At Napa Valley Holistic Vet we want to help keep your pets safe and healthy! Preventative medicine is a cornerstone of holistic pet care. We want to help you prevent your best friend from getting sick if at all possible! In honor of Pet Poison Prevention Week we have put together a guide to help keep your pet safe from common poisons around your house.
First we must say that the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center does an amazing job. If you suspect that your pet has eaten something toxic you can call 1-888-426-4435. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. They have veterinarians on staff who can help you decide what you need to do and if you need to take your pet to the veterinarian. They do charge a $65 consultation fee but it is well worth it and often cheaper than a veterinary visit if it can be avoided!
The Animal Poison Control Center also offers a free mobile app with a wealth of information about different potential pet toxins. You can access more information on it here .
Another great tool they have is a list of toxic and non-toxic plants for pets! If you think your furry friend has eaten a plant, just look it up online to see if it could be poisonous. This is free and easy accessible here.
The Poison Control Center received 199,000 calls in 2017 alone regarding potential pet poisonings. This number was up from last year which goes to show that we need to be better educated about keeping our pets safe from these potentially deadly toxins.
If you suspect your pet has ingested a poison you can call the APCC at 1-888-426-4435 to see how serious it is. However if you know they got something poisonous then you should take them directly to your veterinarian. The sooner the better because if the ingestion was within 3 hours vomiting can often be induced which will save you lots of money and potentially save your pet’s life. Your pet may also be given activated charcoal to bind any toxin that remains in the stomach after vomiting so they won’t absorb it.
The top 10 poisonings of 2017 were…..
10. Garden Products - Pets often find fertilizers and compost irresistible. Fertilizers often cause GI upset and if the compost or fertilizer is moist and growing mold your dog may develop serious tremors from ingesting them. So it’s best to keep these products where dogs can’t find them and keep your dog inside or confined in a separate area of the yard when you are working in the garden.
9. Plants - Many plants can be very toxic to our furry friends. Lilies are deadly to cats and Dr. Kim recommends never keeping them in your house if you have a cat. The same goes for Sago Palms and Oleanders if you have a dog or cat. If you aren’t sure a plant is safe for your pet you should use the Animal Poison Control Center’s online site to look it up - remember it’s free and can be accessed here.
8. Rodenticides - These rodent poisons are potentially deadly to dogs and cats. They should be kept out of reach of pets at all times. If you suspect your pet has ingested this they should be taken to the veterinarian right away.
7. Insecticides - Insecticides and herbicides are also potentially toxic. So it’s best to keep these products where dogs can’t find them and keep your dog inside or confined in a separate area of the yard when you are working in the garden.
6. Household Items - The APCC lists paint, glue, cleaning products and laundry detergent as potential dangers. Gorilla glue is very toxic to pets because, if ingested, it expands exponentially in the stomach and hardens. Vomiting cannot be induced and surgery is required to remove the large “ball” that forms. Very scary! Also laundry pods are posing a new, potentially fatal danger to pets. You can read more about this here.
5. Chocolate - This is a very common toxicity with our furry friends, especially dogs. Dark chocolate and baking chocolate are more toxic than milk chocolate. In sufficient amounts they can cause GI upset, seizures, cardiac arrhythmias and even death. If your dog has ingested chocolate you can use the chocolate toxicity calculator here to see how dangerous the type/amount was.
4. Veterinary Products - This includes the flavored and chewable medications that we give to our pets for pain relief as well as parasite prevention. Dogs have been known to eat entire boxes/bottles and can get VERY sick. Make sure to keep these medications out of reach of your furry friends.
3. Food - Common toxic food items include chocolate (see above), grapes/raisins/currants, garlic, onions, macadamia nuts, alcohol, unbaked bread dough, alcohol and products containing xylitol. Any amount of grapes or raisins could be deadly to your dog causing kidney failure if he/she is sensitive. A small amount of garlic or onion isn’t a big deal in a large pet but if they are cooked down in a dish or concentrated powders are used then we get concerned about blood disorders. Also if your pet is very small then a small amount could be a big deal. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is very common in gum, toothpaste, candies and sugar free baked goods. If ingested it can cause low blood sugar and irreversible liver failure so make sure to keep all of these products FAR away from your dogs (check your labels)!
2. Over-The-Counter Medications - Including but not limited to pain medications (ibuprofen, acetaminophen and naproxen), vitamins, certain herbal supplements, cold and flu medications. Please keep all of these out of your pet’s reach. Most exposures are accidental but some well-meaning owners think many of these are safe to give their pet. You should always check with your veterinarian prior to giving any OTC medication in your pet. They can tell you which are safe and if your pet is ok to take them and at what dose.
1. Human Prescriptions - Pain medications, anti-depressants and heart medications are the most common poisonings. Again most are accidental but some well-meaning owners think these are safe to give their pets. Please keep all of your prescriptions well out of your pet’s reach and ALWAYS ask your veterinarian before giving any medication to your pet.
Please remember to keep your pets safe this week and every week this year! And please share this with your friends if you haven't already! If you have any questions we can always be reached at 707-535-9979 or email Dr. Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org.