Household Poisons and Your Pet


There are a number of substances we keep in our homes that can be dangerous for our pets.

Antifreeze: For both dogs and cats, antifreeze is toxic, even in small amounts.  Make sure it's kept far out of reach of pets and take immediate care if your pet ingests any.

Medicines, cleaning supplies, sunscreen, and gardening products are often easy for animals to access and injest.

Chocolate: A dog should never be fed chocolate because theobromine and caffeine, both of which occur naturally in cocoa, will elevate heart rate and irritate the gastrointestinal tract (which can cause internal bleeding).  The amount of chocolate that can prove fatal depends on the size of the dog and the type of chocolate it has eaten.  Baking chocolate, for instance, is more harmful than milk chocolate. For more information visit this article.

Walnuts: Walnuts contain a fungus that can cause your dog to experience seizures.  The high phosphorus content of walnuts and many other nuts can lead to bladder stones.

Baby Food and Cats: Sometimes when a cat is sick, people feed it baby food.  Many baby foods are flavored with onions which can cause anemia in cats.  Read the label carefully before feeding any to your cat.

Houseplants: There are a number of houseplants that can be extremely harmful to cats such as a caladiums, carnations, cyclamens, dumbcane, indoor bulbs, holly, hydrangea, mistletoe, ivy, philodendrons, and rubber plants.  Rabbits are also predisposed to nibble at greenery.  If you allow your rabbit to roam freely in your home, be sure that all houseplants are off the ground and out of reach.

Rodenticides: For obvious reasons rat and mouse baits can be very dangerous for Dogs & Cats to injest.

If you suspect your pet has ingested a poison, watch for signs of intoxication.  Dogs and cats exhibit symptoms such as drooling, glazed eyes, lethargy, vomiting, or seizures.  Birds have respiratory difficulties or fall off their perches.  If your veterinarian is unavailable, call or take your pet to the local 24-hour emergency veterinary hospital.  We recommend:

Animal Urgent Care Center, 28085 Hillcrest Drive, Mission Viejo, CA 92692,
Telephone: 949-364-6228.

Or you can call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435, 24 hours a day.

They charge a fee of $45.  When you call, be sure you have the following information: your name, address, and phone number, your credit card number, the species, breed, age, sex, and weight of the animal involved, the type of poison that your animal has been exposed to, the amount of poison involved, and the duration and nature of any symptoms.

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