According to a recent study, there are more than 232,000 cases of pet poisoning in the U.S each year, many of which are accidental. For example, they are often caused by your dog ingesting anything within arm's (or paws) reach - whether that be your discarded cup of coffee or a bowl of grapes on your counter. However, as their bodies are much more sensitive than our own, a little errant snacking can result in an emergency visit to the vet.
In honor of National Animal Poison Prevention Week, we thought we’d share some top tips that you can use to keep your dog safe!
Know the causes.
There are various different causes of poisoning within dogs and other small animals - though they typically include:
- Food & Drink
- Household & Cleaning Products
- Car Coolant or Anti-Freeze
- Certain plants
- Fertilizer, pesticides, and insecticides
Spot the signs of poisoning.
As with any medical condition, the sooner you can spot the signs - the better. After all, this gives you as much time as possible to get help for your pet, helping them feel like themselves again in no time. While different animals will respond differently, signs of poisoning could include:
- Behavioral Changes (Especially agitation or uncharacteristic anger)
- ‘Shaky’ (Convulsions, tremors)
- Loss of appetite
- Vomiting & Diarrhea
- Increased/decreased urination
- Pale or inflamed gums
- Breathing problems (panting)
Know what to avoid.
The first (and perhaps the most effective) step towards poison prevention is knowing exactly what to keep out of your pet's reach. While this is pretty obvious when it comes to cleaning products or other chemicals, many pet owners are unsure what ‘human foods’ their dogs can eat. You should avoid:
- Caffeinated beverages
- Citrus fruits
- Garlic Bulbs
- Grapes & Raisins.
- Macadamia nuts.
Dogs are able to perform quite the range of athletic feats in order to secure foods that you think have been stored far enough away on the counter. Some foods may cause simple stomach upset, but foods such as grapes or raisins can cause permanent damage to a dog’s kidneys so it is imperative to get to a vet as quickly as possible after you realize what your pup has eaten. Onions can cause anemia in dogs and while garlic can be ingested in smaller quantities and in fact is used in many natural tick and flea products, large volumes of garlic can have the same impact on your pup as onions.
Keep your home safe.
Cleaning products can also spell disaster to a curious puppy or dog and keeping products out of reach is critical. Natural products of course are something that we would advise as they are better for you as well!
Know what to do when the worst does happen.
Accidents and mistakes happen - so while it's important you do what you can to prevent pet poisoning, you should also make sure that you know exactly what to do when you notice any of the above symptoms. Recently, my own pup grabbed an entire bag of treats that I had been given as a sample for the store. Not certain if the ingredients in such a large quantity could be problematic, I called the Animal control hotline. They were amazing and contacted the manufacturer and determined that my pup would be fine - which she was!
So the best thing you can do to help your pet is to call the ASPCA (Animal Poison Control Center), and provide them with as much information as possible on what your pup has ingested. The hotline is available 24/7 (888) 426-4435 and they will be able to guide you toward the right solution for your pup. It requires a small charge but it's well worth the peace of mind. Finally, since it is so difficult to get into vets these days, have on hand a number of emergency vets in your area. Sometimes it will take a call to several before you can find one that can fit you in for any emergency. Remember, having a puppy or dog is much like having a child. You need to be their protector and their advocate!