Posted: Mar 10 2009
Common household items are frequently to blame for pet-related poisoning incidents reported to the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center.
Following are the top ten household items that pose poisoning risks to pets:
1. Human Medications – From ibuprofen to anti-depressants, common human medications are the number one cause of pet related poisonings. Be sure to store your prescriptions and over-the-counter medications safely out of Fido’s reach.
2. Insecticides – Products used to kills fleas, ticks and other insects are routinely the cause of pet poisonings. Be sure to consult with your veterinarian before beginning a flea or tick control program. Read instructions carefully and do not deviate from the written usage guide unless instructed to do so by your vet.
3. Veterinary Medications – Poisoning incidents involving animal medications including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), heartworm preventatives, dewormers, antibiotics and nutritional supplements were up in 2006. Always read and follow label instructions when giving your pet medications and supplements. Certain formulations are species specific and could pose a serious risk if given to the wrong animal or at too high a dose.
4. Plants – Each year thousands of dogs and cats become ill after ingesting common plants like lilies, azaleas, rhododendrons, sago palms and poinsettias among others. Even a small amounts of these plants can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures and kidney failure. Be sure to keep indoor plants away from pets and keep Fido out of the garden.
5. Rodenticides – Rat and mouse poisons pose life-threatening risks to dogs and cats. When using rodenticides place them in areas that are absolutely inaccessible to pets.
6. Household Cleaners – Detergents, bleach and disinfectants are routinely to blame for pet poisoning incidents. Depending on exposure, household cleaners can cause gastrointestinal upset, mouth and throat burns and respiratory irritation that can be life-threatening. Be sure to store your household cleaners and other chemicals out of your pet’s reach.
7. Chocolate – Because it contains large amounts of fat and caffeine-like substances known as methylxanthines, chocolate is a big no-no for dogs and cats. In severe cases, pets that have ingested chocolate have experienced abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. Dark chocolate and baking chocolate pose the highest risk of toxicity.
8. Chemical Hazards – Anti-freeze, paint thinners and drain cleaners as well as pool and spa chemicals pose serious poisoning risks to pets. Just like household cleaners, be sure to store these common items safely away from pets.
9. Physical Hazards – Pets often ingest common objects that pose a choking hazard or lead to intestinal blockage. Puppies are especially at risk and owners should take care to “puppy-proof” their homes just as they would if they have small children. Items that can be easily knocked over, broken, chewed up or swallowed should be kept out of the reach of curious dogs and cats.
10. Home Improvement Products – Solvents, adhesives, expanding glues, paint and items commonly used in construction may be toxic if swallowed. If you’re planning a household improvement project, be sure to secure the area so that your pets do not have access to these kinds of materials.
If you think your dog or cat may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance you should call your veterinarian immediately. You can also call the Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435. A consultation fee of $55 will be required. All proceeds go to support the center. The National Poison Control Center (800-222-1222) may also be a helpful resource although they may not have information specific to pet poisoning and toxicity.