Even in the cleanest and seemingly safest house or apartment can lurk a health threat for your dog. There are many common household items that we all keep around, that can be a threat to your dog, either making it sick or causing death,
Did you know that an environmental toxin could be any substance that is outside of an animal’s body and if ingested or otherwise exposed to – can cause harmful biological change.
We live in a world that we are trying to turn “green,” and yet many of our homes are filled with things that can cause harm to our dogs.
Did you know that second hand cigarette smoke could cause cancer in dogs? Rotting food found in a garbage can has the potential of either causing an illness or a fatality.
The substances found in a home that can become a lethal threat are varied from insecticides and tainted water that pollutes the environment to a multitude of other things that seem small and insignificant.
This article I hope in some small way will open the readers eyes and possibly prevent a dog or some other pet from having to suffer an illness or die.
Dogs as you know, are one of the most curious of household pets, a monkey may have more curiosity, but when it comes to putting things into their mouths, I believe dogs have all other critters beat.
Since a dog does not have hands to figure things out with, its first choice is its mouth and whether it tastes good or not, into its mouth it goes. I have never read anywhere that dogs are gourmet eaters. It seems their philosophy is, if it fits it can be chewed and/or swallowed. The problem with this philosophy is that toxins in the objects can cause illness and/or the objects may cause serious obstructions within the dog’s body.
So what is a dog owner to do? First of all there are some simple rules to follow that will prevent some accidents from happening. Especially if you have a puppy or a dog that loves to chew, keep small things out of your dog’s reach. Things like small rubber balls, jewelry, medicine bottles of all kinds (glass or plastic), ant or mouse poison containers, household cleaners, live wires laying on the floor that can be chewed, containers holding insecticides, fertilizers, automobile liquids like antifreeze, power steering fluid and the like. Anything you do not think you would like to swallow, consider it a “no-no” for your dog.
There are many foods that can cause a toxic reaction in a dog:
– Alcohol -besides causing intoxication can cause a coma or even be fatal.
– Avocados – a fatty acid found in avocado leaves, fruit, seeds, and bark called ‘persin” can cause difficulty in breathing, abnormal fluid accumulations in the chest, abdomen and the sac around the heart.
– Chocolate – this and any chocolate related product such as cocoa powder, cocoa beans, cocoa mulch are very dangerous for dogs. These products contain caffeine and theobromine, both are nervous system stimulants and since dogs metabolize theobromine more slowly than humans it can cause a multitude of problems including death. Dark chocolate has the highest concentration.
– Coffee, tea and cola – contain caffeine and can cause a caffeine toxicity, plus tea and cola contain theobromine.
– Grapes and raisins – are highly toxic to dogs – we do not know the toxic component, but eating large amounts can cause kidney damage or failure.
– Macadamia nuts – another toxic mystery, but a dangerous food for dogs, it can cause depression, hyperthermia, weakness, muscular stiffness, tremors and increased heart rate.
– Mushrooms – contain toxins which can be fatal if eaten by a dog.
– Nutmeg – I did not know this would affect a dog, but it is on the list of very dangerous foods for dogs, and if a dog eats enough it can be fatal. I do not know what enough is – so keep it away from your dog.
– Onions and garlic – it is not known how large a quantity of onions or garlic need to be consumed by a dog (or cat), but they are considered dangerous because they contain sulfoxides and disulfides, which can break apart red blood cells and cause anemia. According to what I have read consumed in large amounts can result in severe anemia and even death, if not treated by your veterinarian.
– Xylitol – this is a sugar substitute found in some gums and in sugar free candies that is extremely harmful to dogs. If a dog eats enough candy it can cause life-threatening low blood sugar, loss of coordination, depression, liver damage, collapse and seizures.
– Yeast Dough – rising yeast dough can cause gas to build up in a pet’s digestive system causing its stomach or intestines to rupture. Do not feed your dog any raw dough that has yeast in it. Once it is cooked a small amount of bread or rolls are okay for your pet.
Some plants are also very toxic to dogs. Puppies are usually the ones that are the most curious, but dogs that love to dig can run into problems, too.
The following plants in general, cause the same amount of problems and these are what the symptoms are: vomiting, diarrhea, depression, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, lethargy, drooling, tremors, seizures and upset stomach.
Amaryllis, Azaleas, Autumn Crocus. Christmas pine needles, Chrysanthemum, Cyclamen, Daffodils, some Ivies, Holly, Kalanchoe, and Lillies, Sago Palms, Oleander, Poinsettia, Tulip and Narcissus bulbs are the most common ones found in our gardens. However, the Caster Oil plant contains a highly toxic protein and one bean can kill a human and four beans can kill a horse, so I would rid my yard of such a plant just to be safe. If one bean can kill one of us, I would bet a serious chew by a puppy or dog could be lethal.
Also the new thing in the garden circle is the cocoa bean mulch that does smell like chocolate, dogs are attracted to it and will eat it. It can cause many problems including death, stick to our regular mulch to be on the safe side.
Do not let your dog swim in stagnant water or in any water that you are not certain if it is free from contamination.
Dogs are like children, they are very curious and are drawn to things because it smells good. If it smells good, it must taste good and that is where the problem lies.
All dogs are at risk when it comes to chewing or swallowing a toxic or obstructive object, especially old dogs, and young puppies. It is a good idea to “baby proof” your house by keeping things out of your dog’s reach and when outdoors, a watchful eye may prevent any mishaps.
Invest in an emergency first-aid kit for your dog. It should contain:
– a fresh bottle of hydrogen peroxide (3%) to induce vomiting
– a turkey baster or large syringe to administer the peroxide into the dog’s mouth
– saline eye solution
– artificial tear gel to lubricate eyes after flushing
– forceps (tweezers) to remove stingers
– a muzzle to protect yourself against fear or excitement induced biting
– mild grease cutting dishwashing liquid for bathing skin after any contamination
– a can of your pet’s favorite wet food
– a pet carrier
Keep your vet’s phone number posted near your telephone and also keep the ASPCA Poison Control number listed 888-426-4435 (there is a charge for this service.) The ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center Web Site has an alphabetical list of the most common plants, with information about their safety.
If at anytime you think your pet has ingested a toxic substance, call your vet at once. Time is of the essence and the life you save will be your pet’s.