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CRITTER CHATTER: Danger! These Common Household Items are Poisonous to Your Pet

The Paw Print

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You can look, but you better not touch. The Coasters Poison Ivy

Danger! These Common Household Items are Poisonous to Your Pet

I worry about the availability of common household items that can be harmful for pets and wish that safety could be guaranteed with a picture of a “skull and cross bones” and the word POISON on every poisonous plant, food or anything else that could cause harm when chomped, munched or otherwise investigated by an unsuspecting animal. On the other hand, as a veterinarian I accept that pets cannot read and often explore with their palates.

The accidental ingestion of certain substances considered reasonably safe for humans can cause gastrointestinal and neurological issues, cardiac and respiratory distress, or even coma and death in pets. Most owners already know that substances like chocolate, bleach, anti-freeze, pesticides and insecticides/rodenticides can be dangerous, but what other common household items must we keep animals from?

Over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve), as well as some human supplements, can cause digestive and neurological problems or even death.

Prescription medications for people including anti-inflammatory and pain medication, antidepressants and blood pressure medications even in low levels can cause ulcers, kidney failure and seizures. Flea and tick remedies, de-worming products and veterinary prescriptions should also be kept out of reach.

Fabric dryer sheets that pets often like to chew contain poisonous chemicals that may lead to lung damage, central nervous system depression or acute kidney disease.

Batteries, if swallowed, can cause bowel stoppage, and if chewed, leaking acid will burn the oral cavity. Remote controls (found in all homes, although usually hidden in couches) contain batteries, and munching one can be hazardous.

Tobacco products, including cigarettes, chew and E-cigarette liquid should be kept out of pets reach. Plus, excessive medical marijuana and cannabis consumption can be dangerous.

Toothpaste, candy, chewable vitamins, mouthwash, sugar free gums and breath mints contain xylitol, a sugar substitute that can cause low blood sugar, liver failure, seizures and death.

People foods can be dangerous for pets. Coffee, grapes, raisins, avocados and macadamia nuts can be toxic to dogs, even in small amounts. Alcohol should never be given to any animal. Garlic and onions are only toxic if large amounts are ingested, especially over long intervals.

Plants, including, irises, mums, peonies, black walnut, foxglove, azaleas, oleanders, rhododendrons, tulips, daffodils and sago palms are poisonous to pets.

These common household items are likely already in your home and you need to be pro-active to ensure they are well out of reach of your dog or cat. If you know or suspect that your pet may have ingested something poisonous, contact your veterinarian immediately or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888-426-4435.) Make sure your pets can look, but not touch…or chew or munch.

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a vet and his dogABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Brown holds a Doctorate Degree in Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from the University of California at Davis, a Master of Science Degree in Animal Science and Bachelor of Science Degree in Animal Physiology from the University of California.  Following discharge from the Air Force as a Captain, he owned and operated the largest veterinary hospital on Cape Cod for almost twenty years. Brown is the past President of the Yavapai Humane Society Board of Directors, Branding Committee Chairman for National Animal Supplement Council and member of the American Veterinary Medical Association.  He writes and lectures frequently on the benefits of natural and organic foods and supplements for animals and lives with his wife and a Golden Doodle named Charlotte.

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