Monday, June 3, 2013

Canine Hazards In and Around Your Home

We get a lot of people asking about potential hazards in and around their home.  So we thought it was time to devote a blog to it. This week's we will address hazards inside the home and, in two weeks, the sequel to this blog will address the hazards outside the home.

We all try to be as careful as possible when keeping things from our dog's reach, but it's easy to get a little forgetful sometimes. Unfortunately that could be bad news for your dog and for you. Hopefully this list can be a reminder to keep closet doors and cabinets closed and certain items elevated to ensure your pup cannot reach them.  If you believe or know your dog has ingested something from the upcoming list, do not hesitate to call the APCC (Animal Poison Control Center).  The number is 888-426-4435.  This is one of those numbers you want on your fridge or emergency contact list.  The last thing you want or need is your pup to be in trouble, and have to spend precious minutes desperately looking for the number.

Here's a list of the top poisons to dogs in your home:

1.  Human Prescription Medication.  Keep all meds where dogs absolutely cannot reach them.  A friend of ours had her son's prescription for ADHD on a counter where she believed her dog could not reach it.  The dog did reach it, and was lucky to only ingest one pill.  The result was this docile, gentle dog became very aggressive and was hyper beyond control.  Lucky for the dog and the owner, the pill wore off and he was fine, but if he had access to more than one pill, this could have easily killed him.

2.  Over the counter products.  According to the APCC, Ibuprofen was the #1 OTC poison ingested by dogs in 2012. Keep them all well out of reach. 

3. Veterinary Products such as prescriptions for dogs, flea, heart worm and tick preventive medicine.

4. Household Items.  These include paint, dry wall, fire logs, glue and ALL household cleansers, even if they are "all natural".

5. Human Food.  Chocolate is the most obvious.  The darker the chocolate, the more toxic.  If your dog gets a small piece there is no need to rush them to the vet. But if you are unsure and your dog has any unusual symptoms (diarrhea, vomiting, agitation, seizure...) rush him/her to the vet immediately.  Xylitol is another extremely toxic substance to dogs. It's used as a sweetener in toothpaste, gum, candy and some baked goods. Many dogs have a sweet tooth.  Even a small amount of xylitol can send a dog into seizures and liver failure.  Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure. Onions and garlic can cause gastrointestinal irritation and may lead to red blood cell damage.

6. Plants. The following are indoor plants most toxic to dogs:  Lilies of any type, Ivy, Poinsettia, Mistletoe, Holly, Aloe Vera, Asparagus Ferns, Christmas Cactus, and Eucalyptus. There are many more that are more prevalent outdoors and will be covered in the sequel in two weeks.

The above list is what in-house toxins are most dangerous to dogs.  But there are other items worth mentioning that are dangerous and potentially deadly as well:

1. Caffeine, especially the amount found in energy drinks.

2. Alcohol.  Some dogs really enjoy the tastes found in beer, wine and cocktails, and an unattended drink, at a level where dogs can reach it,  could be dangerous if enough alcohol is consumed.

3. Marijuana.  For those who enjoy partaking please keep it well away from your dog. A friend of ours was hiking her dog last year, and her dog ate something which turned out to have marijuana in it.  She had to rush her dog to the emergency vet and the doctor said there was almost enough THC in it to have killed her.

4. Dog and Cat food.  Of course this is not toxic but if a dog acquires access to a bag of dog or cat food and binges too much too fast this can bring on a fatal condition called bloat.

5. Toys. We haven't gone off the deep end here and certainly are not suggesting your have no toys   available for your dog!  Just be cautious in choosing toys for them that they could ingest if they're too small or if they destroy them. Be cautious of any rope toys if your dog has any tendency to chew things  up or rip them apart. The above can not only be a choking hazard, but can lodge in the intestines   causing a dangerous and possibly fatal blockage.  We also don't recommend leaving a dog unattended with a bone of any type (rawhide, marrow, knuckle, etc.).

We're not trying to get anyone paranoid, just the opposite actually. By having knowledge and awareness you can easily keep your dog safe, even with "canine toxic" substances we all keep in our homes.  Thanks for taking the time to read this blog and as always, we welcome your comments and stories.