We are new puppy owners and she’s chewing on things and getting into everything! This makes us nervous about the potential for her to be poisoned by household cleaners, foods and items in the home. What things should we worry about poisoning our pet?
“Mr. Yuk” in Garden Oaks
Dear “Mr. Yuk,”
While puppyhood can be full of fun and love, it also holds the potential for real danger to your puppy via household items and habits in your home. According to Dr. Michael Ciepluch, lecturer at Texas A&M College of medicine and biomedical sciences, one frequent source of pet toxicity is exposure to common human foods that are toxic to pets, such as grapes, raisins, onions, and related plants such as chives, shallots, and garlic. Sugar-free gum, or any other food containing the sweetener xylitol, also can be poisonous. Other worrisome household items include antifreeze and decorative plants such as Sago palm and lilies.
Ciepluch also recommended pet owners to The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) website (ASPCA.org) for a list of toxic foods, plants, medications, and other substances. The ASPCA also has as an app that allows pet owners to search toxicities by category for basic information. In the case of an emergency, the ASPCA has a 24-hour Poison Control Hotline that can be reached at 888-426-4435.
Though the consequences of smoking were not given much thought in the past, doctors and researchers began identifying a strong association with smoking and certain cancers in humans, causing a wave of concern in recent generations. In addition to harming humans, secondhand smoke can contribute to the development of many diseases in pets.
“Inhaled irritants—such as cigarette smoke, aerosol sprays, and perfumes—can contribute to the development of chronic bronchial disease in pets,” Ciepluch said. “This disease is similar to asthma and requires lifelong medication. Cigarette smoke also contains carcinogens, substances that can cause cancer.”
Additionally, Ciepluch said recent veterinary studies have identified a higher risk of certain cancers in pets living in smoking households compared to non-smoking households. Nicotine exposure in pets also has become more prevalent with the growth in popularity of E-cigarettes and vaping.
“Bottom line: don’t expose your pet to secondhand smoke,” Ciepluch said. Alcoholic beverages can also cause health concerns for pets. It is best to keep alcoholic beverages out of your animal’s reach. “Clinical signs of alcohol toxicity include vomiting, diarrhea, incoordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma, and even death,” Ciepluch said.
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