Visit a family with small children and you’re likely to find a home where poisonous chemicals are locked up and medications are out of reach. Unfortunately, the same isn’t always true of homes with pets.
Last year, the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center handled more than 140,000 cases involving pets and toxic substances. Based on these calls, the ASPCA developed a list of the top 10 poisons that can harm your pooch.
- Human Medications – The number one danger is human medication. Keep all drugs off easy-to-reach counters and nightstands. Dogs may try to play with pill vials or might ingest stray pills that were dropped accidentally.
- Insecticides – Our battle against fleas and ticks may harm our dogs if we mistakenly apply the wrong products or misuse them. This was the second most common reason for calls to the center.
- People Food – You might indulge your pooch with a little human food, but beware of grapes, raisins, avocado and gum, which can be harmful. The worst human treat is chocolate, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea and even seizures.
- Plants – These household plants can be risky for your pet: azalea, rhododendron, sago palm, lilies, kalanchoe and schefflera. Check the ASPCA’s list of toxic plants.
- Veterinary Medications – Last year, there were 7,680 cases where drugs prescribed by vets were misapplied or dispensed improperly. Be sure to read dosage instructions carefully and if in doubt, call your vet.
- Rodenticides – Ingesting rat poison can be life threatening to your dog, leading to bleeding, seizures or kidney damage. Avoid using rat or mouse traps with baits that can be attractive to your dog.
- Household Cleaners – Simply inhaling some of the chemical cleaners in your home might irritate and distress your dog. Limit his access to bleaches, detergents and disinfectants.
- Heavy Metals – Be aware of the harm that lead, zinc and mercury can pose. Lead can be found in paint chips, linoleum and lead dust from sanding or scraping.
- Garden Products – Fertilizer and garden products will beautify your garden, but they can hurt your pet. Fertilizer, especially, can cause severe gastric distress.
- Chemical Hazards – A growing number of calls to the center involve poisoning from antifreeze, paint thinner, drain cleaners, pool chemicals and other substances, which can cause respiratory problems and burns.
The best advice is to dog-proof your home. With a little extra care and vigilance, you can make sure your dog’s curiosity doesn’t lead him into contact with toxic substances.
In case of a poisoning emergency, call your veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center’s 24-hour hotline at (888) 426-4435.