Puppies are curious creatures and they love to eat and chew on things. This sometimes gets them into trouble when they ingest something that they shouldn't. Dog owners must be aware of the products, foods, and plants that are hazardous to canines, and they also must be able to recognize symptoms of poisoning. This is extremely important because the sooner that care is sought, the better the outcome for the dog.
Though we think of chocolate as just a delicious treat, an indulgent dog may find it lethal. An ounce of milk chocolate per pound of canine can kill a dog;, unsweetened baker's chocolate is 10 times more potent.
Containing a heart and central nervous system stimulant, the early stages of chocolate ingestion include vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness and excessive drinking and urinating. This escalates to hyperexcitability, muscle tremors, seizures, and abnormal heart rhythm. Death can occur 18 hours to a few days later due to cardiac and respiratory failure.
If caught soon enough after ingestion, induced vomiting and activated charcoal can be given to absorb the toxin. Cases of extensive arthritis have been noted after recovery.
XYLITOL, A HAZARDOUS SWEETENER
An artificial sweetener found in sugarless gum, beverages, toothpaste, and cereals, Xylitol is harmless to people but triggers a massive release of insulin in dogs.
Clinical signs include vomiting, weakness, depression, lack of coordination, and even seizures.
Treatment with intravenous glucose needs to be administered quickly to prevent death.
Though they may seem unlikely poisons, grapes and their dried out relatives, raisins, can be hazardous to canines. At first, researchers looked for toxins (pesticides and such) on the grapes to account for poisonings, but this would not explain cases of dogs who were affected after eating organic grapes directly off of backyard vines. Clearly it was the grapes themselves that contained the toxic substance, although the specific poison has not yet been identified.
Whatever the toxin in this fruit, dogs are highly susceptible to it. The average toxic dose is about a half pound of grapes for a medium-sized dog, but much smaller quantities have caused death. Early signs of poisoning include vomiting and diarrhea, loss of appetite, depression, and abdominal pain. As the kidneys deteriorate over time, urine production stops. Intensive, rapid treatment is needed to retain kidney function.
It has been said that the amount of onion in a Big Mac was enough to trigger poisoning symptoms in a dog. A toxic agent in onions damages red blood cells and destroys hemoglobin, diminishing the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood.
Symptoms include pale gums, anemia and seizure, caused by lack of oxygen to the brain.
Rising yeast dough can cause gas to build up in pets' digestive systems, causing their stomachs or intestines to rupture. Once the dough is cooked this risk lessens, so it's generally safe for pets to have a small amount of bread as a treat. However, according to the ASPCA, such yeast-containing foods should make up no more than 5 to 10 percent of their total daily caloric intake.
OTHER TOXIC FOODS
Alcoholic beverages, avocados (leaves, seeds, skin, stem), coffee, cola drinks, hops (used in home beer brewing), macadamia nuts, moldy foods, potato (leaves, stems, sprouted potatoes, other green parts), rhubarb leaves, salt, tea, tomato (leaves, stems, other green parts), walnuts.
TOXIC INDOOR AND OUTDOOR PLANTS TO DOGS
Plant toxicities are challenging to veterinarians. Toxins vary with the plant, the stage of it's growing season, and the part ingested.
Check the web sites listed below to ensure that plants in or around your home are safe for your dog:
Fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides are used routinely on lawns and gardens. You may not use them in your yard but some your neighbors or park district probably do. Professional lawn services are required to post signs when they treat an area. Neighbors generally do not. Ask your neighbor to alert you if they are treating their lawn or garden. Your pets should be kept indoors during application and not be let out until the application is dry. Inhaling the fumes can cause toxicity. Rodenticides although not a yard or garden product are sometimes placed around houses, sheds and garages. Many mouse/rat poisons use an anti-coagulant. It interferes with Vitamin K, prevents blood from clotting and causes internal bleeding. Others use toxins that cause neurological damage. It can sometimes take 3-5 days to see signs of poisoning.
CHEMICALS THAT ARE TOXIC TO DOGS
The way to think of what is toxic to a dog is the same as a child. If you wouldn’t want your child to eat it then keep it out of reach of your dog. If you use a tank insert toilet bowl cleaner be sure to keep the lid down. Clean up spills of any chemical or household cleaner. Dogs commonly lick their feet, which can cause ingestion and/or mouth burns.
Common articles that are toxic are mothballs, pennies, cosmetics, perfumes, potpourri, lead fishing weight, and medications. Plug-in air fresheners can be removed by a curious pet and ingested.
With a sweet taste that disguises the ability to kill, small spills on the garage floor may go unnoticed by everyone, except your dog.
A lethal dose for a large dog can be as little as one ounce! Once ingested, this will lead to forming crystals which will block the tubules in the kidneys, leading to acute renal failure.
First symptoms are a sweet breath combined with nausea and vomiting. Dogs may act drunk or uncoordinated, progressing to depression, drooling and inability to stand.
If diagnosis and emergency treatment is received quickly, there is a good chance for survival.
OVER THE COUNTER MEDICINES
Medications considered safe for people can be toxic, if not deadly, to dogs. Low doses of ibuprofen can trigger stomach ulcers after just a few days of treatment. Besides extreme stomach pain, ibuprofen (Advil) can cause dogs to lose life-threatening amounts of blood. Intensive intravenous fluids may be required to maintain renal function.
Other medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) and acetylsalicylic acid (Aspirin) can cause similar problems. Fatal bleeding can result with dogs dying, despite treatment.
Always check with your vet before administering single or multiple kinds of medicines to insure the safety of your beloved friend!
SIGNS OF CANINE TOXICITY OR POISONING
Pawing at the ears (indicates a ringing sound), eyes, or mouth. Watering eyes and/or nose. Increased thirst and salivation with frequent swallowing. Dry mouth, numbness of tissues or pale tissues, dilated pupils, blurred vision (bumping into objects).
Breathing: difficult or labored; change in respiration rate such as reduced, rapid, irregular, shallow or very deep
Temperature: sudden variations either high, low or irregular
Heart: weak or irregular beat: rapid or slow; fleeting pulse
Digestive: diarrhea (usually foul smelling), foul breath odor, vomits, pain on defecation or palpation. Cramps, constipation, blood in feces or vomitus.
Nervous system: shivering, unusual and uncoordinated movements, shock, coma, paralysis, convulsions
Urinary tract: increased urination, blood in urine, increased or reduced volume, pain or urination
Blood: A sample may be drawn to see if there or any irregularities in the blood chemistries and/or the complete blood count (CBC)
EMERGENCY PET POISON TREATMENT KIT
You may benefit by keeping a pet safety kit and other items on hand for emergencies. Such a kit should contain:
A fresh bottle of hydrogen peroxide 3% (USP) – 1 tablespoon per 10 lbs. body weight
Vinegar or lemon juice – 3 teaspoon diluted with equal parts of water
Milk of Magnesia – 1 teaspoon per 5 pounds body weight
Can of soft dog food
Turkey baster, bulb syringe or large medicine syringe
Saline eye solution to flush out eye contaminates
Artificial tear gel to lubricate eyes after flushing
Mild grease-cutting dishwashing liquid in order to bathe an animal after skin contamination
Rubber gloves to prevent you from being exposed while you bathe the animal
Forceps to remove stingers
Muzzle to keep the animal from hurting you while it is excited or in pain
Pet carrier to help carry the animal to your local veterinarian
WHAT TO DO IF YOU THINK THAT YOUR DOG HAS BEEN POISONED
Contact Your Vet Immediately!
He May Suggest The Following Before Taking Your Pet In:
If you know what your dog has ingested (it should be listed on the container), take it with you to the vet.
Call to inform your vet that you will be bringing your dog in. He may want to contact the poison center for more information.
Bring with you anything your dog has vomited or chewed in a zip-lock bag. This is especially important if you do not know what poison was ingested.
Before leaving for the vet it may be necessary to begin treatment at home.
To purge the poison you induce vomiting. Hydrogen Peroxide 3% is used. Never use syrup of Ipecac which can be toxic to pets.
Never induce vomiting if a caustic substance was swallowed. Caustic poisons need to be neutralized.
If an acidic poison (like bleach) has been ingested, Milk of Magnesia can be given or activated charcoal.
If an alkaline poison has been ingested, vinegar or lemon juice is needed.
Sometimes you can dilute the poison by giving your dog milk to drink.
If the toxin is on the coat give your dog a bath and rinse him for 10 minutes before going to the vet.
KEEP YOUR VET'S PHONE NUMBER ON HAND FOR EMERGENCIES
You now know some of the common toxins that your Weimaraner or Goldendoodle may try to eat. There are many more poisons found in the average American household. If you see signs of abnormal behavior, contact your Veterinarian immediately. The earlier the diagnosis, the better the chance that your dog's treatment will be successful.