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Common Poisons Around The House

Foods
Foods that can be poisonous to your pet come in all shapes and sizes. It is important to only feed your pet a commercially available pet food or to follow an approved recipe for home cooked diets. Dogs intestines are not designed to eat as varied a diet as our own and any variation in their diet can lead to upset of the bacteria in the gut. If you are going to feed your dog anything other than pet food or treats it is important to research whether that food may be toxic to your dog. Some common foods that are poisonous to dogs are listed below. This list is not exhaustive.

Chocolate
Chocolate contains theobromine which is poisonous to dogs and cats. Theobromine is most concentrated in dark or plain chocolate and less in milk and white chocolate. There is approximately 10 times as much theobromine in dark chocolate than in milk chocolate. The amount of chocolate that can make a dog sick depends on how much it weighs and the type of chocolate it eats. A small bar of dark chocolate can be enough to make even a 30kg dog very sick and potentially die. We would recommend to never give your dog chocolate of any kind as they can develop a taste for it and hunt it out when you aren’t around. If you think that your dog has eaten chocolate you should contact your vet immediately for advice.

Raisins/Grapes
Raisins and grapes are very poisonous to dogs and can cause fatal kidney failure. The cause of this toxicity is unknown. Even a very small amount can cause severe problems in your pet. If you think your pet has eaten raisins or grapes contact your vet immediately for advice.

Onions/Garlic/Shallots
All types of onion can cause toxicity in your pet. They contain thiosulphate which causes pets to develop serious anaemia which makes pets very sick. Onion poisoning can occur if your pet eats large quantities of onion or with repeated meals containing small amounts of onion. The only treatment available for onion toxicity is supportive and you should contact your vet immediately if you think your pet may have eaten onion.

Macadamia Nuts
The cause of macadamia nut toxicity is unknown but as few as 7 nuts can cause problems. Dogs can get problems with standing and develop a muscle tremor if they have ingested these nuts. Please contact your vet for advice if your dog has eaten these nuts.

Plants
There are a number of plants that are toxic to cats and dogs. A few of the most commonly encountered toxicities are mentioned below but this list is not exhaustive.

Lily
These beautiful flowers tend to mainly cause problems in cats. All parts of these flowers are poisonous but the pollen tends to be the most common cause of poisioning. Cats are inherently clean animals who will lick off anything they get on their fur including pollen. Ingestion of Lily can lead to kidney failure in your pet. It is important to contact your vet as soon as possible if you think that your pet may have eaten Lily.

Foxglove, Rhododendron and Yew
These can also lead to toxicity in your pet. If you are concerned that your pet may have ingested any part of one of these plants please contact your vet for advice.

Chemicals
Please be aware that any product that is listed as harmful to humans will be harmful to your pet too. Please read the label carefully before you use products around your pet. Below are a few products which commonly cause problems in dogs and cats.

Antifreeze
Antifreeze has a sweet taste that makes it irresistible to pets. Antifreeze is made of Ethylene glycol which forms crystals in your pet’s kidneys. Unfortunately we often find out that the pet has a problem too late for us to do anything to help. It is essential that if you think your pet has had any access to antifreeze that you contact your vet immediately.

Slug Pellets
Most commonly available slug pellets contain Metaldehyde which is poisonous to slugs but also to your pet. The way that slug pellets are made is very similar to the making of dog biscuits which makes them attractive to dogs. No matter how thinly you spread these pellets it is still possible for your pet to eat enough to cause it a problem. If you think your pet has eaten slug pellets contact your vet as soon as possible. The only way to prevent this problem is to not use slug pellets that are toxic to pets and children.

Rat Poison
Most rat poisons contain warfarin which is a drug which prevents clotting. If your pet eats rat poison they can get severe bleeding disorders and potentially die. If you think your pet may have had access to rat poison contact your vet immediately.

Permethrin Flea Products
Flea products which contain permethrin are extremely toxic to cats. Some flea products which are for sale in supermarkets and pet shops will contain permethrin, read the label carefully before applying the product. If you use a permethrin based product on your dog it is recommended that you keep any cats away from your dog for 72 hours. Cats can show neurological signs when they have come in contact with this product. If you think your cat may have come in to contact with Permethrin containing products contact your vet as soon as possible.

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