7 Steps To Prevent Accidental Poisoning In Dogs

Every year people lose a beloved dog to some kind of accidental poisoning. In most cases that poisoning could be prevented if the pet owner used reasonable care with certain products around the home.

Various medications made for people have resulted in dog illness and death.

Medications such as:

  • NSAIDS ( i.e. advil, motrin),
  • Acetaminophen ( i.e.Tylenol)
  • Antidepressants
  • ADD/ADHD medications ( i.e.Ritalin, concerta,)
  • Benzodiazepines (xanax,ambien)
  • Birth control
  • ACE inhibators (i.e. zestril or Altace,)
  • Beta blocker (i.e. Teprol, coreg)
  • Thyroid hormones
  • Cholesterol lowering agents, are just some of the many medications that can harm your dog.

While these are the most common medications that vets see in dog poisoning cases, any human medication may prove deadly to your dog.

Following these 7 steps to keep your medications out of your dogs reach and prevent accidental poisoning will result in less worry for you and a safer, healthier life for your dog.

  1. Always keep medications tightly closed and high up out of the reach of your dog. Even the best behaved dog likes to explore and finding that plastic medicine bottle may well look like a chew toy to him.
  2. Never medicate your dog with a human medication unless specifically advised by your Veterinarian and then only use the recommended dose and only for the condition it is prescribed. If in doubt contact your vet and double check.
  3. Don’t assume because a medication is safe for a child it is safe for your dog. Pets metabolize medications far differently than humans and something that may be mild and harmless for a child may be deadly to your pet.
  4. Don’t leave loose pills of any kind in a zip lock bag. The pills showing through the bag are an invitation to your dog to explore and zip locks are easy to rip open. Again keep medications in safe containers and out of your dogs reach. Encourage guests in your home to also keep their medications high up or locked in their suitcases.
  5. If you store your medications in a weekly pill container,make sure that this container as well as the medicine bottles are out of your dogs reach.
  6. Never store medications for your pet along side your medications. Having a separate place for your pet’s medications will prevent any accidental mix up.
  7. Always hang your purse up even if you aren’t carrying medications it is a great habit and dogs can get sick from cosmetics as well so it is better to be safe than sorry.

By keeping all medications out of your pets reach you can help keep your beloved dog safe and reduce the risk of accidental poisoning greatly. If your pet does ingest any human medication either over
the counter or prescription, please call your veterinarian or the Pet Poison helpline immediately.

The Helpline’s 24 hour number is (888) 426-4435.

Keeping the helpline number posted prominently near the phone may save your dogs life in an emergency.

Download your free Pet Poison Guide from the ASPCA

Common Toxins in Pets

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:

  1. Chocoloate
  2. Rodenticides (mouse and rat bait)
  3. Ethylene Glycol (anti-freeze)
  4. Metaldehyde (slug bait)
  5. Marijuana

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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®.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Vitamin D derivatives: Calcipotriene (Dovonex®) is a form of Vitamin D used topically to treat psoriasis.  It is available in ointments or solutions.
  9. 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.
  10. Baclofen:  Baclofen is used to treat muscle symptoms caused by multiple sclerosis and spinal disorders, including spasm, pain and stiffness.

The Top Toxic Plants

  1. Azalea
  2. Rhododendron
  3. Lily
  4. Oleandar
  5. foxglove
  6. milkweeds
  7. Castor Beans
  8. Cyad Palms (Sago palms)
  9. Lily-of-the-Nile
  10. Squill
  11. Marijuana
  12. Mistletoe
  13. Amaryllis
  14. Tulips and Daffodils
  15. Cyclamen
  16. Kalanchoe
  17. Autumn Crocus
  18. Pothos
  19. Chrysanthemums
  20. English Ivy
  21. Scheffelera
  22. Peace Lily
  23. Yew

The Top Toxic Foods

  1. Chocolate
  2. Moldy Foods
  3. Onions
  4. Macadamia Nuts
  5. Avocado
  6. Rising Bread Dough (Yeast)
  7. Grapes and Raisins
  8. Tobacco
  9. Xylitol (Sugar substitute)
  10. Garlic

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 your veterinarian and the ASPCA Poison Center
800-426-4435

I hope you find this information useful