Top 10 Dog Poisons

They are our best friends.  They guard us from harm, and they give us their unconditional love. Let's protect them by learning about a few things that may harm our dogs:

#1 - Medications for people. Drugs that help humans can have the opposite effect in pets. It doesn’t take a large dose to do much damage.
  • Ibuprofen or naproxen can cause ulcers or kidney failure.
  • Antidepressants may cause vomiting and in some cases, serotonin syndrome - a dangerous condition that raises temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure, and may cause seizures.
  • Isoniazid, a TB drug, is difficult for dogs to process. Even one tablet can cause problems in a small dog. Signs of poisoning include seizures and coma.
#2 - Flea and tick products. Thousands of animals are unintentionally poisoned by these products every year. Problems can occur if dogs accidentally ingest these products or if small dogs receive excessive amounts. Be sure to read the package directions carefully and use only as directed!
#3 - People food. Your dog may beg for a bite of your chocolate bar or a tortilla chip with guacamole, but not giving in to his begging could save his life. Animals have different metabolisms than people (as we see with cats and essential oils). Some foods and drinks that are safe for people can be dangerous or fatal to dogs.
  • Chocolate. Chocolate products contain substances called methylxanthines that can cause vomiting in small doses, and death if ingested in larger quantities. Dark chocolate contains more of these dangerous substances than do white or milk chocolate. For smaller dogs, just half an ounce of baking chocolate can be fatal, while a larger dog might survive eating 4 to 8 ounces. Coffee and caffeine have similarly dangerous chemicals.
  • Avocado. Healthy for you, yet avocadoes have a substance called persin that can act as a dog poison, causing vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Alcohol. NEVER GIVE YOUR DOG ALCOHOL! Symptoms of alcohol poisoning in dogs are similar to those in humans including; vomiting, breathing problems, coma, and in severe cases, death.
  • Grapes and raisins. These fruits can induce kidney failure in dogs. Even a small number may cause problems in some dogs.
  • Xylitol. This sweetener is found in many products, including sugar-free gum and candy. It causes a rapid drop in blood sugar, resulting in weakness and seizures. Liver failure also has been reported in some dogs.
#4 - Rat/Mouse poison. Rodenticides, if ingested by dogs, can cause severe problems. The symptoms depend on the nature of the poison, and signs may not start for several days after consuming the poison. In some instances, the dog may have eaten the poisoned rodent, and not been directly exposed to the toxin.
#5 - Pet medications. Just as humans can become sick or poisoned by medications intended to help, cases of pet poisoning by veterinary drugs are not uncommon. Some of the more commonly reported problem medications include painkillers and de-wormers. Of course, always check with your vet for recommendations of over the counter dog drugs.
#6- Household plants. Plants aren’t necessarily pet friendly. Some of the more toxic plants to dogs include:
  • Azaleas and rhododendrons. These pretty flowering plants contain toxins that may cause vomiting, diarrhea, coma, and potentially even death.
  • Tulips and daffodils. The bulbs of these plants may cause serious stomach problems, convulsions, and damage to the heart.
  • Sago palms. Eating just a few seeds may be enough to cause vomiting, seizures, and liver failure.
#7 - Chemical hazards. Not surprisingly, chemicals contained in antifreeze, paint thinner, and pool chemicals can poison your dog. Symptoms they may produce include stomach upset, depression, and chemical burns.
#8 - Household cleaners. Just as cleaners like bleach can poison people, they are also a leading cause of pet poisoning, resulting in stomach and respiratory tract problems.
#9 - Heavy metals. Lead, which may be in paint, linoleum, and batteries, can be poisonous if eaten by your dog, causing gastrointestinal and neurological problems. Zinc poisoning may occur in dogs that swallow pennies, producing symptoms of weakness from severe anemia.
#10 - Fertilizer. Products for your lawn and garden may be poisonous to pets that ingest them. Always read labels or ask your vet for advice on products to avoid.

What to do for suspected dog poisoning: If you think your dog has been poisoned, stay calm. It is important to act quickly and sensibly.
  1. Gather up any of the potential poison that remains; this may be helpful to your veterinarian or a technician who assist with the case. If your dog has vomited, collect the sample in case your veterinarian needs to see it.
  2. Keep your pet as calm as possible, and call your Vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) at (888) 426-4435. Experts at the APCC are available to answer questions and provide guidance 24 hours a day.
Poison Protection: Pet-Proofing Your House:  The best way to reduce the chances that your beloved dog will be the victim of pet poisoning is by preventing exposure to dangerous substances.
  • Keep all medications, even those in child-proof bottles, in cabinets that are inaccessible to your dog. If you inadvertently drop a pill on the floor, be sure to look for it immediately.
  • Always follow manufacturer guidelines on flea or tick products.
  • Although you can give some “people foods” safely to your pets as a treat, others are toxic. If you have any questions about what is safe, ask your veterinarian. Or better yet, only give treats made specifically for dogs.
  • Be sure any rodenticides you use are kept in metal cabinets or high on shelves where your pets can't find them. Remember that dogs can be fatally poisoned by eating an exposed rodent, so always be very cautious about using these products. Tell your neighbors if you put out rat bait, so they can protect their pets from exposure, and ask them to do the same for you.
  • When buying plants for your home, opt for those that won’t cause problems if your dog happens to nibble on them. The ASPCA has an online list of toxic and nontoxic plants by species. If you choose to have toxic plants, be sure they are kept in a place where your animals can't reach them.
  • Store all chemicals and cleaners in pet-inaccessible areas of your home.
Dog Friendly Gardens: Last but far from least, here is an excellent article by Catherine Sibi of Outdoor Art Pros, on "How to Create a Dog-Friendly Garden"  The perfect way for you and your four-legged friend to enjoy the outdoors together!  This informative and educational article is filled with ideas on making your garden a dog friendly haven without sacrificing its beautiful appeal.

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