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Common Household Items Can Be a Threat to Your Dog!

Even in the cleanest and seemingly safest home or apartment there can be a threat to your dog’s health. There are many common household items that we all keep around that can pose a threat to your dog, either making them sick or causing death,

Did you know that an environmental toxin could be any substance that is outside an animal’s body and if ingested or otherwise exposed – can cause harmful biological changes.

We live in a world where we try to go “green”, and yet many of our homes are filled with things that can harm our dogs.

Did you know that secondhand smoke can cause cancer in dogs? Rotting food found in a garbage can has the potential to either cause illness or death.

Substances found in a home that can become a deadly threat range from pesticides and polluted water that contaminates the environment to many other things that seem small and insignificant.

This article will hopefully in some small way open the eyes of the readers and possibly prevent a dog or other pet from getting sick or dying.

Dogs, as you know, are one of the most curious house pets, a monkey might be more curious, but when it comes to putting things in their mouths, I think dogs have all other creatures to beat.

Since a dog has no hands to grasp things, his first choice is his mouth, and whether it tastes good or not, it goes into his mouth. I haven’t read anywhere that dogs are gourmands. It seems their philosophy is, if it fits, it can be chewed and/or swallowed. The problem with this philosophy is that the toxins in the items can cause illness and/or the items can cause serious obstruction in the dog’s body.

So what’s a dog owner to do? First of all, there are some simple rules to follow that will prevent some accidents. Especially if you have a puppy or a dog that likes to chew, keep small things away from your dog. Things like small rubber balls, jewelry, medicine bottles of all kinds (glass or plastic), containers of ant or rat poison, household cleaners, electrical wires on the floor that can be chewed, containers containing insecticides, fertilizers, automotive fluids such as antifreeze, power steering fluid and the like. Anything you don’t think you’d want to ingest, consider a no-no for your dog.

There are many foods that can cause a toxic reaction in a dog:

– Alcohol – in addition to causing intoxication can cause coma or even death.

– Avocado – a fatty acid found in the leaves, fruit, seeds and skin of avocados called ‘persin’ can cause difficulty breathing, abnormal fluid accumulation in the chest, abdomen and the sac around the heart.

– Chocolate – this and any product related to chocolate, such as cocoa powder, cocoa beans, cocoa mulch are very dangerous for dogs. These products contain caffeine and theobromine, both of which are nervous system stimulants, and since dogs metabolize theobromine more slowly than humans, it can cause a variety of problems including death. Dark chocolate has the highest concentration.

– Coffee, tea and cola – contain caffeine and can cause caffeine toxicity, and tea and cola contain theobromine.

– Grapes and raisins – highly toxic to dogs – we don’t know the toxic component, but eating large amounts can cause damage or kidney failure.

– Macadamia nuts – another toxic mystery, but dangerous food for dogs, can cause depression, hyperthermia, weakness, muscle stiffness, tremors and increased heart rate.

– Mushrooms – contain toxins that can be fatal if eaten by a dog.

– Nutmeg – I didn’t know this would affect a dog, but it is on the very dangerous dog food list and if a dog eats enough it can be fatal. I don’t know what is enough – so keep it away from your dog.

– Onions and garlic – it is not known how much onions or garlic a dog (or cat) needs to eat, but they are considered dangerous because they contain sulfoxides and disulfides, which can break down red blood cells and cause anemia. From what I’ve read, eating large amounts can lead to severe anemia and even death if not treated by your vet.

– Xylitol – this is a sugar substitute found in some chewing gum and sugar-free candies and is extremely harmful to dogs. If a dog eats enough candy it can cause life-threatening low blood sugar, loss of coordination, depression, liver damage, collapse and seizures.

– Yeast dough – yeast dough that swells can cause gas to build up in a pet’s digestive system causing their stomach or intestine to rupture. Do not feed your dog raw dough that contains yeast. Once baked, a small amount of bread or buns is fine for your pet.

Some plants are also very toxic to dogs. Puppies are usually the most curious, but dogs that love to dig can also run into problems.

The following plants generally cause the same problems and these are the symptoms: vomiting, diarrhea, depression, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, lethargy, salivation, tremors, seizures and upset stomach.

Amaryllis, Azaleas, Autumn Crocus. Christmas pine needles, chrysanthemum, cyclamen, daffodils, some ivy, holly, kalanchoe and lilies, sago palms, oleanders, poinsettias, tulip and daffodil bulbs are the most common bulbs found in our gardens. However, the Caster Oil plant contains a highly toxic protein and one bean can kill a man and four beans can kill a horse, so I will rid my yard of such a plant just to be safe. If a bean can kill one of us, I’d bet a serious chew from a puppy or dog could be fatal.

Also, the new thing in the garden circle is cocoa nibs that smell like chocolate, the dogs are attracted to it and will eat it. It can cause many problems including death, stick to our regular mulch to be on the safe side.

Do not let your dog swim in stagnant water or any water that you are not sure is free of contamination.

Dogs are like children, they are very curious and attracted to things because they smell good. If it smells good, it must taste good, and therein lies the problem.

All dogs are at risk when it comes to chewing or swallowing a toxic or occlusive object, especially older dogs and young puppies. It’s a good idea to “proof” your home by keeping things out of your dog’s reach, and when you’re outdoors, a watchful eye can prevent any mishaps.

Invest in an emergency first aid kit for your dog. It should contain:

– a fresh bottle of hydrogen peroxide (3%) to induce vomiting

– a turkey baster or a large syringe to administer the peroxide into the dog’s mouth

– saline eye solution

– Artificial tear gel to lubricate the eyes after rinsing

– forceps (tweezers) for removing stings

– muzzle to protect yourself from biting caused by fear or excitement

– Mild grease-cutting dishwashing liquid for washing skin after any contamination

– a can of your pet’s favorite liquid food

– Pet carrier

Keep your veterinarian’s phone number posted near your phone and also keep the ASPCA Poison Control number listed at 888-426-4435 (there is a fee for this service.) The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Web site has an alphabetical list of the most common plants, with information on their safety.

If at any time you think your pet has ingested a toxic substance, call your veterinarian immediately. Time is of the essence and the life you save will be your pet’s.

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