March is Pet Poison Awareness Month. Most pet owners are aware there are various common household items which are dangerous to pets, but you might be surprised by some of the things dogs and cats will help themselves to! The list below is a compilation of those poisonings which we see most regularly here at Bishopton Vets, and some less common ones which you might not be aware of.
- Chocolate – everyone knows this is bad for dogs but they still often manage to sneak some! Dark chocolate is the most toxic, symptoms include vomiting, excitement, heart abnormalities and sometimes seizures.
- Rat bait – baits are palatable to dogs who will go to some lengths to get at them! Most are anticoagulants and cause bleeding. Excellent antidote available if treated early.
- Ibuprofen (Nurofen etc) – we all have this at home and accidents are common. Really dangerous to dogs, causes stomach ulceration, then liver and kidney failure.
- Raisins & grapes – small amounts can cause severe kidney failure in some dogs, not worth the risk.
- Xylitol – in sugar-free gum, sweets and peanut butter (don’t use for stuffing Kongs!) Causes rapid drop in blood sugar in dogs, followed by liver failure.
- Alliums (onions/garlic/leeks) – all cause anaemia if eaten or chewed in significant quantities
- Laundry detergent pods – these modern products are extremely dangerous to pets and small children. They contain highly concentrated detergent which will burn the mouth, intestines or wherever they contact.
- Psoriasis ointment – calcipotriol ointment is now available over the counter at chemists and unfortunately is highly toxic to dogs even in small amounts. It causes dangerously high levels of blood calcium which can lead to kidney failure.
- Permethrin flea/insect products – cats are highly sensitive to permethrins which are often in over the counter flea products sold for dogs, also ant bait. Cats can be poisoned just by close contact with a treated dog!
- Lilies – true lilies (including Day, Stargazer, Easter & Tiger) can be fatal to cats, even in small amounts. All parts of the plant are toxic, and even licking their coat after contact with lilies can be dangerous.
All this sounds a bit scary! However, most poisoning cases can be saved with prompt veterinary treatment. It really is essential to call your vet immediately if you discover your pet may have eaten something it shouldn’t. It’s also really important to give clear details of what has been ingested, including timescale, amounts and packaging information if appropriate. If you’re not sure whether there’s real cause for concern do please call, always better to be safe than sorry!