  • Discourage animals from nibbling on any variety of plant, as even non-toxic plants can cause stomach upset.
  • Call your veterinarian to report any possible toxic exposure.

Human Medications
The most common culprits of accidental pet poisoning are:

  • Painkillers – Just one extra strength acetaminophen can be deadly to a cat. It only takes 4 regular strength ibuprofen to cause serious kidney problems for a small dog
  • Cold medications
  • Antidepressants
  • Heart medications
  • Diet pills
  • Vitamins

Depending on the type of rodenticide (rat, mouse and gopher bait), ingestion can lead to life threatening problems in pets including bleeding, seizures, or damage to kidneys and other vital organs.

Grapes, Raisins and Other Foods
Grapes and raisins appear to cause renal failure in dogs if ingested in large amounts, but there are still unknowns

  • The toxic component is unclear
  • It is not clear if only certain dogs are affected
  • It is not known if repeat ingestions over time are hazardous and can lead to the same effects as a large, one time consumption

Other potentially harmful foods:

  • Chocolate
  • Candy
  • Yeast dough
  • Avocado
  • Tea
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Onions
  • Salt
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Coffee
  • Garlic

Products used to eliminate pesky bugs on your pet or inside / outside your home can sicken or kill animals if not used safely.

  • Flea and tick products
  • Insecticidal sprays, liquids and granules
  • Insect repellents
  • Mothballs
  • Agricultural products

Volatile petroleum based products, alcohols, acids and other corrosives are the cause of many animal poisonings each year.

  • Ethylene glycol antifreeze
  • Kerosene
  • Drain cleaners
  • Pool chemicals
  • Ice melting products

Household Cleaners
Take a few minutes to read labels. Depending on the type of exposure, some household cleaners can lead to stomach irritation or even burns in the mouth. If inhaled, irritation of the lungs may occur.

  • Disinfectants
  • Detergents
  • Bleach
  • Cleansers

Dogs that ingest foods and products containing the sweetener xylitol develop a sudden drop in blood sugar, resulting in depression, loss of coordination and seizures, even liver failure.

  • Chewing gum
  • Hard candy
  • Gum drops
  • Baked goods
  • Toothpaste

17 Common Poisonous Plants
Members of the Lilium spp. are considered to be highly toxic to cats. While the poisonous component has not yet been identified, it is clear that with even ingestions of very small amounts of the plant, severe kidney damage could result.

Ingestion of Cannabis sativa by companion animals can result in depression of the central nervous system and incoordination, as well as vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, increased heart rate, and even seizures and coma.

Sago Palm
All parts of Cycas Revoluta are poisonous, but the seeds or “nuts” contain the largest amount of toxin. The ingestion of just one or two seeds can result in very serious effects, which include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, seizures and liver failure.

Tulip/Narcissus bulbs
The bulb portions of Tulipa/Narcissus spp. contain toxins that can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation, drooling, loss of appetite, depression of the central nervous system, convulsions and cardiac abnormalities.

Members of the Rhododenron spp. contain substances known as grayantoxins, which can produce vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, weakness and depression of the central nervous system in animals. Severe azalea poisoning could ultimately lead to coma and death from cardiovascular collapse.

All parts of Nerium oleander are considered to be toxic, as they contain cardiac glycosides that have the potential to cause serious effects—including gastrointestinal tract irritation, abnormal heart function, hypothermia and even death.

Castor Bean
The poisonous principle in Ricinus communis is ricin, a highly toxic protein that can produce severe abdominal pain, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, weakness and loss of appetite. Severe cases of poisoning can result in dehydration, muscle twitching, tremors, seizures, coma and death.

Cylamen species contain cyclamine, but the highest concentration of this toxic component is typically located in the root portion of the plant. If consumed, Cylamen can produce significant gastrointestinal irritation, including intense vomiting. Fatalities have also been reported in some cases.

This plant contains components that can produce gastrointestinal irritation, as well as those that are toxic to the heart, and can seriously affect cardiac rhythm and rate.

Taxus spp. contains a toxic component known as taxine, which causes central nervous system effects such as trembling, incoordination, and difficulty breathing. It can also cause significant gastrointestinal irritation and cardiac failure, which can result in death.

Common garden plants popular around Easter, Amaryllis species contain toxins that can cause vomiting, depression, diarrhea, abdominal pain, hypersalivation, anorexia and tremors.

Autumn Crocus
Ingestion of Colchicum autumnale by pets can result in oral irritation, bloody vomiting, diarrhea, shock, multi-organ damage and bone marrow suppression.

These popular blooms are part of the Compositae family, which contain pyrethrins that may produce gastrointestinal upset, including drooling, vomiting and diarrhea, if eaten. In certain cases depression and loss of coordination may also develop if enough of any part of the plant is consumed.

English Ivy
Also called branching ivy, glacier ivy, needlepoint ivy, sweetheart ivy and California ivy, Hedera helix contains triterpenoid saponins that, should pets ingest, can result in vomiting, abdominal pain, hypersalivation and diarrhea.

Peace Lily (AKA Mauna Loa Peace Lily)
Spathiphyllum contains calcium oxalate crystals that can cause oral irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty in swallowing and intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips and tongue in pets who ingest.

Pothos (both Scindapsus and Epipremnum) belongs to the Araceae family. If chewed or ingested, this popular household plant can cause significant mechanical irritation and swelling of the oral tissues and other parts of the gastrointestinal tract.

Schefflera and Brassaia actinophylla contain calcium oxalate crystals that can cause oral irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty in swallowing and intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips and tongue in pets who ingest.

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