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Common Household Toxins

COMMON HOUSEHOLD TOXINS

DEFINITION

Accidental poisoning refers to a situation where a pet is exposed to household or environmental toxins that make them sick and can even, in severe cases, cause death.

CAUSES

Aspirin and Pain Relievers
Aspirin and other pain relievers common in most homes can be poisonous to pets. When aspirin is prescribed for animals, the dosage must be strictly followed. Too much aspirin can lead to anemia and bleeding stomach ulcers. Ibuprofen and naproxen can cause painful gastrointestinal problems. Even one 200 mg ibuprofen tablet is toxic to a small dog. Never give acetaminophen (Tylenol and the like) to a dog or cat. The drug produces abdominal pain in dogs and affects the blood oxygen levels in cats, producing severe depression. Just two extra-strength tables within 24 hours can kill a small pet.
Symptoms of acetaminophen poisoning in cats appear in as little as one to two hours and include excessive salivation, paw and facial swelling, depression, and ash-gray gums. In dogs, watch for anorexia, vomiting, depression, and abdominal pain. High doses are typically fatal.
Lawn and Garden Pesticides
Many lawn and garden pesticides are neurologically poisonous to pets. These include insecticidal aerosols, dips, and certain shampoo products. Additionally, using a flea control product that is intended for dogs on a cat can also result in poisoning.
Symptoms of toxicity include apprehension; excessive salivation, urination, and defecation; tremors; seizures; hyper-excitability; depression; and pinpoint pupils. If sufficient neurological toxin has been ingested, sudden death may be the only sign.
Rat and Mouse Poisons
Coumarins (D-Con) are rat and mouse poisons that affect the blood’s ability to clot. Mice that ingest this poison essentially bleed to death. Your pets can be affected the same way, even if they eat a mouse that has been poisoned.
Symptoms of poisoning include labored breathing; anorexia; nosebleeds; bloody urine or feces; and pinpoint hemorrhages of the gums. If you observe any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Other Toxins
The list below is a guide to common house and garden plans and foods that are toxic to most animals and children. If your home contains any of these items, you need to keep them away from animals.

For a more complete list of toxins, go to Pet Poison Helpline

DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT

Stay as calm as possible when you discover your pet may have been poisoned in order to think clearly and be able to help your pet as quickly as possible. Immediately call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at +1 (888) 426-4435 ($65 consultation fee). If your pet is having seizures, losing consciousness, unconscious or having trouble breathing, phone the veterinarian and get to Care Animal Hospital of Redding or an emergency clinic immediately.

When you call for help or visit the veterinarian’s office have the following information in hand:
• Your pet’s species, breed, sex, weight, and age
• Your pet’s symptoms
• The name of the poisoning agent (if known), the amount consumed and the time lapsed since eposure
• The actual packaging for the poisoning agent

PREVENTION

1. Properly dispose of and store all pesticide containers up and out of sight of your pets. Make sure lids are on tightly and that containers are undamaged.
2. Use cords or locking lids on garbage cans. Use a heavy frame to prevent knock-over.
3. Keep pets off lawns sprayed with chemicals. Ask your lawn care company for information on drying time and compounds used. Wash your pets’ feet with mild soap and water if exposed to chemical lawn treatments.
4. Keep your pets out of vegetable and flower gardens
5. Encase compost piles or use commercially made containers.
6. Never assume that a human drug is appropriate to give an animal, unless a veterinarian instructs you to use it.
7. Keep all plants listed above out of reach of your pets.

Information credit: Healthy Pet

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