Has your pet ever eaten something poisonous? If they have, it can be quite frightening because you know many items can be potentially lethal. When a beloved pet is poisoned, rapid action and correct advice are critical to the pet’s well-being.
The first thing to do is identify what your pet either ate or was exposed to. Even if your pet appears to be fine, immediately call either your veterinarian, your area Pet Poison Helpline or the SPCA Poison Control Center for your area. They can determine if the item is toxic.
Do not give anything to your pet unless instructed to by a veterinarian. If it is decided that medical care is necessary take the animal, without delay, to your veterinarian or the closest veterinary emergency facility.
According to the Animal Poison Control Center, in 2016 nearly 17% of all cases had to do with an animal ingesting human medication.
It is extremely important to keep all prescription and over-the-counter medications, even those in childproof bottles, out of harm’s way. Closed cabinets, not easily accessed by prying paws, are the best for storage.
Drugs containing acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol), NSAIDs (e.g. Advil, Aleve and Motrin) and antidepressants such as Prozac and Paxil are examples of medications that can be lethal, even in small quantities.
Pets can also incur vitamin toxicity, especially with iron, Vitamin D and alpha-lipoic acid.
Additionally, there have been several cases involving xylitol poisoning from sugar-free multi-vitamins. Supervise anyone who may require assistance taking medications, in order to prevent pills from being dropped and easily accessed by pets.
As a last note, do not think it is cute to get your pet stoned. Narcotics, including marijuana, can create a life-threatening risk to your pet.
Veterinary products accounted for 9.3% of 2016’s cases.
Over-the-counter supplements for joints and prescription pain medications were the largest portion of these cases, simply because they are manufactured to be “tasty treats” to make it easier to give them to Fido. Unfortunately, this means that pets do find them enticing to eat. As an example, recently one of our gluttonous pooches ate an extra dose of heart worm medication when another dog spit it out. Thankfully, it didn’t mean a mad rush to the vet.
Household products like paint, glue, and cleaning supplies contribute to tens of thousands of poison cases each year.
The key to safety lies in following the directions for proper use and storage.
If the label warns, “keep pets and children away from area until dry,” follow the guidelines.
Products containing bleach can cause stomach upset, vomiting, diarrhea or severe burns if swallowed, and respiratory tract irritation if inhaled. In addition, skin contact with concentrated solutions can produce serious chemical burns.
Mothballs, potpourri oils, fabric softener sheets, dish washing detergent, batteries, cigarettes, and hand and foot warmers are also potentially deadly to pets.