Hi again, this is Westley Rose, your favorite neighborhood journalist! I’m back with some important info to share about poisonings in dogs and cats. It’s such an important topic that there’s a whole week in March dedicated to educate pet owners about what kind of things to watch out for!
Well, let’s start with a list;
- let’s talk first about plants (like lilies, remember Easter’s coming! Also poinsettias, philodendrons, and amarylis).
- Being fastidious creatures, cats are also susceptible to toxicity from household cleaners (remember that cats like to lick their feet clean, so we have to watch for cleaners left wet on the floor or in places where kitties are likely to jump up).
- Surprisingly, another big problem for cats is the flea/tick products available for purchase (well, let’s face it. They’re available almost anywhere). Some products that are “labeled for cats” (as in, the manufacturer is saying the product is safe for cats) can actually cause severe neurologic troubles even when applied according to package directions. Pyrethrin products are often to blame, and of course it’s a definite “no-no” to apply a product labeled “for dogs only” on a cat. Some of those can be lethal, even if the whole vial is not used.
- Prescription medications (often just a tablet or two accidentally dropped on the floor) can be a real problem for cats because the dosage is so high (remember how much people weigh compared to a cat). Common types of medications include blood pressure pills, anti-depressants, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (Tylenol is VERY toxic to cats), and over-the-counter cold/flu medications.
- According to the ASPCA Poison control helpline, some pretty normal “people foods” top dog the toxin list. These include chocolate (especially dark chocolate and baker’s chocolate, which contains higher concentrations of the toxic substance), grapes (which can cause kidney damage, even if a small number of grapes are eaten), onions, garlic and artificial sweeteners (xylitol, a common artificial sweetener found in chewing gum and OTC medications, can cause low blood sugar, seizures and even liver failure. )
- Similar to cats, dogs also can become ill if ingesting their human’s prescription or OTC medications (like Tylenol). It’s a dosage thing. Sometimes well-meaning pet owners give their pets pain medications like Tylenol when they think they’re not feeling well, and this can cause some real troubles.
- Another potential problem is those poisons our people put around the house to get rid of “pests” like mice, ants and grubs. Those yard chemicals can be harmful to us, too.
- Accidental spills, like antifreeze dripping from a car, taste really sweet but are highly toxic even in tiny (drop sized) doses.
If you think your dog/cat ate something they shouldn’t, call your vet sooner rather than later. Preventive measures can be taken early to limit exposure, but once your pet is showing signs of sickness it’s much more difficult (and costly) to treat. Don’t be surprised if your vet’s office has you call the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline. They have the most up-to-date information on toxin dosages, treatment measures and provide invaluable insight in guiding how your veterinarian approaches your pet’s care.