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Comprehensive FAQs Guide Concerning Pet Poisoning
March 15, 2024

Get ready for National Animal Poison Prevention Week starting March 17th this year. It’s an important time for pet owners to be vigilant. Poisonings can occur suddenly and necessitate immediate vet attention. But don’t worry, your neighborhood Washington Heights, TX vet has some valuable advice to share in this enlightening article.

How Many Pets Fall Victim to Poisoning Each Year?

The statistics are pretty unsettling. Annually, the U.S. records more than 401,500 cases of pet poisoning.

Which Foods Should Pets Avoid Due to Poisoning Risks?

Keep in mind that many foods that humans enjoy can be harmful to our pets! Here’s what to watch out for.

  • Caffeine
  • Grapes
  • Anything That Contains Xylitol (Birch Sugar)
  • Scallions
  • Chives
  • Many nuts, such as macadamia nuts
  • Junk Food
  • Garlic
  • Chocolate
  • Raisins
  • Alcohol
  • Currants
  • Onions

For additional details, it’s best to consult with your Washington Heights, TX veterinarian.

Which Familiar Household Products Can Pose a Toxic Hazard to Dogs and Cats?

The extent of ordinary household items that can be deadly to your furry friend might catch you off guard.

Cleaning Agents: It is reasonable to presume that all household cleaning products are hazardous to pets. Bleach, disinfectants, furniture polish and oil, detergent, drain openers, mold killers, and other chemicals are all potentially hazardous substances.

Automotive Products: Antifreeze poses a severe threat to pets, especially with its enticing flavors in some formulations. Opting for a pet-safe alternative is advisable, although not foolproof. Gasoline, oils, paints, cleaners, and wiper fluids also present significant dangers. Ensure pets are kept away from chemical zones and immediately address any antifreeze or chemical spills.

Lawn/Garden Products: These situations are alarming because pets can easily ingest them. Slug bait or snail bait is highly toxic to dogs because it contains Metaldehyde, which is a common ingredient in many brands.

Remember the dangers of fertilizers, fungicides, weed killers, and herbicides. Pets can inadvertently gather these chemicals on their fur while traversing treated areas.

Which Plants Present Poisonous Hazards to Pets?

Many pets enjoy chewing on plants. That may be cute, but it is also rather dangerous. The whole list of hazardous plants is too large to print here, so we’ll focus on the most prevalent ones. Lilies are the most concerning among cats. Even in low dosages, they can be lethal to cats. Fluffy merely needs to nibble on a leaf or drink a tiny amount of water to become ill. Fido is especially vulnerable to Sago palms.

Below, you’ll find some of the toxic ones:

  • Azalea
  • Lilies
  • Crocus
  • Dieffenbachia
  • Tulips
  • Sago palm
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Aloë
  • Holly
  • Peonies
  • Foxglove
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Cyclamen
  • Rhododendron
  • Widow’s-thrill
  • Common daisy
  • Hydrangea
  • Amaryllis
  • Oleander
  • Daffodils
  • Irises
  • Ivy
  • Birds of Paradise
  • Hyacinth

In most cases, anything with a bulb is unsafe for pets. This includes tulips, daffodils, onions, and garlic. Visit the ASPCA website for comprehensive information on safe and unsafe plants.

It’s worth noting that plants without toxicity can still be hazardous. Take roses, for example, which have sharp thorns that may cause severe internal injuries if consumed. Seek advice from your vet should you have any questions.

Which Household Goods Pose Poisoning Risks to Pets?

Additionally, here are a few more examples:

Pesticides: Watch out for bug spray, rodenticides, and mouse or rat bait—products designed to eliminate pests—as they can be harmful to your furry friend. Many rodenticides contain warfarin, an anticoagulant that can cause severe and potentially fatal internal bleeding.

Additionally, flea and tick medications are part of the list, known to be safe when utilized appropriately. Yet, giving too much or using an improper dose could lead to poisoning for your pet.

Medication: It’s essential to be vigilant in keeping medications out of your pet’s reach. Among the most hazardous are aspirin, acetaminophen, and Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen. Safely store both over-the-counter and prescription medications away from Fido and Fluffy.

Could Salt Lamps Be Hazardous to Pets?

Yes, they can be risky! Some pets are attracted to salt. Fluffy and Fido may develop a habit of licking the lamp, risking salt poisoning. However, you can still have a salt lamp; just make sure it’s placed where your pets can’t access it.

Are Poison Concerns the Same for Cats and Dogs?

Yes and no, depending on the circumstance. In most cases, both cats and dogs are vulnerable to similar toxic substances. However, Fido and Fluffy’s differing instincts and behaviors can alter this. Cats, specifically, may be more prone to illness from substances spilling on or touching their fur. Fluffy’s delicate skin and grooming habits make her vulnerable to toxins. Cats can fall ill by walking through pesticide-treated areas, and ingesting toxins while grooming. This concern extends to dogs; Fido may ingest hazardous substances by licking his paws.

Another contrast? Dogs often exhibit a tendency to eat or chew on various objects. While some dogs outgrow this behavior after teething, others persist as avid chewers well into their adult years.

What Are the Telltale Signs of Pet Poisoning?

The symptoms can vary depending on the poison type and dosage. However, there are certain general indicators to be mindful of. These may include:

  • Fever
  • Shock
  • Irregular Heartbeat
  • Drooling
  • Collapse
  • Seizure
  • Respiratory Issues
  • Excessive Thirst
  • Abdominal pain
  • Excessive Urination
  • Coughing
  • Twitching
  • Internal Bleeding
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Wobbling/Lurching Gait
  • Coma
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea

Cats often withdraw when they’re not feeling well, while dogs may exhibit signs of sadness. You might also notice unusual behaviors, from grumpiness to clinginess.

Keep in mind, these signs may be indicative of different issues. Reach out to your Washington Heights, TX vet promptly if you observe anything unusual.

Do Essential Oils Present Dangers to Pets?

Many incorporate aromatherapy into their health and wellness routines. While pets can benefit, caution is key. The highly concentrated oils can pose risks. Cats, being sensitive to chemicals, are particularly vulnerable.

Highlighted are some of the unsafe ones:

  • Anise
  • Cinnamon
  • Sweet Birch
  • Pennyroyal
  • Juniper
  • Citrus Oils
  • Peppermint
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Pine
  • Wintergreen
  • Wintergreen
  • Clove
  • Ylang Ylang

Err on the side of caution; avoid exposing your furry friend to perfumes and oils.

What Constitutes Toxicity for Birds?

Bird caregivers must be particularly careful. Polly’s sensitive respiratory system is very delicate. Even fumes that seem safe or pleasant to us can be harmful to your feathered friend. This includes scented candles, incense, perfume, and air fresheners. Cooking fumes and aerosols are equally hazardous for birds.

How Do I Respond If I Suspect My Pet Has Been Poisoned?

A swift response is vital; your pet’s life may hang in the balance, so delaying is not advisable.

The initial step is to get in touch with your veterinarian. If it’s beyond regular hours, consider contacting an emergency clinic. You may also utilize a pet poison hotline for assistance. The ASPCA can be reached at (888) 426-4435 among various options. (Note: charges may apply.) Fido or Fluffy will require urgent veterinary attention, but it’s advisable to call ahead for preparation. You might also be advised on performing first aid, including administering hydrogen peroxide.

Comply strictly with instructions and avoid giving anything unless instructed by your vet or a poison helpline specialist. Making incorrect choices could pose greater risks than taking no action.

In need of advice regarding your pet’s safety, health, or care? Reach out! Contact Corner Vet Heights for assistance.