Pet Care

7 Common Pet Poisons to Avoid

National Poison Prevention Week is an annual observance started in 1961 to highlight the dangers of poisonings and how to prevent them. Although originally created to focus on preventing poisonings of children and adults, this week is a great time to discuss potential dangers to our pets as well.

Here are some common poisons to watch out for:

  • Xylitol, a sweetener found in many sugarless gums, desserts and other baked goods, can be toxic to our canine friends. The compound can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar or, in some cases, liver failure.
  • Human pharmaceuticals are also on this “most common” list. Through accidental or purposeful ingestion, many pets are sickened by over-the-counter pain relievers (such as aspirin, Tylenol® or NSAIDs, like Aleve®). Another common poisoning occurs when our pets get into an owner’s antidepressant medications. For cats, Adderall – a combination of mixed amphetamine salts used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder – has quickly risen to become one of the most common and dangerous of these pharmaceutical threats. The flavor of Adderall has proven to appeal to the finicky feline palate. And that’s bad, because a single 20 milligram capsule could kill the average size cat.
  • Marijuana – with its legalization in some states, marijuana is becoming more popular than ever, and dogs are inadvertently eating their owners’ stashes. Calls to the Veterinary Services for Pet Poison Helpline about accidental marijuana ingestion in pets has surged 448 percent, according to a statement provided by the American Veterinarian Medical Association. Dogs get high from eating marijuana and exhibit classic paranoid behavior, and if they ingest too much, it could be life threatening.
  • Many families will choose flowers to decorate their homes. Flowers of the Lily family can be deadly to cats, and ingestion of a few petals or even the pollen can cause severe kidney failure.
  • Chocolate is another potential poison that is prevalent during Easter. Dark chocolates and baking chocolates are more dangerous than milk chocolate, but enough of any chocolate can cause abnormal heart rhythms, vomiting and hyperactivity in dogs.
  • Springtime also puts people in the mood for yard work and cleaning. Be wary of using certain fertilizers for your lawn and garden if they contain organophosphates and/or carbamates.These poisons can cause severe seizures, respiratory failure and death in pets.
  • Many pets will find pest control products, like snail bait or rodenticides. Without intervention and treatment, rat poison toxicity will eventually kill a pet.

Many times, severe damage can be avoided with prompt medical attention. If you see your pet ingest any of these poisons, head on in. We’re here 24/7 and are ready to help you through any emergency situation.