Taste definitely relies on the tongue and taste buds, so it surprises us when our pets eat things like fertilizer or pennies or potpourri. But then again, many of us have had to suffer the kisses of those poo connoisseurs whose banquets are either in the litter box or the back yard. Luckily that stuff isn’t toxic (except to our imaginations), but there are so many things that are poisonous to our furry babies that we need to educate ourselves about things that can be very dangerous and potentially fatal to our four-legged babies.
We all can understand that our prescription medications, both oral and topical, can potentially be dangerous, but there are many medications that humans and animals can share, making the distinction very important and preferably left to the experts. So don’t reach for the Advil or Aleve or Tylenol (especially if you are a cat parent) thinking that what is good for your sore back will do for your Dachshund’s. Be very mindful about dropped pills and bottles left on the cabinet or tubes on the nightstand. Even our chewing gum and other candies sweetened with xylitol must be kept out of paws’ reach.
A lot of us secretly like to share our food with our babies, but there are many common foodstuffs that can definitely cause GI upset and even death—veterinarians do have a “rhyme to our reason” when we advise against feeding from the table.
While you might never think of munching on that ornamental plant that your friend gave you to brighten your day, to your kitty’s eyes it may look as appetizing as your favorite dessert. Pet parents should consult a list of potentially toxic plants, easily found on the Web, before deciding to keep that gifted plant, even if it is in a seemingly “unreachable” spot—kitties and puppies are surprisingly enterprising. A painting of that gorgeous house plant is preferable to a large gouge out of your bank account or even worse, another freshly dug, small mound of dirt in the back yard.
While you would never take a swig of antifreeze or paint thinner, your dog just might. You would not mistake a battery for a piece of hard candy nor choose a fire starter stick over a piece of jerky, but your dog might. He or she might also like a little blood meal mixed with liquid hydrocarbon, both of which are common toxins?
Here are some DOs and DON’Ts:
- DON’T take a “wait and see” approach if you think your pet may have gotten into something he or she shouldn’t have. Sometimes minutes do count, and a potential poisoning is definitely one of those times.
- DON’T call a human poison control center for answers. People doctors are not as knowledgeable about our pets as are veterinarians—after all, physicians only had to learn about one species!
- DO keep an emergency contact number for your veterinarian. In instances of pet poisonings, your veterinarian is your best friend. Your Heal House Call Veterinarian will be able to advise you.
- DO keep the phone numbers of pet poison control centers handy and don’t begrudge the fees that they charge; it might just be the best insurance money you ever spend for the life of your four-legged baby. It will definitely make the thoughts of those poo-smelling kisses easier to bear.
ASPCA Pet Poison Control: 888-426-4435 ($65 consultation fee) Pet Poison Helpline: 800-213-6680 ($49 consultation fee)