I'm speaking from personal experience here - my own dog has gotten into the pantry and tried to poison himself - twice - with raisins. Each time I've had to make him vomit with hydrogen peroxide, take him to the clinic, and give him activated charcoal and lots of extra fluids. Thankfully he's fine, but learn from my mistakes: keep all these items well away from your pets!
1. Chocolate (and coffee) - the darker the bar, the more toxic. Chocolate can cause vomiting/diarrhea, agitation, and seizures. It becomes most dangerous in large quantities, so smaller dogs are most at risk for the toxic effects (or large dogs who eat entire bars).
2. Raisins/Grapes/Currants - not all dogs and not all raisins, but they can cause fatal kidney damage so need quick treatment. We don't know exactly what the toxic compound is and we can't predict which dogs will be affected, so the safest course is to decontaminate as quickly as possible and support the kidneys with fluids.
3. Onions - cause damage to the liver and red blood cells. Avoid both cooked or raw onions.
4. Xylitol (found in sugar-free gum, baked goods, and some peanut butter) - causes our pets' blood sugar to drop dangerously low because they release a flood of insulin in response to the xylitol. It can lead to coma and even death. Exposure often requires hospitalization and IV dextrose support until the blood sugar returns to normal.
So, what to do in case of exposure?
If you know your pet has eaten any of these items recently, induce vomiting at home with hydrogen peroxide (ask us for a dose before this happens so you know what to do in an emergency). Then call us so we can get your pet the treatment needed as soon as possible to hopefully prevent serious injury. Remember - an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure - keep these away from your pets!
Winter temperatures, snow, and ice can pose hazards for our pets. But with a few easy steps you can keep your furry (or feathered, or scaly) friends safe and comfortable and still get out and enjoy the great outdoors.
1. Provide shelter
A snug house with straw, heated beds, and heated water bowls provide shelter from the elements to outdoor animals, whether cat, dog, rabbit, or chicken. Check any electric components daily to make sure they're functioning and decrease risk of electrical fire. Short-coated indoor animals may appreciate a coat when going outside to play or eliminate. Avoid shaving your long-haired pet during the colder months of the year. Instead, let their fur grow to allow them to stay warm in a natural way. Lastly, winter is a good time to evaluate your reptile's habitat - make sure humidity and temperature labels are appropriate for the species and your pet's winter needs.
2. Wash Those Pads
During the winter, sidewalks, parking lots, and the streets are often covered in road salt and other chemicals to melt snow. These can irritate the skin of the paws, or cause nausea and mouth sores if licked off. Dog shoes can protect their paws, but your pet might not find them very comfortable. Instead, wipe off their paws with a wet washcloth once you come back inside. You can apply petroleum jelly to your pet’s pawpads if they become dry or cracked.
3. Avoid Antifreeze
Antifreeze has a sweet taste and is very tempting to dogs and cats - but extremely poisonous. It causes kidney failure and death if not treated quickly. Keep pets away from stored antifreeze and avoid any contact with leaked antifreeze until the area is properly cleaned. If you think your pet may have been exposed to antifreeze, seek veterinary care immediately. Signs of antifreeze poisoning include: drunken behavior, wobbling or falling over, lethargy, vomiting, change to urination (too much and then later too little), diarrhea, and depression.
By doing what you can to keep your animals warm, protect their feet, and avoid toxins, you can make sure winter is just as enjoyable for your pets as it is for you.
Photos Maja Dumat and M C Morgan www.flickr.com
As the cooler weather sets in, here are some things to watch out for to keep your pets healthy this fall.
If you think your pet has been exposed to any of these poisonous substances, call us and the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661 so we can start treatment right away. Not all of these poisons are curable, but with quick intervention many lives can be saved.
Images and subject matter credit the Pet Health Network - Dr. Justine Lee