If you have pets, you know how curious they can be. We love their adventurous natures, whether it’s rambling in the woods with our dog or watching our cats perch and then pounce on an imaginary foe. But their natural curiosity can also get them into trouble, if they ingest something that can make them sick, or worse, cause a pet emergency.

Hopefully your pets have never gotten into anything they shouldn’t, but there are many substances in our homes and yards that are quite toxic to them. With that in mind, Old Derby Animal Hospital is here to share some tips and information about pet poisoning prevention, and how to keep your home and yard safe from inquisitive noses and mouths.

Pet Toxicity Basics

First things first. Many pet poisons act fast, so you should, too. If you feel your pet has ingested something toxic, get them to a veterinarian right away, even if it’s after hours. Don’t waste time on the internet or leave a voicemail for your veterinarian.

Pet poisoning signs can also be subtle at first, and may not even show up until several hours or days after your pet has eaten something toxic. Signs of poisoning in pets are:

  • Drooling
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Excessive thirst and/or urination
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Pale or greyish gum color
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Weakness
  • Collapse
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Muscle tremors
  • Seizures

If these symptoms sound scary, it’s because they are. Pets can die from pet poisoning, so again, get them to the veterinarian – fast!

Pet Poisoning Prevention at Home

It’s astonishing how many substances there likely are in your home that can be toxic to pets.

Here are some guidelines.

People food – many foods that we enjoy are toxic to our pets. Chocolate, xylitol (found in sugar free gum and candy), macadamia nuts, grapes and raisins, alcohol, bread dough, and garlic can all make pets sick. Food related items such as unattended leftovers, aluminum foil, food wrappers, compost, and trash bins should also be kept out of pets’ reach.

Human and pet medications medications are one of the top items that pets ingest that can cause toxicity. Human medications such as Tylenol and Ibuprofen are extremely toxic to dogs and cats. Prescription medications can also pose significant problems. Pet medications often smell like treats to pets, and overdoses are not uncommon. Store all medications out of reach, and be sure you always read labels before giving medication so as not to mix them up mistakenly.

Houseplants and flowers making our homes beautiful with plants and flowers is a wonderful thing, but be aware that some common plants are toxic to pets. Some (not all) lilies are toxic to cats, and even a few leaves ingested can cause kidney failure. Cyclamen, holly, and poinsettias are also common plants that are toxic to pets.

Cleaning products it goes without saying that many cleaning products used around the home can cause pet poisoning. Keep all cleaning solutions, sprays, and powders away from your pets. While cleaning, ventilate your home well, and keep little “helpers” safe by not allowing them access to your cleaning projects.

Essential oils and potpourri essential oils are becoming more and more popular in many homes both for relaxation and for therapeutic use. Many of them can be toxic to pets, especially cats – who lack a specific liver enzyme to help them metabolize certain substances. Keep all liquid potpourri and oils away from pets, to prevent spills, ingestion, and grooming oils off of coats and paws. If you use a diffuser, make sure the oils you diffuse are safe for pets by consulting a veterinarian, and give your pet a way to escape smells in their environment.

Prevent Pet Poisoning in Your Yard and Garden

Certain common products we use in our yards are toxic to pets. Keep the following stored safely away from pets, and consult labels before using them around your yard and garden.

  • Cocoa mulch
  • Compost
  • Fertilizer
  • Blood and bone meal
  • Snail and slug bait
  • Rat poison
  • Antifreeze
  • Mushrooms

If you think your pet has eaten any of the above items, seek treatment immediately. Poisons act fast and can have life threatening consequences, so early diagnosis and treatment are essential for the best outcome.

If you have any questions about pet poisoning in your home, yard, or garden, please give us a call. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have and look forward to helping you keep your pets safe.