My dogs are great eaters, and unfortunately that can mean that they put anything and everything in their mouths that vaguely even resembles food. If it’s on the floor, the next thing I know it, it’s in their mouth, especially my “chow hound!” I don’t know how many times I ask her “What do you have in your mouth?” (like I expect her to answer me) while what ever it is is finding it’s way down her throat or a piece of it is still hanging out the side of her mouth. I get up to go open her mouth and she chews it even faster and swallows it! She always has something that she’s not supposed to have in her mouth. Outside she chews on sticks and I hear her choking and run out to pull the invading sharp object from her jaws. She is a constant joy! But what about those things that can poison our dogs?
More than 140,000 cases of pets exposed to toxic substances, many of which include household items were reported to the ASPCA and their Animal Poison Control Center (APCC).
The ASPCA has published the TOP 10 Pet Toxins of
2009- Here they are:
1. Human Medications
For several years, human medications have been number one on the
ASPCA's list of common hazards, and 2009 was no exception. Last
year, the ASPCA managed 45,816 calls involving prescription and
over-the-counter drugs such as painkillers, cold medications,
Antidepressants and dietary supplements. Pets often snatch pill
vials from counters and nightstands or gobble up medications
accidentally dropped on the floor, so it's essential to keep meds
tucked away in hard-to-reach cabinets.
In our effort to battle home invasions by unwelcome pests, we often
unwittingly put our furry friends at risk. In 2009, our
Toxicologists fielded 29,020 calls related to insecticides. 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 pets
Veterinarian before beginning any flea and tick control program.
3. People Food
People food like grapes, raisins, avocado and products containing
xylitol, like gum, can seriously disable our furry friends, and
accounted for more than 17,453 cases in 2009. 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.
Common houseplants were the subject of 7,858 calls to APCC in 2009.
Varieties such as azalea, rhododendron, sago palm, lilies, kalanchoe
and schefflera is often found in homes and can be harmful to pets.
Lilies are especially toxic to cats, and can cause life-threatening
kidney failure even in small amounts.
5. Veterinary Medications
Even though veterinary medications are intended for pets, they're
often misapplied or improperly dispensed by well-meaning pet parents.
In 2009, the ASPCA managed 7,680 cases involving animal-related
preparations such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs,
heartworm preventatives, de-wormers, antibiotics, vaccines and
Last year, the ASPCA received 6,639 calls about pets that had
accidentally ingested rat and mouse poisons. Many types of bait 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 or kidney damage.
7. Household Cleaners
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.
Last year, the ASPCA received 4,143 calls related to household
cleaners. These products, when inhaled by our furry friends, can
cause serious gastrointestinal distress and irritation to the
8. Heavy Metals
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,
which accounted for 3,304 cases of pet poisonings in 2009. 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.
9. Garden Products
It may keep your grass green, but certain types of fertilizer and
garden products can cause problems for outdoor cats and dogs. Last
year, the ASPCA fielded 2,329 calls related to fertilizer exposure,
which can cause severe gastric upset and possibly gastrointestinal
10. Chemical Hazards
In 2009, the ASPCA handled approximately 2,175 cases of pet exposure
to chemical hazards. 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.
Prevention is key in avoiding accidental exposure, but if
you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, contact
your veterinarian immediately or the Animal Poison Control Center's 24-hour hotline at (888) 426-4435.
My rating: Prevention: (4)
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