What to do if your pet is poisoned!
Don’t panic. Rapid response is important, but panicking can interfere with the process of helping your pet.
Take 30 to 60 seconds to safely collect and have at hand any material involved. This may be of great benefit to your vet as they determine what poison or poisons are involved. In the event that you need to take your pet to a local veterinarian, be sure to take the product’s container with you. Also, collect in a sealable plastic bag any material your pet may have vomited or chewed.
If you witness your pet consuming material that you suspect might be toxic, do not hesitate to seek emergency assistance, even if you do not notice any adverse effects. Sometimes, even if poisoned, an animal may appear normal for several hours or for days after the incident.
Please note: If your animal is having seizures, losing consciousness, is unconscious or is having difficulty breathing, telephone ahead and bring your pet immediately to your local veterinarian or emergency veterinary clinic.
Keep the telephone number of your local Veterinarian & a 24 hour Emergency Clinic in a prominent location.
Invest in an emergency first-aid kit for your pet. The kit should contain:
- Saline eye solution
- Artificial tear gel (to lubricate eyes after flushing)
- Mild grease-cutting pet shampoo or washing up liquid (for bathing an animal after skin contamination)
- Forceps (to remove stingers)
- A muzzle (to protect against fear- or excitement-induced biting)
- A towl or blanket for wrapping them up in to stop them biting or scratching you
- A pet carrier
Top 10 Pet Poisons
With various dangers lurking in corners and cupboards, the home can be a minefield of poisons for our pets. Every year thousands of pets get exposed to toxic substances, many of which included everyday household products. Don’t leave it up to Max or Mia to keep themselves safe. Below is a list of the Top Ten Pet Poisons that affected our furry friends.
For many years human medications have been number one common hazard for pets. Pets have been poisoned after ingesting human prescription and over-the-counter drugs, such as painkillers, cold medications, vitamins, antidepressants and dietary supplements. Pets often snatch pill vials from counters and bedside lockers or gobble up medications accidentally dropped on the floor, so it’s essential to keep all medication tucked away in hard-to-reach cupboards.
There is a list of the American Top 10 Human Medications that have poisoned pets on the ASPCA website, click here to view the list.
In our effort to battle home & garden invasions of unwelcome pests, we often unwittingly put our pets at risk. One of the most common incidents involved the misuse of flea and tick products—such as applying the wrong topical treatment to the wrong species. Thus, it’s always important to talk to your pet’s veterinarian before beginning any flea and tick control program. Also garden insecticides can poison your pet like snail and slug pellets. Always store insecticides & pesticides in inaccessible areas—and read the manufacturer's label carefully for proper usage and storage.
People food like grapes, raisins, avocado and certain citrus fruit can seriously harm our furry friends. One of the worst offenders—chocolate—contains large amounts of methylxanthines, which, if ingested in significant amounts, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst, urination, hyperactivity, and in severe cases, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors and seizures.
Main foods to avoid are:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Chocolate (all forms)
- Coffee (all forms)
- Fatty foods
- Macadamia nuts
- Moldy or spoiled foods
- Onions, onion powder
- Raisins and grapes
- Yeast dough
- Products sweetened with xylitol
There is a list of the America Top 10 Human Food that have poisoned pets on the ASPCA website, click here to view the list.
Mouse & Rat Poisons
Many baits used to attract rodents contain inactive ingredients that are attractive to pets as well. Depending on the type of rodenticide, ingestions can lead to potentially life-threatening problems for pets, including bleeding, seizures and kidney damage.
Even though veterinary medications are intended for pets, they’re often misapplied or improperly dispensed by well-meaning pet parents. Many animals have been poisoned by ingesting animal-related preparations such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, heartworm preventatives, de-wormers, antibiotics, vaccines and nutritional supplements. Pets often snatch pill vials from counters and bedside lockers or gobble up medications accidentally dropped on the floor, so it’s essential to keep all medication tucked away in hard-to-reach cupboards. Make sure to follow your vets instructions carefully and don't be afraid to ask them if the instructions are not clear to you.
Common houseplants were often the cause of pet poisoning. Varieties such as azalea, rhododendron, sago palm, lilies, kalanchoe and schefflera are often found in homes and can be harmful to pets. Every part of a Lily are especially toxic to cats, and can cause life-threatening kidney failure even in small amounts.
Here is a list of plants that can poison pets on the ASPCA website, click here to view the list.
They also have an article on keeping your cat safe from poisons.
A category on the rise, chemical hazards—found in ethylene glycol Antifreeze, paint thinner, drain cleaners and pool/spa chemicals—form a substantial danger to pets. Substances in this group can cause gastrointestinal upset, depression, respiratory difficulties and chemical burns.
Everybody knows that household cleaning supplies can be toxic to adults and children, but few take precautions to protect their pets from common agents such as bleaches, detergents and disinfectants. These products, when inhaled by our furry friends, can cause serious gastrointestinal distress and irritation to the respiratory tract.
It’s not too much loud music that constitutes our next pet poison offender. Instead, it’s heavy metals such as lead, zinc and mercury. Lead is especially pernicious, and pets are exposed to it through many sources, including consumer products, paint chips, linoleum, and lead dust produced when surfaces in older homes are scraped or sanded.
It may keep your grass green, but certain types of fertilizer can cause problems for outdoor cats and dogs. Prevention is really key to avoiding accidental exposure, but if you suspect your pet has ingested something lawn-side, please contact your veterinarian immediately.
Cold Weather Hazards
- Ice melting products
- Rat and mouse bait
Warm Weather Hazards
- Animal toxins—toads, insects, spiders, snakes and scorpions
- Blue-green algae in ponds
- Citronella candles
- Cocoa mulch
- Compost piles Fertilizers
- Flea products
- Outdoor plants and plant bulbs
- Swimming-pool treatment supplies
- Fly baits containing methomyl
- Slug and snail baits containing metaldehyde
Common Household Hazards
- Fabric softener sheets
- Liquid potpourri
- Christmas tree water (may contain fertilizers and bacteria, which, if ingested, can upset the stomach.
- Electrical cords
- Ribbons or tinsel (can become lodged in the intestines and cause intestinal obstruction—most often occurs with kittens!)
- Glass ornaments
Non-toxic Substances for Dogs and Cats
The following substances are considered to be non-toxic, although they may cause mild gastrointestinal upset in some animals:
- Water-based paints
- Toilet bowl water
- Silica gel
- Cat litter
- Glue traps
- Glow jewelry
Information courtesy of the ASPCA