We share so much with our pets, our house, our bed and our food, that we sometimes forget that they are dogs and cats and their physiology, and psychology are different than ours. Their are a few food items that we can eat, but our four legged friends cannot, as the owners of Sparky discovered last night.
Dad was treating himself to some chocolate covered raisins, and left the bag sitting on the couch when he went out on an errand. When he returned, the bag of raisins was consumed by Sparky, a rat terrier. Both chocolate and raisins are considered toxic to pets, and Sparky spent the night in the ER.
The top five common toxins ingested by dogs and cats include:
- Rodenticides (mouse and rat bait)
- Ethylene Glycol (anti-freeze)
- Metaldehyde (slug bait)
Ingestion of these items warrants a trip to your veterinarian for decontamination and treatment.
The top ten human medications that commonly poison our pets are:
- NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs): These are common pain-relieving medications we all keep around the house. Whether you refer to them by brand name (Aleve®, Advil®, Motrin®) or by generic (ibuprofen, naproxen), these medications are very dangerous to pets.
- Antidepressants: As we begin to understand more of how chemical imbalances can affect our moods and our mental stability, an increasing number of Americans are now taking these drugs. Examples include: Effexor®, Wellbutrin®, Prozac®, and Zoloft®.
- Acetaminophen: One of the most common pain relievers in North America, Tylenol® may be great for us, but it can be deadly to cats. Dogs are also affected, but often not to this extreme. Dogs can experience liver damage and occasionally red blood cell damage. A single extra strength Tylenol® has been known to kill cats.
- Methylphenidate: This medication is used for treating attention-deficit, hyperactivity disorder. Like antidepressants, it is all too common in North American households, especially where children are present. Ritalin® is an example of a medication containing methylphenidate. Methylphenidate is also supplied as time release patches.
- Fluorouracil: This anti-cancer drug is used to treat minor skin cancers in humans. Discarded cotton swabs used to apply this medication are a prime source of pet poisonings.
- Isoniazid: First line tuberculosis drug with a very narrow margin of safety. Extremely dangerous to dogs. Dogs will have serious seizures and then enter a stuporous state. Toxic doses: Five 300 mg tablets are fatal to a 10 lb dog.
- Anti-diabetic medications: Glipizide (GlucotrolR) gliclazide, and glyburide (MicronaseR) belong to a class of drugs known as sulphonylureas. These tablets work by stimulating the pancreas to produce more insulin. Medications like glipizide and glyburide can cause sudden and major drops in blood sugar of pets.
- Vitamin D derivatives: Calcipotriene (Dovonex®) is a form of Vitamin D used topically to treat psoriasis. It is available in ointments or solutions.
- Pseudoephedrine: This very popular decongestant is found in a variety of cold and sinus products (Dimetapp®, Sudafed®, etc). It is also a common ingredient as a precursor for methamphetamine. Ma Huang is used as an herbal weight loss aid and is also toxic to our pets.
- Baclofen: Baclofen is used to treat muscle symptoms caused by multiple sclerosis and spinal disorders, including spasm, pain and stiffness.
The Top Toxic Plants
- Castor Beans
- Cyad Palms (Sago palms)
- Tulips and Daffodils
- Autumn Crocus
- English Ivy
- Peace Lily
The Top Toxic Foods
- Moldy Foods
- Macadamia Nuts
- Rising Bread Dough (Yeast)
- Grapes and Raisins
- Xylitol (Sugar substitute)
Other toxicities that can occur are with improper use of flea and tick medications, insecticides, ant and roach bates, glow sticks, toilet bowl drop-ins, silica gel packets and zinc pennies (pennies minted after 1982).
In the event of ingestion of these substances, contact Pet Poison Helpline or your veterinarian.
I hope you find this information useful
Debra Garrison, DVM