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Common Dog Poisonings:

A common reason for seeing dogs at the vet hospital on an emergency basis is due to toxic exposures.  More often than not, our dog patients get into toxic products accidentally on their own.  On a rare occasion, well-intentioned owners give their dogs medications / products that they are unaware are truly not safe to their pet.  Below is a list compiled from data acquired from the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center of some of the more common canine poisonings:

1.  Ibprofen (aka Advil, Motrin) is a NSAID pain reliever.  Although we take this medication all the time as a pain reliever / fever reducer, it can be extremely toxic to our dogs.  An overdose can cause GI ulcers, kidney failure as well as damage to the central nervous system.  If your pet has chronic pain, discuss this with your veterinarian rather than self-prescribing human pain meds for your pets. 

2.  Chocolate, although delicious, contains several stimulant compounds - caffeine and theobromine.  Different kinds of chocolates contain different amounts of these toxic agents.  For example, baker's chocolate has the highest amount these toxic agents, whereas milk chocolate contains much less.  The clinical signs of chocolate toxicity vary according to the type of chocolate ingested, the amount consumed, the size of the dog and the degree of sensitivity the individual pet has to the toxic compounds ingested.  Signs include hyperactivity, agitation, restlessness, increased heart rate, arrhythmias, high blood pressure, sometimes low blood pressure, as well as GI upset, and sometimes even CNS signs such as tremors or seizures. 

3.  Ant and Roach Baits  are oftentimes placed in a home without giving any thought as to whether or not a dog might get into them.  Many times, the very substances that these traps contain to trap the insects (such as peanut butter) work equally well at convincing our dogs to eat them as a yummy snack.  Typically the contents of the traps are not toxic enough to cause serious illness in our pets.  However, the consumption of the plastic / metal trap itself can sometimes serve as an unfortunate foreign body leading to necessary surgical removal.

4.  Rodenticides (rat poison) are likely the most deadly of household poisons.  Unfortunately, they can kill our beloved pets as indiscriminantly as they can the unwanted rat, mouse, gopher or mole the substance is intended for.  There are several varieties of rodenticides ... the most common being the anti-coagulant varieties.  Examples of such include D-con, other warfarin products, fumarin, diphacinone and bromadialone.  These toxins interfere with the dog's ability to utilize Vitamin K.  Without it, a dog loses its ability to clot which can ultimately lead to life-threatening, uncontrolable bleeding and many times, death.  If you suspect that your dog may have ingested a rodenticide, contact your veterinarian immediately.  

5.  Acetaminophen (aka Tylenol) is another commonly used human pain relief / fever reducer.  Similarly to Ibprofen, Tylenol should not be used as a pain medication for dogs. 

6.  Cold Medications (pseudo-ephedrine)

7.  Human thyroid hormones

8.  Cleaning Products such as toilet bowl cleaners, bleach, detergents, caustics, pine oils and so forth can be extremely dangerous if consumed by our pets.  Be sure to always keep these products away from where our curious pets could get into things. 

9.  Fertilizers are oftentimes put down in the spring and fall - and if our pets consume them in the yard, or get the products on their feet and then consume a significant amount while licking off their feet, serious illness can occur.  Oftentimes, clinical signs are related to gastrointestinal irritation - vomiting, hypersalivation, diarrhea and lethargy.  The best way to avoid problems with fertilizers ... simply keep your pets away during times of lawn treatment.  Wait a while before letting them go back out into the treated areas.  

10.  Household chemicals - paints, varnishes, engine cleaners, furniture polish, lighter fluids, other fuels.  You would think that these substances would smell and taste bad enough that dogs would avoid them.  However, if they walk through an area where there might be a spill, and then subsequently get it on their feet and lick it off, the affects can be extremely serious.  Anytime you are working with these substances, be very careful to clean up all messes before you pet has the opportunity to roam into the work area.  With there being so many different kinds of poisons, the possible clinical signs after an accidental exposure are diverse.  Seek medical attention immediately if your dog gets into any of these products. 

Cats tend to sometimes be a little "smarter" when it comes to possible toxic exposures / ingestions.  Nevertheless, they too can get into things they shouldn't from time to time.  If you think that your dog or cat has had any dangerous toxic exposure, please call your veterinarian at Damonte Ranch Animal Hospital immediately.  In addition, it is always an excellent idea to call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.  They are an excellent resource for any animal-posion related emergency.  Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  Their phone number is (888) 426-4435.  A small $65 consultation fee is applied via credit card due to the non-profit nature of their organization. 

The ASPCA Poison Control Hotline's phone number is (888) 426-4435

“A meow massages the heart.” - Stuart McMillan

“A cat is a lion in a jungle of small bushes.” ~Indian Proverb