Monday, June 29, 2009

Good Housekeeping's 10 Pet Dangers You Didn't Know About

We love our pets they are just like another member of the family. I know my dogs feel like family, that's for sure. We know that there are hazards for caring for them. We know not to give dogs chocolate and anti-freeze but there are other dangers that could harm our little family members. Good Housekeeping magazine has a list of 10 Pet Dangers You Didn't Know About.

1. Sugar Substitutes
If your dog steals a diet cookie, call a vet. Xylitol - a sweetener used in many sugar-free candies, chewing gums, baked goods, and toothpastes - can cause low blood sugar and liver damage in dogs, reports a study published in 2006 in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. And it doesn't take that much xylitol to create problems: The study says a 22-pound dog that ingests just a gram of the stuff should be treated by a vet.

2. Liquid Potpourri
A cat or dog can be badly burned lapping up hot oils and detergents. And many of the liquid-potpourri ingredients can breed ulcers in your animal's mouth, throat, and /or gastrointestinal tract. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center has seen 330 such cases since 2001, most involving cats. (Experts think the formulas are also toxic to dogs, but cats appear more sensitive to exposure and are more likely to climb up to reach simmer pots.) About 10% of incidents are life threatening.

3. Medications
No sensible pet owner would leave an open prescription bottle within paw's reach. But beware of closed childproof containers as well: "Animals can crush them," warns Dr. Steven Hansen, D.V.M., of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Animal Poison Control Center. "I once gave my dog an empty bottle with its cap on and timed how fast she could open it," he says. "She knocked it around and chewed on it - and got it open within 15 seconds." The scariest part: Swallowing prescription pills could kill your pet. So keep your four-footed friends away from all medication, closed or open.

4. Lilies
They make a dazzling centerpiece, but also can be lethal to your cat: The ASPCA receives dozens of calls each spring from pet owners whose kitty ate a lily. "Ingesting even very small amounts can result in kidney damage," say Ann Hohenhaus, D.V.M., chair of the department of medicine at the Animal Medical Center in New York City. Dogs can also get sick from eating azalea or rhododendron, which can lead to vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, weakness, depression of the central nervous system, and, in rare cases, death.

5. Polyurethane Glue
You'd never think this stuff would attract your dog, but the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center reports a 309% increase in glue related incidents since 2002. "Dogs see a bottle lying on the floor and think it's a toy," explains Dr. Hansen. But glue, he says, is bad news. "When swallowed, it goes to the stomach, absorbs moisture, and expands to form a large, rock-like mass." So if your dog's stomach is swollen, take him to a vet: The pooch may need to have a glob of glue surgically removed.

6. Onions and Garlic
They contain disulfides, sulfur compounds that can cause gastrointestinal irritation to pets and harm their red blood cells. "One year, at Passover time, I treated a dog with severe anemia," recalls Dr. Hohenhaus. "It turned out she'd eaten too much of Grandma's chopped liver, which was loaded with onions and garlic." Tip: Don't let your pet stick his snout in the trash. "If an animal comes across a leftover roast covered with onions, he thinks, Bonus!" says Dr. Hohenhaus. "The next thing you know, he's vomiting all the way to the ER."

7. Grapes and Raisins
"We're not sure why they're so toxic to dogs, but they can trigger gastrointestinal problems like vomiting and diarrhea, or, more commonly, kidney failure," says Karen Halligan, D.V.M., director of veterinary services at the ASPCA of Los Angeles and author of Doc Halligan's What Every Pet Owner Should Know. In fact, of the 140 cases the ASPCA saw between April 2003 and 2004, many were life threatening - and seven dogs ultimately died.

8. Pennies
While a pooch can choke on any coin, pennies are particularly dangerous because they're made with zinc, which is toxic to animals. (When a penny sits in your pet's stomach, the zinc leaches out into the red blood cells, resulting in severe anemia and kidney problems.) The newer the penny, the more likely it is to be deadly. That's because pennies minted after 1982 are 99.2% zinc; those minted earlier are only 5%.

9. Macadamia Nuts
Dogs have become dramatically ill from ingesting just a handful of these. The nuts contain an unknown toxin that can upset your pet's digestive tract and muscles, setting off severe weakness (and sometimes paralysis), mild vomiting and diarrhea. The good news: Virtually all dogs recover within 48 hours of ingestion, whether or not they're treated by a vet.

10. Pine-oil Cleaners
Scrub your floor with something else - the phenol in these products can cause serious liver damage in cats, says Dr. Hohenhaus. And it doesn't take much for a kitty to be exposed: Your fur ball might unknowingly lap up a spill - or just try to clean off her feet.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for spreading the word on pet toxicities on your blog - so important for pet owners to be aware of the lurking household poisons in (and outside of) their house! As an ER specialist, I see so many toxicities that owners bring in too late (making it more expensive to treat, with a worse prognosis!). When in doubt, it's so important to call a Poison Control for peace of mind!

I wanted to make you aware of another important resource out there also - Pet Poison Helpline is an additional Animal Poison Control Center, and it's one of the most cost-effective animal poison ($35/case vs. ASPCA's new $60/case) controls out there nowadays. Unfortunately, because animal poison controls are not federal- or state-funded, there is a fee to allow the service to be run 24-7. We provide a similar service, but have the added benefit of veterinary specialists (in internal medicine and emergency and critical care) as part of our staff. You can always call 1-800-213-6680 if you ever have a problem. Thanks for spreading the word!

Dr. Justine Lee, DVM, DACVECC
Associate Director of Veterinary Services

Lifestyle Guru said...

Thank for the additional information.

martina said...