Despite your best efforts, accidents happen even to the best dog owners. Your pet may gain access to a potentially harmful or fatal substance. Many toxins are common items in your home and yard. Some poisons are obvious and easy to avoid, while others are not so easily identifiable, so it’s important that you educate yourself and keep these poisons out of reach of your pet.
Here are some helpful tips about how to poison-proof your home and what to do if your pet ingests a harmful substance.
To help raise awareness, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) released its list of the top 10 animal toxins after reviewing roughly 232,000 cases of potential animal poisoning.
> Over-the-counter medications ranked No.1 in pet toxins, accounting for nearly 20% of calls to the APCC. Common medications in this category are drugs used to combat headaches, fevers and colds, which include ibuprofen, naproxen, cold medications, certain herbal supplements and certain essential oils.
> Human prescription medications accounted for 17.5% of all APCC cases. The most common were ADHD medications, antidepressants and heart medications.
> Food items such as grapes, raisins, onions, garlic and items containing xylitol (an artificial sweetener commonly found in a variety of foods, candies, drugs and even toothpaste) can be extremely dangerous for dogs. Possible consequences include low blood glucose, liver failure, seizures, brain damage and death.
> Chocolate accounted for 10.1% of APCC cases. The darker the chocolate, the more potent the potential effects are. (White chocolate is not toxic.)
> Veterinary medications accounted for 9.3% of cases. Many pet medications are flavoured to increase palatability, making them taste good. Some pets may mistake these pet medications for dog treats. Remember that a childproof container does not mean pet-proof. Keep all medications out of reach of children and pets.
> Household items accounted for 7.3% of cases, including ingestion of antifreeze, paint and cleaning products.
> Rodenticide (rat poison) exposure accounted for 6.3% of APCC cases. There are two major categories: anti-coagulants and those causing brain effects.
> Insecticide exposure accounted for 6.2% of cases.
> Plants accounted for 5.5% of cases, including indoor and outdoor plants.
> Garden products round out the list, accounting for 2.3% of APCC cases. Many pets find fertiliser irresistible.
> Make sure your houseplants are nontoxic. Check out lists of poisonous plants on the ASPCA guide of toxic plants before bringing them home.
> Store medications in a secure area out of reach of pets.
> Secure garbage cans behind closed doors.
> Keep ashtrays, cigarettes and smoking cessation products out of reach.
> Put your purse in an area where pets cannot access it.
> Keep pets out of the room when using toilet cleaners or other cleaning products.
> If you use an automatic toilet bowl cleaner, always close the toilet lid.
> Keep rodenticides out of reach.
> Keep glue out of reach. Some glues, such as Gorilla Glue, expand greatly once ingested and require surgical removal. Just one ounce of glue may expand to the size of a basketball.
> Read all labels and instructions before using or applying.