March 21st to 27th is Pet Poison Prevention Week. This issue is very important for every pet parent to know of, because most poisonings are only noticed when the symptoms become abundantly clear, and by then it may be too late.
Pet poisoning mostly occurs with toxic products in our daily lives, that may be within reach. Knowing which ones allows us to remove or relocate them. Also, it’s important to know which symptoms to look out for and what you should do in case you suspect your pet suffers from poisoning.
Which common household products are most likely to poison my pet?
Here is list of the most common poisons for pets:
- Snail bait
- Rat poison
- Ibuprofen (“Advil”)
- Acetylsalicylic acid (“Aspirin”)
- Acetaminophen or Paracetamol (“Tylenol”)
- External tick and flea products, used on the wrong pet species (for example, using a product containing permethrins is safe for dogs, but can be extremely toxic if mistakenly applied on a cat)
- Macadamia nuts
- Onions, chive and garlic
- Uncooked bread dough
- Aloe Vera
- Cypress palm
What symptoms are most common in poisonings?
Depending on the type of contact with the poison (inhalation, ingestion, or direct skin contact) and the toxic agent itself, the symptoms can vary. Symptoms may even go unnoticed at first or be confused for general sickness without suspicion of poisoning.
Discovering if your pet has been poisoned and with what type of toxin sometimes require detective-like work. Can you retrace your pet’s steps and know what he/she might have had access to? Can you collect a sample and take it to the vet?
The most common symptoms are related to the digestive system. This includes vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal bloating, and drooling. Neurological signs such as convulsions and tremors may also occur. Swelling of the face and body extremities, as well as difficulty breathing, the appearance of “pimples” along the body, blood in the urine, and a change in the color of the mucous membranes (blue, whitish, and yellowish) can also be indicators of intoxication.
However, there are tell-tale signs of specific intoxications, such as:
- Snail bait: causes blue vomit and/or diarrhea and a slight odour of “green apples”
- Rat poison: symptoms may occur 10 to 30 minutes or up to 2 weeks after ingestion – either directly or through poisoned animals – causes extensive bruising and joint pain and swelling
- Bleach: intoxication can occur through inhalation, ingestion, or direct contact, and one of the main signs is frothy vomit with the distinct smell of bleach.
What to DO in case of intoxication?
What to do?
- Put on gloves
- Take samples of anything that may contain traces of the poison (suspicious food the pet was eating, the pet’s vomit, the actual product you suspect was involved)
- Immediately go to the Veterinarian
What NOT to do?
- Feed your pet salt
- Try to induce vomiting (except if your veterinarian advises you to)
- Put your fingers or objects in the back of the throat
- Force your pet to drink liquids (milk or vegetable oils are commonly used due to unfounded beliefs). Oil-based liquids might actually accelerate the absorption of toxins. Also, if your pet is lethargic, liquid might not be swallowed properly and end up in the lungs.
Do NOT induce vomiting if:
- your pet is already vomiting
- your pet seems weak, severely ill or unconscious
- the exposure to the toxic agent was through inhalation
- convulsions are occurring
- exposure to the toxic agent was more than 2 hours ago
- hydrocarbons (gasoline, brake fluid) or caustic or corrosive agents (detergents, acids, etc…) have been ingested
- swallowing is impaired and the airways are in danger (i.e. megaesophagus, larynx paralysis, sedation, etc.)
- the animal has already vomited
- poisoning occurred with an unknown toxic agent
- your pet is of a brachycephalic breed (Bulldogs, Pugs, persian cats, etc)
- If contact was topic (through the skin) and you’re giving your pet a bath to remove the toxins, don’t your pet lick the foam or bath water.
- Whenever possible, take the product that caused the poisoning with you to the vet. The better your veterinarian knows the toxin involved, the better they can direct the treatment.
- Never use “home remedies”. Each type of poisoning has different treatments and although some home remedies may address a certain type of poison, it’ll do more harm than good in others.
- Call the veterinarian ASAP with as much information as you can
In a case of poisoning, quick action can make the difference between life and death! This is and Emergency situation that requires you to go to your Veterinarian right away and not sit around to see how things evolve.
Did you know you there is an “In case of Emergency” feature in the PETABLE app that allows you to find Veterinary Clinics and Hospitals in your vicinity and call or navigate to them with one click? Besides, the app is a great way to keep your pet’s info and appointments safe in one place.