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The week of March 17th is “National Poison Prevention Week,  and poisoning can happen to any pet at anytime, even from products around our house that we may or may not even think about.   And since dogs “do the darndest things, they may be exposed to some of these products with good intention onthe part of the owner, intentional poisoning or abuse, by products left around the garage or driveway, or of course, the good old garbage.  What are the most common household poisons? Read on!

Foods such as chocolate, onions, moldy cheese, raisins and grapes. If your dog ingests any of these, call your vet or poison control hotline.

Alkaline household cleanser such a solvents and paint strippers. the dog may walk into spilled products, or an owner may unknowingly may use them to remove paint from fur. They can cause inflammation of the kin, vomiting and diarrhea, seizures, or ulcers on the tongue. If you suspect the dog has had exposure to these products, DO NOT INDUCE Vomiting..what burned on the way down will burn on the way up!. If the dog’s skin has been exposed wash with soap and water.

Insecticides with “chlorinated hydrocarbons”…where are these found? Believe it or not, in concentrated insecticide rinses  and flea collars, as well as mothballs. they can cause restlessness, agitation, “twitching”, seizures, excessive salivation, coma, and death. If skin exposure has occurred, wash the fur with soap and water.

Organophosphate insectcides: found in insecticidal sprays,, shampoos, and flea collars. Can cause drooling, respiratory distress, frequent urination and defecation, and muscle tremors. Thoroughly wash your dog with soap and water

Warfarin rodenticide: dog can eat the poison or a rodent that has been poisoned (and did you know, that “coumadin”, a common blood “thinner” is warfarin?).Because it “thins the blood” or inhibits clotting it can cause bleeding gums and bruising to the skin. The the dog could bleed to death. If the product has been recently ingested, induce vomiting with hydrogen peroxide.

Strychnine rodentcide: used as a rodent bait and occasionally in intentional poisoning. Can cause stiffness and seizures and can lead to death within 1 hour of ingestion. induce vomiting immediately

Slug and snail bait (metaldehyde): Some dogs like the taste (go figure) and may eat it deliberately. Can lead to tremors, drooling, coma, or death. If recently ingested, induce vomiting with hydrogen peroxide.

Antifreeze (ethylene glycol): this can lea from car radiators or be spilled when being added to a radiator. dogs love the taste of this, but is can lead to unsteady or wobbly gait, seizures, vomiting, collapse, coma, and death. if recently ingested, induce vomiting with hydrogen peroxide.

Aspirin: sometimes owners give this to a dog with good intention to manage pain, but it can lead to appetite loss, depression, and vomiting. If you dog is in pain contact your vet for pain management options.Also unsafe are cold remedies, Advil (Ibuprofen, and Tylenol (acetaminophen).

Lead and other heavy metals such as zinc. Some dogs chew everything, so chewing on flakes old pain, fishing weights made of lead, old pipes, or batteries can expose your dog to lead poisoning. Initial sins may be vomiting and diarrhea, abdominal pain, staggering and unsteady gait, and paralysis. Induce vomiting if you suspect lead has been infested.

Illegal drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, and although not illegal, alcohol. (not that anyone has any of those around-be honest with your vet if you suspect your pet has had exposure to these products).  The can lead to lack of coordination, agitation, fear and biting, and dilated pupils.

Sedatives and antidepressants : dog may have accidental exposure or been administered intentionally.. Can lead to depression, staggering gait, coma, and death. Induce vomiting.

With any possible exposure to a toxic substance, always contact poison control (1-888-426-4435) or contact your vet immediately!   As a general guideline for treatment of potential poisoning, you should not induce vomiting if:

  • the animal is having difficulty breathing
  • having seizures, convulsions, or “fits”
  • is not conscious
  • has a history of bloat (you will know if your dog has had this)
  • a slow heart rate
  • if the toxin is likely to be a caustic, acidic, or petroleum based product
  • if the object the dog ate was pointed or sharp and puncture the dogs intestinal tract (I had a dog eat a wooden Teriyaki skewer once, luckily he survived with veterinary care)
  • or the product information says not to induce vomiting.

If you believe inducing vomiting is appropriate, use a 3% Hydrogen Peroxide solution of 1 teaspoon for very 10 pounds of body weight. This can be repeated up to three times, allowing 15 to 2 minutes between administrations.

When calling, the more information  you can provide the better, so if you know:

  • The name of the poison
  • how much the animal ate or was exposed to
  • when it happened
  • your dogs vital signs(only you know what the normal breathing rate and pulse is for  your dog), temperature, and the color of the membranes (the color of your dogs gums)
  • approximate weight of the pet.

The life you save just might be your best friend’s!