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7 Top Toxins for Pets to Avoid

By Lindsey Roth, DVM

03_22_2016_7toptoxinstoavoidMarch 20-26, 2016 is National Poison Prevention Week. Our furry family members can get into lots of things around the house, and some of them can be dangerous to their health. Signs vary widely depending on the underlying poison. Here are a list of some of the top toxins in dogs and cats:

  1. Human prescription medications (especially cardiac medications, antidepressants, and pain medications). Keep all medications stored out of reach of your dog or cat, and be careful to pick up any pills that you drop on the counter or floor.
  2. Over the counter medications. Don’t give your pet any medication or supplement unless you consult with your veterinarian. Medications that are safe for humans may not be safe for animals.
  3. Household items. Keep products such as cleaners, expandable glues, and paints safely stored away from your pets.
  4. Human foods. Grapes, raisins, onions and garlic, macadamia nuts, and chocolate are some tasty foods that can make animals very sick. Xylitol is also toxic in dogs, so avoid giving them foods containing this artificial sweetener.
  5. Veterinary medications. Chewable forms of medications may make them easier to administer, but your animal may be tempted to ingest a large quantity if accessible. Keep them well out of reach of your animal.
  6. Plants. Some pets like to munch on household plants, especially cats. With Easter approaching, beware of lilies in homes with cat. Ingestion can cause acute kidney failure in felines.
  7. Insecticides and rodenticides, and lawn products. Keep all of these products out of reach of your animals. Don’t allow your pets onto a treated lawn until the application is completely dry, or avoid applications altogether.

If you are concerned that your pet ingested a poisonous substance, you should head to your veterinarian or an emergency veterinary hospital right away. When it comes to poisoning, the sooner you seek treatment, the better the outcome. In addition, you can call a poison control hotline for pets. Store this number in a place that is easily accessed in an emergency. The number for ASPCSA Animal Poison Control Center is (888) 426-4435.  Please note: there is a fee associated with using this service.

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