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Pet Poisons: A Haddon Township, NJ Veterinarian Answers FAQS

March 15 2024

National Animal Poison Prevention Week starts on March 17th this year. This is a topic that impacts all pet owners. Poisonings are one of the most common causes of emergency appointments. A local Haddon Township, NJ vet offers some information on this, and offers tips on how to keep your animal companion safe, in this article.

 How Many Pets Are Poisoned Every Year?

These figures are quite sobering. Over 401,500 cases of pet poisoning are reported annually here in the U.S. 

What Foods Are Poisonous To Pets? 

Many popular foods are toxic to Fido and Fluffy! That list includes the following

  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Scallions
  • Chives
  • Junk Food
  • Anything That Contains Xylitol (Birch Sugar)
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Currants
  • Many nuts, such as macadamia nuts
  • Chocolate

Ask your Haddon Township, NJ veterinarian for more information on this. 

What Common Household Items Are Toxic To Dogs And Cats?

You may be surprised at how many common household items can be deadly to your furry friend.

Cleaning Agents: It’s probably safe to assume that all and any household cleaning products are poisonous to pets. That includes bleach, disinfectants, furniture polish and oil, detergent, drain openers, mold killers, etc.

Automotive Products: Antifreeze is one of the most dangerous things for pets. Many brands have a flavor that pets find appealing. Opt for a pet-safe brand. (These are still not pet-safe, but it isn’t as tempting for them.) Gasoline, oil, fluids, paint, cleaners, and wiper fluid are other hazards. Keep pets away from areas where you have used chemicals or set out rodenticides or pesticides, and clean up any spilled antifreeze or chemicals right away. 

Lawn/Garden Products: These are very concerning, because it’s so easy for pets to ingest them. Slug bait or snail bait is extremely deadly to dogs. The issue here is a substance called Metaldehyde, which is found in many brands.

Any type of fertilizer, fungicide, weed killers, or herbicide is also unsafe. Remember, pets just need to walk through a patch to pick the chemicals up on their fur. They can then ingest the substance by licking themselves.

What Plants Are Poisonous To Pets?

Many pets love nibbling on plants. That can be cute, but it’s also quite dangerous. The full list of toxic plants is too long to print here, so we’ll stick with some of the most common ones. 

Lilies are at the top of the list for cats. They can be fatal to kitties, even in very small doses. Fluffy only needs to nibble a bit of a leaf, or sip a tiny bit of water, to become ill. As for Fido, Sago palms are one of the most dangerous ones for him.

Here are some of the toxic ones:

  • Lilies
  • Tulips
  • Daffodils
  • Hyacinth
  • Oleander
  • Amaryllis
  • Rhododendron
  • Crocus
  • Cyclamen
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Ivy
  • Sago palm
  • Foxglove
  • Widow’s-thrill
  • Lily of the valley
  • Azalea
  • Hydrangea
  • Dieffenbachia
  • Holly
  • Birds of Paradise
  • Common daisy
  • Irises
  • Peonies
  • Aloe

As a rule of thumb, you can consider anything with a bulb to be unsafe. That includes tulips, daffodils, onions, and garlic. You can find more information about safe and unsafe plants online at the ASPCA site here.

Keep in mind that even plants that are not toxic can be dangerous. Roses, for instance,have sharp thorns that could cause severe internal injuries if ingested. Ask your vet for more information.

What Household Items Are Poisonous To Pets?

Here are some of the other things you may have in your house that are toxic to pets:

Pesticides: Bug spray, rodenticides, mouse and rat bait are a few examples. Basically, anything that is designed to kill insects is going to be dangerous to your furry buddy. Many rodenticides contain a substance called warfarin, which is an anticoagulant. This can cause severe—and potentially fatal—internal bleeding.

Flea and tick medications also make the list. They are of course safe when used as prescribed. However, if you were to double up or use an improper dose, that could put your pet at risk of poisoning. Only use vet-approved products.

Medication: We would recommend being very careful to keep medicine out of paws’ reach. Some of the most dangerous include aspirin, acetaminophen, Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen. Store both OTC and prescription away from Fido and Fluffy.

Are Salt Lamps Dangerous To Pets?

Believe it or not, they can be! Some pets really like the taste of salt. Fluffy and Fido may obsessively lick the lamp, which would put them at risk of salt poisoning. That doesn’t mean you can’t have one: just keep it in a spot your pet can’t get to.

Do Cats And Dogs Have The Same Poison Concerns?

Yes and no. For the most part, the same substances are toxic to both of them. However, Fido and Fluffy have different instincts and behaviors. Cats may be at greater risk of getting sick because of things that have spilled on or even just come into contact with their fur. Not only does Fluffy have very delicate skin, she is also fastidious about grooming herself. Kitties only need to walk through a patch of lawn that was treated with pesticides to become ill, as they’ll ingest the toxin by cleaning themselves. This is still a concern with dogs: Fido can also lick a dangerous substance off his paws.

Another difference? Dogs tend to eat or chew, well, anything. Some pooches outgrow this once they’ve finished teething, but others remain voracious chewers well into their adulthood.

What Are The Signs Of Poisoning In Pets?

The exact symptoms will vary, depending on the type and amount of poison ingested. That said, there are some general ones to be aware of.

Some of these include the following

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Respiratory Issues
  • Coughing
  • Drooling
  • Seizure
  • Twitching
  • Wobbling/Lurching Gait
  • Fever
  • Excessive Thirst
  • Abdominal pain
  • Collapse
  • Shock
  • Coma
  • Weakness
  • Irregular Heartbeat
  • Internal Bleeding
  • Lethargy
  • Excessive Urination

Cats often tend to withdraw when they don’t feel well. Dogs may also act forlorn. You may also notice unusual behavior, which could range from grumpiness to clinginess.

Keep in mind that these things can be indicative of a wide variety of issues. Contact your vet right away if you notice anything wrong.

Are Essential Oils Safe For Pets? 

Many people use aromatherapy as a part of their health and wellness regimens. Pets can also benefit, but be careful here. Many of those oils are highly concentrated, which can make them dangerous. Cats are especially at risk here, as they are so sensitive to chemicals. 

Here are some of the unsafe ones: 

  • Cinnamon 
  • Tea Tree Oil 
  • Citrus Oils
  • Pennyroyal 
  • Peppermint
  • Wintergreen 
  • Ylang Ylang 
  • Pine
  • Sweet Birch 
  • Clove 
  • Anise 
  • Wintergreen 
  • Juniper

Err on the side of caution, and keep all perfumes and oils away from your furry bestie. 

What Is Toxic To Birds? 

Bird owners will need to use additional caution. Polly’s sensitive lungs are very delicate. Your feathered pal can get sick from breathing fumes that are safe—and even pleasant—for us. That includes things like scented candles, incense, perfume, and air freshener. Cooking fumes are also dangerous, as are any aerosols or vapors. Ask your Haddon Township, NJ vet for specific advice.

What Do I Do If I Suspect My Pet Has Been Poisoned?

This is definitely not a ‘wait and see’ situation. Acting quickly is crucial: your furry friend’s life could depend on it. 

The first thing you’ll want to do is contact your vet. If it’s after hours, reach out to an emergency clinic. You can also contact a pet poison hotline. There are several different ones: the ASPCA number is (888) 426-4435. (Note: charges may apply.) Fido or Fluffy will need immediate veterinary care, but it’s best for you to call first, so they can prepare. you may also be instructed to perform first aid, such as administering hydrogen peroxide. If you know what your pet ingested or was exposed to, take a picture of the label to share with your vet. Or, take it with you. 

Follow instructions to the letter, and do not administer anything unless directed to by your vet or a poison helpline worker. Doing the wrong thing may be more dangerous than doing nothing.

Do you have questions about your pet’s safety, health, or care? We are always happy to help! Please contact us, your Haddon Township, NJ animal clinic, today!

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