HOUSEHOLD DANGERS & TOXINS
The Following is just a PARTIAL LIST
For a complete list please visit AMVA Pet Poison Guide
|This page contains lots of info. You may want to print it out.|
Did you know that there are substances in your home that are poisonous to your pet? You can easily find all of these products in stores. In fact, pet owners buy and use them regularly. But by reading labels; keeping informed of what substances are dangerous; and keeping these products out of your pet's reach, you can substantially reduce the chances that your dog or cat will become poisoned. Flea and tick control products can cause serious toxic reactions when misused. This includes shampoos, sprays, dips and formulas that treat the environment. Symptoms of poisoning may appear 1 to 6 hours after exposure and include muscle tremors, vomiting, excessive salivation and difficulty in breathing. Make sure to follow manufacturer's instructions when using flea and tick control products on your pets. Never use a formula that's meant for dogs on your cat, and vice versa.
Rodent killers are also toxic to dogs and cats, especially if your pet has been exposed on more than one occasion. Pets who eat rats and mice who have ingested rodenticide can also be affected. Symptoms may develop 1 to 5 days after ingestion and include weakness, weak pulse and internal bleeding. Over-the-counter drugs also pose a threat to your pet. The painkiller acetaminophen, to which cats are especially sensitive, can cause liver failure within 1 to 3 days. A toxic reaction to the anti-inflammatory drug ibuprofen can cause vomiting and loss of muscle coordination. High doses can be fatal. And aspirin can be dangerous if ingested, depending on the dosage and your pet's species. Do not keep plants in your home that could be poisonous to your pet. English ivy, for example, may cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity and coma. After ingesting just a nibble of a tiger lily, a pet can start vomiting within minutes. If not treated, kidney damage can occur in 12 hours. Many other plants can cause harm to your animal companion if eaten. Toxicity varies between species, so check with your veterinarian if you are not sure if a particular plant is safe or not.
In most cases of household poisoning, early detection and treatment increase the chances of complete recovery. If you think your pet may have been poisoned, note what he has eaten and how much, the estimated time of ingestion and any problems he is experiencing. Immediately call your veterinarian or have the telephone operator call the poison control center .
Nose and Mouth Cancers are becoming more prevalent because of animals sniffing and eating items off the floor. Try to use natural product to clean floor and remember not to use insecticides around pets and when you do use toxic substances wipe floor surfaces after with a natural cleaner. Steam mops are the best way to clean any surface and keep both your pet and family safe from floor toxins/germs.
Also remembering if you smoke- so does your pet- you not only are damaging YOUR health but your pets. Consider quitting for the both of you!
|An important number to have on hand - ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888) 426-4435|
Flea and Tick Collars: Some are safer than others. Read all info before using and avoid all Hartz flea products (read here). Other collars may be fine on one pet but if they are playing with another animal and the other pet grabs the collar with it's mouth during play it maybe poisoned! Use any type of chemicals with caution! Please visit our page on Flea products.
Plastic Bowls- Painted Ceramic Bowls always put water in STAINLESS STEEL or CLEAR GLASS BOWLS (made in the USA or EUROPE - not made in CHINA). Avoid plastics and ceramic! Plastic deteriorates no matter how often you clean or change water. Research shows that when plastic containers, such as cups and dishes are filled with water or other liquids that they will gradually dissolve. This could be hazardous to your pet's health. (from Dr. Michael Fox's column in the NY post) DO NOT BY STAINLESS FROM CHINA - note: Stainless steel bowls from Petco - recall - RADIATiON! - http://www.petco.com/petco_page_pc_stainlessbowlnotice.aspx
Painted Ceramic Bowls can be dangerous leaking lead toxins into your pets food or water. This is a tip for PEOPLE TOO! Best to use WHITE or clear glass. Never 'colors'! If the OUTSIDE of the bowl is color it's fine but not the INSIDE. Even if 'glazed' the lead or toxins from paint and colors can get into the food and water. Lead is found also found in the fired on glaze. If you want to eliminate the possibility of having lead glaze--buy bowls that are not glazed.
Glass plates, cups, etc. that do not have any painted or decal-like decorating will not have lead.
Stoneware which is heavy and has a low shine is usually coated with a non-lead material. If the dishes have painted or decal-like decorations, or a bright glossy glaze there is the potential for lead. The low shine, non painted, no decal stoneware dishes are almost as lead-free as glass.
There is china that is glossy but made with lead free glazes and pigments. Ask the seller and if they don't know call the manufacturer.
High Risk Items:
Old China - Handed down from previous generations. Be sure to test any cracked or chipped areas.
Homemade or Handcrafted China - From U.S. or abroad, check to see if the manufacturer uses lead-free glaze or high temperature, commercial type firing practices.
Highly Decorated Multi-Colored "Inside" Surfaces - High levels of lead are typically found in brightly colored glazes.
Decorations on Top of the Glaze - Can you feel the decoration when you rub your fingers on the surface? Can you see the brush strokes showing that decoration was painted on?
Corroded Glaze - A dusty or chalky residue on the glaze after the piece has been washed. This is extremely dangerous and should never be used to serve food in or drink.
TESTING: Consider buying a testing kit if you want to continue to use this type of bowl.
- Store food or drink in a lead-containing ceramic pitcher or bowl.
- Store highly acidic foods in questionable china.
- Questionable pieces of china should not be used in your everyday routine
- Questionable pieces should not be heated in the microwave oven because the heat can accelerate the lead leaching process.
Cleaning Products: Nose and Mouth cancers are becoming more prevalent because of animals sniffing and eating items off the floor. Try to use natural products to clean floors etc. and remember not to use insecticides around pets and when you do use toxic substances wipe floor surfaces after with a natural cleaner. We love ECOVER floor soap about $4 for 32oz and it lasts forever - about 10 times longer than a regular cleaner! Dr. Bronner is also excellent and also very concentrated. We don't recommend SWIFFER fluid (all chemicals) and make our own spray solution with Ecover.
We spray our mix on the floor and then mop up with swiffer/or swiffer type pads. Try it you will LOVE IT - cleans great, beautiful clean scent and chemical free! We also love the Ecover all purpose cleaner. Some supermarkets now carry it, if not go to your local health store.
Better than ALL the above, get a 'steam mop'! Works on all surfaces and sanitizes all with the power of water!
Want to make a non toxic glass cleaner? Mix 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar + 1 tsp. liquid dish detergent - 4 cups of water, mix up in a spray bottle. You will have glistening glass tables and window! No ammonia!
AIR FRESHENERS are so bad we've dedicated a page to it. Please see our AIR FRESHENERS page.
The hazards of Aspirin and Ibuprofen generally a buffered (or enteric coated) aspirin is good for your dog if it's got a sprain or to relieve arthritis pain. However if your dog is taking prescription meds it can be very dangerous to mix the two. So please check with your vet.
When we aren't feeling so well, we reach for something like aspirin or Tylenol, or ibuprofen (NSAIDS or non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), so why not give kitty a bit to help her out? Many well meaning pet owners do just that, and end up poisoning their pets!
Tylenol (acetaminophen) and Ibuprofen toxicity is due to an active metabolite made by the liver from the drug. This metabolite causes severe damage to liver cells and red blood cells. Dogs tend to have more liver damage, whereas cat's red blood cells undergo a transformation of their normal oxygen carrying hemoglobin to a non functional form called methemoglobin. One Children's Tylenol tablet contains almost twice the toxic level for a normal sized cat per kilogram of body weight, and the adult size Tylenol has more than six times the toxic level!
The problem is more acute and life threatening in cats than in dogs (though by no means safe in your canine companion!). The signs in cats occur within one to two hours after ingestion and include salivation, vomiting, cyanotic gums, severe depression, dark colored urine and swollen face and paws. If your pet ingests Tylenol, get them to a veterinarian right away for emergency treatment.
Buffered or enteric coated Aspirin (salicylic acid) is in many cases given to dogs -but the dosage MUST be carefully calculated by your vet. Ibuprofen, is sometimes prescribed for dogs, in closely monitored doses, and should never be given to cats." ALSO NOT GIVE CATS ASPIRIN! Be careful of other home medications such as Pepto Bismol, it contains aspirin - so read your labels! Again, if your pet ingests aspirin in an over dosage, call your vet for treatment. Untreated overdoses can result in stomach ulcers, severe kidney damage, and liver disease. The same holds true for ibuprofen, which is never prescribed for pets. Be careful of accidental ingestion too, tablets like Advil are coated in a sweet tasting shell, and dogs may just eat them like candy if they are left around for an inquisitive pooch! (article courtesy of http://www.thepetchannel.com/)
Mike Richards, DVM (3/10/2001) wrote in his column on this topic:
Based on reactions in our canine patients, this is the ranking I would give these medications: safest acetaminophen (Tylenol tm), also safe aspirin, less safe ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin). However, this is the ranking that I would give them based on the reports in the literature and factoring in the likelihood of a bad reaction causing death: safest aspirin, also safe but less so acetaminophen and less safe ibuprofen. The reason for these rankings include these things. Aspirin is reasonably likely to cause gastric ulcers, which can be life threatening if ignored but which respond to withdrawal of the medication. Acetaminophen doesn't seem to cause ulcers but there are uncommon reactions to it in which liver failure occurs and this may not respond to therapy, so death is a possibility. Ibuprofen is very likely to cause ulcers, with 100% of dogs developing ulcers with the use of ibuprofen in at least one study. On the other hand, lots of my clients come in and tell me "I gave my dog an ibuprofen last night" and I have only had to treat one or two cases of ulcers and I can't recall a dog dying from this medication, yet. My personal preference for pain and fever in dogs is aspirin but we do warn our clients to discontinue the medication if the dog stops eating and to call us or come in for a recheck if that happens. In cats the situation is different. Acetaminophen is very toxic to cats and this medication should simply never be used to treat a cat. Aspirin has a long half life in cats, at least 24 to 48 hours, so it will reach toxic levels pretty quickly if it is given more frequently than once every 48 hours and the dosage is 10mg/lb so a baby aspirin (81mg) is a much more appropriate dosage for a cat than an adult aspirin. I have not seen much information on ibuprofen and cats but it is a good idea to avoid all non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications in cats, at least until one of them does prove to be safe in someone's clinical trials.
Pennyroyal (herb- natural insect repellent) is Toxic to cats and dogs and should not be used in powered or ground form. Animals lick themselves and would ingest enough of the substance to cause harm. Bunches of the dried herb can be used safely as an insect repellant--especially for mosquitoes. Just be sure to hang the herbs out of reach.
Benzocaine One of our list member's personal Bichons had a very bad reaction to this spray..and we wanted to share her ordeal with you, as it is common for dogs to react this way. If you spray Benzocaine on your dogs for itching, if they lick it off, it can cause problems...so be careful!!:) This is an excerpt from her letter
Snow Globes and other household items
You may think these are filled with SALT WATER, but they ALSO CONTAIN ANTI FREEZE. Should this break and your dog or cat lick just a drop it would mean death. PLEASE keep snow globe out of reach and in safe places. Better yet, don't keep snow globes in homes where you have pets!
Permanent Markers - Sharpie Pens
A dog named Striker died due to getting his tongue stuck in a paper shredder
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has recorded five dog mutilations involving shredders, and what is not known is how many cases go unreported. Some simple precautions can ensure that
accidents such as Striker's
do not happen again:
•Unplug shredders when not in use.
•Store shredders out of reach of animals (and, of course, children, especially those younger than 5).
•Make sure that the shredder is in a place that is "pounce proof": Acrobatic kitties that jump atop shredders can do terrible damage to themselves.
•Do not leave shredders on the "automatic" setting.
•When buying a shredder, look for one with a protective bar over the opening.
Lutz will e-mail
shredder safety fliers
to anyone who requests them
Since her last grooming she has been chewing in several places and causing
large ugly "hot spots". I think she is allergic to the whitening stuff they
use and previously I had asked them to stop using it since I noticed she was
itching a lot after grooming. That helped and there have been no problems
until this last grooming when I asked them to use it once more because she
was looking a bit dingy, and also I thought it would prove whether or not it
was this stuff causing the problem.
Well, she has been itching and as I said, chewing in different places. One
on her front paw, one on one of her rear paws, and one on her chest just
above a front leg where I thought she couldn't possibly reach! This morning
I found another scabby healed spot at the top behind one of her ears.
Anyway, Saturday night just before we went to bed, I decided to put something
on her leg to possibly discourage her from chewing on it and also that would
help heal it or prevent infection. I found some Americaine antibacterial
spray in my medicine closet and thought that would be good. STUPIDLY, I
didn't read the label. It contains 20% benzocaine and says it shouldn't be
Of course, after I was asleep, she continued to chew the spot. When I woke
up in the morning she was sleeping on my pillows above my head. I reached up
to pet her head and first thing I discovered was the pillow was wet like she
had been drooling a lot. Then when I looked, her gums were not white (which
I know is a bad sign), but pretty pale pink. (This is what happened once
when I first got her and she got into some chocolate). Then I started
thinking and went and read the label and knew it was from that.
I called the emergency animal hospital who weren't much help. I called the
Poison Control Center who also weren't too much help but said that it sounded
like Methemoglobinemia and the antidote should be given within one hour of
ingestion to be effective. Of course, it had already been ten or more hours.
The poison control center also told me that she could be vomiting and have
diarrhea and be lethargic. She was none of those things and seemed
perfectly happy and energetic except for the drooling and pale gums. My
third call to the poison control center a different lady told me that this
wouldn't cause pale gums, but rather BLUE gums. Well, they certainly weren't
The brand name on the one I have is AMERICAINE. Above that it says "Hospital
Formula". Beneath the Americaine it says "Benzocaine Topical Anesthetic
Spray". Below that it says "Maximum Strength 20% Benzocaine". Below that it
says "stops the pain and itch fast. For minor cuts, scrapes, burns and
The ingredients label says: ACTIVE INGREDIENT: Benzocaine 20%
OTHER INGREDIENTS: Isobutane (propellant). Polyethylene glycol 300, propane
The label also says: Warnings: For external use only. Avoid contact with
the eyes. If condition worsens, or if symptoms persist for more than 7
days, or clear up and occur again within a few days, discontinue use and
consult a physician. KEEP THIS AND ALL DRUGS OUT OF THE REACH OF CHILDREN.
In case of accidental ingestion, seek professional assistance or contact a
poison control center immediately.
Again, it is the Benzocaine ingredient that causes the problem. I would
imagine anything containing Benzocaine or anything ending with "caine" would
be a problem.
Protecting your animal companion from the dangers she could face outdoors begins in your own backyard. Could your pet be facing enemy territory every time she steps outside? By taking the following simple, but important, precautions, you can ensure that your backyard is always a safe haven. The first line of defense is an escape-proof fence. It should be high and sturdy. If there are any gaps under your gates or hedges, you may need to use fine wire-mesh at ground level to keep your dog from crawling or digging his way out.
Letting your cat explore outdoors is recommended only if you are there to supervise her in a well-fenced-in area. A sudden loud noise, or simply seeing a dog walk by, may cause her to bolt-which could end in heartbreak, especially if you live near a busy road or highway. To keep your feline in the yard, you can purchase a cat-proof add-on for your fence.
You'll also need to conduct a plant check. Many garden plants and trees can be harmful to pets if ingested. Some of these include holly, rhododendron, lily-of-the-valley, yew, clematis, ivy, columbine and hemlock. Some species may be more, or less, toxic to dogs than cats, so it's a good idea to find out if a tree or flower is safe for your pet before you plant it. Also remember to keep flower bulbs out of reach of curious dogs and cats. (Click here for a complete list of toxic plants)
To prevent your pet from eating something she shouldn't, make sure your garbage cans are secured with tamper-proof lids. It's a good idea to keep them in a cupboard or shed. Insecticides and rodenticides should be kept in a locked shed or garage; this goes for paint, oil, gasoline, other dangerous chemicals and sharp tools as well. And remember to use common sense if you have just applied weed killer to your lawn or other toxic chemical or fertilizer to the plants in your garden. Your pet could be exposed to these potentially harmful substances simply by walking through an area where these products have been applied and then licking his paws.
And antifreeze, while essential to a car's cooling system, may be very dangerous to your pets if they are exposed to it. Be sure to clean up any spills from your vehicle immediately, and consider switching to a propylene glycol-based antifreeze such as Prestone Low Tox, which provides an added margin of safety for pets and wildlife. Prestone Low Tox is significantly less toxic than conventional ethylene glycol antifreeze, but remember - no antifreeze is absolutely safe. As with any household chemical, safe use and disposal of antifreeze is essential.
If you suspect your dog or cat has ingested poisonous plant material, antifreeze, insecticide or other dangerous chemicals, call your veterinarian or have your operator call the poison control center.