Play It Pet Safe

Have you ever bought a plant to decorate for the holidays or dropped a vitamin accidentally? As these things do happen and can cause a potential pet poison risk, it is important to be informed as a preventative measure.

If you believe your pet has been affected by a poison, call your veterinarian, a veterinary emergency hospital for guidance or call the Pet Poison Helpline 1-855-765-7661, there also is a website and an app which come in handy in case you are away with your pet. The Pet Poison Helpline is available 24/7 and has veterinarians to walk you through a poison concern. Note that there is a fee for this service, and a veterinary visit may still be warranted. As you will be asked about the poison, if possible, have the name or package available when requested. Be sure to keep this away from your pet to avoid repeat ingestion.

According to the Pet Poison Helpline website, common pet poisons are as follows (not a complete list):

Dog Poisons

  1. Chocolate
  2. Rodenticides
  3. Xylitol (sugar-free gum, candy etc.)
  4. Anti-inflammatory medications
  5. Grapes and Raisins
  6. Antidepressant medications
  7. Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  8. Vitamin D overdose
  9. Stimulant medications (e.g. for ADD/ADHD)
  10. Fertilizers

Cat Poisons

  1. Lilies (Lilium species)
  2. Spot-on flea/tick medication for dogs
  3. Household Cleaners
  4. Antidepressant Medications
  5. Essential Oils
  6. Anti-inflammatory Medications
  7. Rodenticides
  8. Stimulant Medications (e.g. for ADD/ADHD)
  9. Onions and Garlic
  10. Vitamin D Overdose

Side effects can vary based on body size and species, i.e. when pets ingest a drug meant for a human. The processing can sometimes have severe effects on the pet’s body. Tylenol can be especially poisonous to cats as it interferes with red blood cell production.

Effects can range among poisons; vomiting, diarrhea, liver failure, kidney failure, tremors, seizures, respiratory distress, ataxia (wobbly), decreased/increased heart rate, or even death. Foods with high-fat content such as hot dogs or avocados can inflame the pancreas. Bones, plants or pits can be a foreign body concern by getting stuck in your pets’ digestive tract and require veterinary intervention and even surgical removal.

Keeping all possible toxins out of reach, in an area where pets do not have access is very important. Making sure garbage containers are secure or in a cupboard. Be aware of household hazards such as electrical cords, decorations, window blind cords, antifreeze, household cleaners, or anything that can be ingested or harm your pet if contact is made. Part of good prevention is knowing your pet’s behaviour, if they have an investigative personality, then it is a good idea not to leave your pet unattended around items that will peak their curiosity such as blankets with tassels, or this may warrant a trip to the nearest Veterinary Emergency Hospital. Being aware is the first line of defense for pet’s safety.