Our homes are filled with food, plants and chemicals some of which can be toxic to your pet if eaten. We are all aware that some of these items need to be stored out of the reach of children and animals but what about the substances we don’t consider to be harmful but can cause serious problems to your pet’s health. Dogs are usually the culprits when it comes to eating something, they shouldn’t but cats can also be affected. Symptoms can vary from a mild gastrointestinal problem to severe gastric ulcers, neurological symptoms, kidney or liver failure, respiratory or/cardiac distress and sadly sometimes death. Here are of some of the everyday things you should keep away from your pet.
Remember to inform your whole family including your domestic worker and gardener of the potential hazards too as they may not be aware of the dangers certain products can pose.
Most of us have some medicines lying around. But even flu remedies containing, paracetamol, aspirin and caffeine can be a danger. Make sure you store them out of reach of your inquisitive pet!
Anti-inflammatories and pain medication – i.e.; ibuprofen, Advil,
Prescription medications – heart pills, anti-depressants, sleeping tablets
Blood pressure medications
Recreational drugs- yes, we have even seen dogs under the influence of cocaine!
Certain food items are highly palatable but also highly toxic to your pet and can cause serious conditions such as kidney or liver failure. Make sure that these items are stored safely out of the way. Top of the list are:
Xylitol – Please be especially vigilant of xylitol. You may not have this sugar substitute in your cupboard, but it is being included in many prepared foodstuffs including certain peanut butters, biscuits and sugar free chewing gums. If you are purchasing anything that is ‘sugar free’ please check what substitute sweetener is used in the product and store it in a safe place.
Grapes and raisins
Dustbins and recycling bags: please keep your pet away from dustbins and recycling bags!
Spring is here and many of us are out in the garden spraying plants against unwanted pests. For some reason the poisons we use against rats and mice, slugs and snails are highly palatable to our pet and it is probably one of the most common poisons we see ingested. Please be mindful when you use these poisons and try if possible, to choose pet friendly products.
Slug Bait – this is another common poison that we see dogs eat.
*Flea and tick treatment – even products meant for your pet can be toxic if not used according to instructions.
Many veterinary products are made to be palatable to your pet in order to make dosing easier for the owner. However, this can backfire, and you may find your pet decides to indulge, eating a month’s supply of deworming, antibiotics or anti-inflammatory tablets! Please store these medications safely.
Cats seem to be drawn to flower arrangements plants and love a nibble on a leaf or petal! But some of our favourites can be toxic if eaten so be aware of this for your next purchase.
Cut flowers – particularly lilies (e.g.; St Josephs, Arum) Chrysanthemum, tulips can be highly toxic to your cat.
Indoor plants – Poinsettia, asparagus ferns, marijuana
Click here for a list of potentially toxic plants.
What to do if your pet has been poisoned?
Don’t panic! Follow the steps below:
• Even if you only suspect that your dog or cat has eaten a poisonous substance get them to the vet as soon as possible.
• If possible, take with the remains of what your pet has been eating. This can be invaluable and a great time saver, if the substance can be identified the correct treatment can be given immediately.
• Depending on the type of a poison your pet has eaten, the vet may make your pet vomit in order to remove as much toxin from the stomach as possible.
• Treatments will vary greatly depending on the toxin.
• In some cases, it may take days before symptoms occur. Your vet may want to keep your pet hospitalised for observation whilst giving intravenous fluid support particularly if a nephrotoxic or hepatoxic poison has been ingested.
• If you find your pet eating a toxic substance i.e.; Ratex you can try to make them vomit at home. Old fashioned washing soda crystals or a bolus of washing powder dosed usually will do the trick. Even if you manage to make your pet vomit, a trip to the vet will still be necessary for supportive treatment.
However, PLEASE don’t waste time if you are struggling to do this rather head to the vet.
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE.
We cannot stop using products that may cause harm to our pets, but we can be responsible by storing them safely and restricting our pets’ access to them. Don’t feed your pet anything that is made for human consumption before checking that it does not contain any harmful ingredients.
Make sure the whole family, visitors and employees know what is okay to feed your pet and what can pose a potential threat.