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Pets and Poisons


Many things are potentially toxic to pets, including household items such as chemicals, cleaners, medications, plants, and even some foods. It is crucial to keep pets away from these, both inside and outside the home. Many occurrences of pet poisoning happen in the home. Properly storing and locking up hazardous items is the first step to preventing accidental poisonings. Do not assume that dogs and cats know when an item is bad for them, they cannot differentiate between harmful and safe substances. In fact, some of the most dangerous substances actually smell good and taste good to pets. Dogs are also experts in sniffing out such things and quickly gulping them down before you can snatch them away. So knowing what foods are toxic to dogs is helpful in preventing an accidental poisoning. If you suspect your dog has ingested something poisonous, seek veterinary attention immediately.
The festive season, in particular, can be perilous for pets. More than any other time, with all the hustle and bustle, it is important not to forget your pets, so do be even more careful than usual about where they are and what they are up to. The Dogsblog website compiled a list of the top dangers for pets at Christmas: number one is chocolate, number two is antifreeze, three is pine needles, fourth are glass decorations and five is crowded kitchens!Dogs at Christmas
Apart from the tree itself, poinsetta plants are often found in our homes at Christmas, but if chewed by animals they are an irritant to the guts causing diarrhoea and vomiting. Ribbon, gift bows, wrapping paper and trailing wires and small toys could also be chewed.

Here is a list of just a few of the common toxins to be aware of which can be dangerous to animals.

Probably one of the most common known "food toxins" for pets is chocolate, but there are many others. Foods to keep away from pets include (this list is not inclusive): raisins and grapes and products containing xylitol (an artificial sweetener). Cats are less commonly poisoned than dogs as they are more fastidious in their eating habits, but it does happen.

Nuts are another item to add to your pet's list of toxic or harmful foods. Certain types of nuts can cause toxic poisonings, an upset stomach or an obstruction in your dog's gastrointestinal tract which can lead to life-saving surgery.

Fruit Pips and Seeds - Apple seeds, cherry pips, peach pips, and plum pips contain toxic cyanide, which is poisionous to dogs. Additionally, pips and seeds can cause intestinal obstruction.

Among the most common household poisons are human medications - either discovered by the pet or purposely administered by the owner. We are familiar with the "Keep out of the reach of children" warnings, but do not underestimate your pet's ability to chew through bottle caps and child-proof containers.
Prescription or over-the-counter medications should not be given to pets (unless directly advised by your veterinarian)

Rat and mouse poisons, and baits such as slug and snail bait, should be used with extreme caution in a household with pets. These are specifically made to entice animals to eat and so can be appealing to pets.
Treatments for fleas and worms are also toxins (designed to kill the parasites). Used at the recommended dosages, they should be safe for the animals that they are intended to be used on. However, a common mistake is to apply dog treatments to cats (not a good idea!) and cats may also suffer toxic exposure by licking other pets who have had treatments applied. Using more of the product or not following the recommended dosage s is not the way to kill more fleas and ticks and it may prove harmful or even fatal for your pet.

The use of chemicals in the garden to control insects and weeds can be dangerous so be sure to allow for proper drying time in the area before releasing pets. They might roll in, eat, or otherwise have contact with treated areas and plants, and do store all containers out of their reach and dispose of empty containers safely. Many fertilizers cause gastrointestinal problems and may be combined with pesticides and/or herbicides, which can be harmful or fatal to pets. It is best reduce or eliminate the use of chemicals in the garden. Many garden centres now offer non-toxic, organic alternatives for pest and weed control.

Cleaning products for the house and laundry, pool and hot tubs, and maintenance products such as paints and lubricants all pose a risk to pets.

Antifreeze is a deadly poison. It is a bright green-yellow liquid that is sweet to the taste and can attract pets. One swallow may be lethal for small animals.

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Download a list of poisonous substances from the Dogs Trust website. The list is not a complete directory but is a useful point of reference.

Download here

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