We at Riverbridge Animal Hospital know that your pet is a member of your family, and you’ll do anything to keep your fur baby happy and healthy! National Pet Poison Prevention Month is our opportunity to raise awareness around the harmful and potentially toxic substances that may be in your home and around your animal. As we head into March, take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the following list of dangerous poisons for pets.
CHOCOLATE: Keep any and all kinds of chocolate away from dogs, cats, and other pets. Chocolate is toxic and potentially fatal to animals, especially dark chocolate. Signs of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, irregular heartbeat, fever, restlessness, and tremors.
PAIN KILLERS: Human medicines used to treat pain include Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen. Both are toxic to cats and dogs and are known to cause stomach ulcers and problems with gastrointestinal and kidney function. Signs of poisoning are varied, so look out for vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, abdominal pain, rapid breathing, drooling, shock, or loss of appetite.
XYLITOL: This is a common sugar substitute that can be found in many low-calorie candies and gums. Xylitol is especially toxic to dogs and can cause hypoglycemia, seizures, liver failure, and even death.
LILIES: Any plants belonging to the lily family are known to be deadly to cats. The ingestion of any part of the flower, stem, bulbs, or even just the water inside the vase can cause severe reactions, most notably severe acute kidney failure. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, and abnormal breathing.
ONIONS: Dogs and cats should never be fed any member of the onion family, including chives, leeks, and garlic. Onion poisoning can occur in all forms of this food whether it is ingested raw, fried, or as a powder, and can cause anemia (destroyed red blood cells) in your pets. Signs of anemia include fatigue, weakness, or difficulty breathing.
MACADAMIA NUTS: Dogs especially can develop pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) due to the dangerous fat content in raw or roasted macadamia nuts. Other symptoms of toxicity include weakness, vomiting, muscle tremors, fever, or incoordination.
CANNABIS: The active ingredient in cannabis is Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and is known to be toxic to pets whether inhaled as second-hand smoke or eaten as edibles. While it is rare for a pet to ingest enough THC to cause death, your pets can be poisoned enough to exhibit excessive drooling, disorientation, incoordination, slow heart rate, difficulty walking, and urinary incontinence. Severe cases can result in seizures or coma.
According to the APCC (Animal Poison Control Center), the most common calls they receive regarding poisoning involve pets who have accidentally swallowed human medicines. Be sure to lock away all medications in a safe place in your home.
If you suspect your pet may have ingested a dangerous poison be sure to call the Pet Poison Helpline immediately or contact your veterinarian. Time is of the essence, and the sooner a suspected substance is identified the better. Knowing which foods and substances to keep away from your pets could very well save their lives not just this month, but every month!