Dog Poisoning:
Keep Your Best Friend Safe

Grapes, a favorite fruit commonly found in many homes, is toxic to dogs.

Dog poisoning can be caused by many foods, household cleaners, plants and other items found in your home, resulting in serious illness or even death. Print this page and keep it on your refrigerator for quick reference.

It's best to think of your dog as a toddler who is relying on you to keep him safe. You have probably "child proofed" your home in the past to protect a tyke or two—your own kids, grandkids, neighbor kids, nieces or nephews. Dog-proofing your home is not that different. You need to keep toxic substances out of the mouth of your fur kid! Preventing dog poisoning is all about being alert, aware and proactive!

Symptoms of Dog Poisoning

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Trembling & muscle twitching
  • Seizures
  • Excessive drooling

Be Prepared for Dog Poisoning!

Keep the phone number of your local veterinarian or emergency pet hospital programmed into your mobile phone. Also have it posted in an easy-to-find place like the refrigerator for back-up as well as in your wallet. While most dog poisoning occurs at home, it can also happen at the dog park or when you're visiting friends. Be prepared!

The phone number of the Poison Control Center of the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) is (888) 426-4435. Keep this number handy.

It's a good idea to assemble an emergency first-aid kit. However, DO NOT use any of these items on your dog until you have first consulted a veterinarian for instructions. The purpose is to have these items handy when you call your vet or the ASPCA Poison Control Center in the event of a dog poisoning emergency.

Emergency Kit

  • A fresh bottle of hydrogen peroxide, 3 percent USP (to induce vomiting)
  • A turkey baster, bulb syringe or large medicine syringe (to administer peroxide)
  • Saline eye solution
  • Artificial tear gel (to lubricate eyes after flushing)
  • Mild grease-cutting dishwashing liquid (for bathing an animal after skin contamination)
  • Forceps or tweezers (to remove stingers)
  • A muzzle (to protect against fear- or excitement-induced biting)
  • A can of your dog’s favorite wet food
  • A dog carrier

Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pet

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Apples (Stem, leaves and seeds are poisonous.)
  • Avocado
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Fatty foods
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Moldy or spoiled foods
  • Onions, onion powder
  • Raisins and grapes
  • Salt
  • Yeast dough
  • Garlic (Small amounts like that used in dog food or dog supplements is normally fine and even beneficial. But to be safe, consult a holistic veterinarian.)
  • Products sweetened with xylitol, such as chewing gum.

Warm Weather Hazards

  • Animal toxins—toads, insects, spiders, snakes and scorpions
  • Blue-green algae in ponds
  • Citronella candles
  • Cocoa mulch
  • Compost piles
  • Fertilizers
  • Flea products
  • Outdoor plants and plant bulbs
  • Swimming-pool treatment supplies
  • Fly baits containing methomyl
  • Slug and snail baits containing metaldehyde

Human Medications

Examples of human medications that can be potentially lethal dog poisoning agents, even in small doses:

  • Pain killers
  • Cold medicines
  • Anti-cancer drugs
  • Antidepressants
  • Vitamins
  • Diet Pills

Cold Weather Hazards

  • Antifreeze
  • Liquid potpourri
  • Ice melting products
  • Rat and mouse bait

Household Hazards

  • Fabric softener sheets
  • Mothballs
  • U.S. pennies made after 1982 (Contain a high concentration of zinc.)

Holiday Hazards

  • Christmas tree water (May contain fertilizers and bacteria, which, if ingested, can upset the stomach.)
  • Electrical cords
  • Ribbons or tinsel (Can become lodged in the intestines and cause intestinal obstruction.)
  • Batteries
  • Glass ornaments

17 Plants with Dog Poisoning Potential

Lilies: Members of the Lilium spp. are considered to be highly toxic to cats. While the poisonous component has not yet been identified, it is clear that with even ingestions of very small amounts of the plant, severe kidney damage could result.

Marijuana: Ingestion of Cannabis sativa by companion animals can result in depression of the central nervous system and incoordination, as well as vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, increased heart rate, and even seizures and coma.

Sago Palm: All parts of Cycas Revoluta are poisonous, but the seeds or “nuts” contain the largest amount of toxin. The ingestion of just one or two seeds can result in very serious effects, which include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, seizures and liver failure.

Tulip/Narcissus bulbs: The bulb portions of Tulipa/Narcissus spp. contain toxins that can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation, drooling, loss of appetite, depression of the central nervous system, convulsions and cardiac abnormalities.

Azalea/Rhododendron: Members of the Rhododenron spp. contain substances known as grayantoxins, which can produce vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, weakness and depression of the central nervous system in animals. Severe azalea poisoning could ultimately lead to coma and death from cardiovascular collapse.

Oleander: All parts of Nerium oleander are considered to be toxic, as they contain cardiac glycosides that have the potential to cause serious effects—including gastrointestinal tract irritation, abnormal heart function, hypothermia and even death.

Castor Bean: The poisonous principle in Ricinus communis is ricin, a highly toxic protein that can produce severe abdominal pain, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, weakness and loss of appetite. Severe cases of poisoning can result in dehydration, muscle twitching, tremors, seizures, coma and death.

Cyclamen: Cylamen species contain cyclamine, but the highest concentration of this toxic component is typically located in the root portion of the plant. If consumed, Cylamen can produce significant gastrointestinal irritation, including intense vomiting. Fatalities have also been reported in some cases.

Kalanchoe: This plant contains components that can produce gastrointestinal irritation, as well as those that are toxic to the heart, and can seriously affect cardiac rhythm and rate.

Yew: Taxus spp. contains a toxic component known as taxine, which causes central nervous system effects such as trembling, incoordination, and difficulty breathing. It can also cause significant gastrointestinal irritation and cardiac failure, which can result in death.

Amaryllis: Common garden plants popular around Easter, Amaryllis species contain toxins that can cause vomiting, depression, diarrhea, abdominal pain, hypersalivation, anorexia and tremors.

Autumn Crocus: Ingestion of Colchicum autumnale by pets can result in oral irritation, bloody vomiting, diarrhea, shock, multi-organ damage and bone marrow suppression.

Chrysanthemum: These popular blooms are part of the Compositae family, which contain pyrethrins that may produce gastrointestinal upset, including drooling, vomiting and diarrhea, if eaten. In certain cases depression and loss of coordination may also develop if enough of any part of the plant is consumed.

English Ivy: Also called branching ivy, glacier ivy, needlepoint ivy, sweetheart ivy and California ivy, Hedera helix contains triterpenoid saponins that, should pets ingest, can result in vomiting, abdominal pain, hypersalivation and diarrhea.

Peace Lily (AKA Mauna Loa Peace Lily): Spathiphyllum contains calcium oxalate crystals that can cause oral irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty in swallowing and intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips and tongue in pets who ingest.

Pothos: Pothos (both Scindapsus and Epipremnum) belongs to the Araceae family. If chewed or ingested, this popular household plant can cause significant mechanical irritation and swelling of the oral tissues and other parts of the gastrointestinal tract.

Schefflera: Schefflera and Brassaia actinophylla contain calcium oxalate crystals that can cause oral irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty in swallowing and intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips and tongue in pets who ingest.

You need to be watchful and alert to the possibilities of dog poisoning. But don't become paranoid. As your canine friend would no doubt tell you if he could speak, "Don't become so worried that it interferes with enjoying life!"

Source: ASPCA

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