Pet Poison Prevention

Dogs get into everything! They chew on plants that can be poisonous. They don’t realize that certain chemicals may be dangerous. And they happily devour common but potentially lethal human foods without a second thought. All poisonings should be treated as emergencies—immediately call your vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. Be ready to provide the following information:

  • name of the poison
  • quantity that was absorbed, ingested, or inhaled
  • how much your dog weighs
  • signs of poisoning your pet is displaying

Here are some common household poisons that affect dogs, as well as telltale signs of toxicity: Acetaminophen Certain human pain relievers containing acetaminophen can damage a dog’s liver and red blood cells. Signs of toxicity include abdominal pain and vomiting. Antifreeze Dogs love the sweet smell and taste of antifreeze, so it’s especially important to keep this chemical out of reach. A dog who has ingested antifreeze may behave as though he is intoxicated; other signs include vomiting, excitability, and increased thirst. Chocolate Chocolate is full of fat, caffeine, and theobromine, which can stimulate the nervous system to a dangerous degree. The general rule is that the darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains. Signs of toxicity include restlessness, muscle twitching, increased urination, and excessive panting. Cleaning Products Cleaning products—especially toilet bowl cleaners, caustics like drain cleaners, pine oils, and bleach—are dangerous to your pet. Many of these products destroy tissue on contact, and pine oils can cause severe systemic disease. Plants Many plants contain toxins, and even those that don’t are largely unsuitable for dogs. Some of the most dangerous plants include:

  • Azalea: These landscape beauties contain toxins that can produce vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, weakness, and central nervous system depression.
  • Castor bean: This plant’s seeds contain the highest concentration of toxins, although all parts of the plant are dangerous. Ingestion can produce significant abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and weakness.
  • Lily: Consuming even small amounts of this plant can result in severe kidney damage.
  • Oleander: This southern outdoor ornamental can cause severe irritation of the gastrointestinal tract, hypothermia, and severe cardiac problems.
  • Sago palm: Another popular ornamental, the sago palm can produce vomiting, diarrhea, depression, seizures, and liver failure. Both the leaves and base of the plant appear to be toxic.


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