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Toxicity Awareness Month

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August is Toxicity Awareness Month! At Tej Dhaliwal Vet Group, we want to help keep your pet safe and prevent frightening experiences with potential toxins found within your home and garden.

There are many potential pet toxins in our homes – some that may seem harmless to us since we consume them without any ill-effects, but can cause serious consequences in our pets, while others may seem more obvious, but can be consumed by our curious pets if we’re not careful.

Chocolate. While chocolate is a welcome teat for many people, it’s off limits for pets as it can make them quite ill. Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine – both of which are toxic to cats and dogs. The darker the chocolate, the more danger it poses. While you may enjoy salted dark chocolate, don’t leave it lying around – as little as 1 ounce can cause toxic effects in a mid-sized dog or cat. Signs of chocolate toxicity include vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, and restlessness. In severe cases, seizures and heart failure can occur. If you suspect your pet has eaten chocolate, call Tej Dhaliwal Vet Group right away. It’s an emergency and your pet needs immediate care.

Grapes, raisins, onions, and garlic. While popping grapes and raisins into your dog’s mouth may seem like a fun Instagram video, these foods are poisonous to both dogs and cats. Even small amounts of grapes or raisins can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and possibly acute kidney failure. Any plant belonging to the onion family (e.g., onions, chives, leeks, garlic, and even ornamental plants in the allium family) are poisonous to both cats and dogs. Signs of onion and garlic poisoning include nausea, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, and collapse. If your pet has eaten these food items, contact us immediately.

Xylitol. Xylitol has gained popularity as a sweetener in many candies, sugar-free gum, baked goods, and even peanut butter! Peanut butter is often recommended as a distraction when trimming dogs’ nails, giving him a bath, or to administer medication with – be sure to check the label and ensure that xylitol is not in the ingredient list. While xylitol is completely safe for human consumption, it is extremely toxic to dogs. Even small amounts can cause low blood sugar, seizures, liver failure, and even death. Signs of xylitol poisoning develop within 15 minutes of consumption and may include vomiting, weakness, lack of coordination, tremors, seizures, and coma. The most recent research shows that xylitol is not known to be toxic to cats, but err on the side of caution and keep all xylitol-sweetened treats away from dogs and cats. If your pet shows any of the above signs, you need to call Tej Dhaliwal Vet Group right away. Your pet needs immediate critical care as this is an emergency.

Medications. Over the counter (OTC) and prescription medications can be lethal to pets, even in small amounts. Acetaminophen (such as Tylenol®), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as Advil® or Motrin®), prescription ADD/ADHD medications, and human antidepressants all make “the top ten” list of pet poisonings. They have different effects on dogs and cats, but all of them are serious and can be fatal. It is important to keep these medications in closed containers, and out of reach of curious pets. Remember, child-proof does not mean pet proof! It is easy for pets to chew open containers that seem appealing to them. Never leave medication loose in your pockets, purse, or backpack – a curious pet can easily consume loose pills. If you think your pet has consumed any medication, contact us at Tej Dhaliwal Vet Group. Your pet needs immediate critical care as this is an emergency.

Plants. Know your plants! Some plants can be toxic to your pet. As mentioned above, ornamental alliums, chives, and onions are toxic to cats and dogs. Lilies are especially toxic to cats, causing kidney failure – even the water left in the pot’s saucer is toxic. Do research before bringing plants into your home! At Tej Dhaliwal Vet Group, we can help advise you on plants that are safe to have in your home.

Rodenticides. Rodenticides, such as warfarin, are used to kill mice, rats, and other rodent pests. They contain anticoagulants that cause blood clotting disorders or kidney failure. All rodenticides are toxic and potentially lethal if your pet consumes enough of it. While keeping rodent pests out of your home, garage, shed, and yard is of course desirable, it’s important to use protective bait stations and understand that rats will sometimes move bait from a protected bait station to an area that is accessed by your pet. If you suspect your pet has consumed rodenticides, seek immediate care by calling Tej Dhaliwal Vet Group right away. It’s an emergency and your pet need immediate care.

Snail and slug bait. Gardeners despise snails and slugs on their prized Hostas or burrowed into the centre of their lettuce! While snail and slug baits containing metaldehyde work wonders in controlling these garden pests, as little as 28 grams (1 oz) of bait can be toxic to a 4.5 kg (10 lb) pet. While the action of toxicity in pets is not understood, consumption of these baits can be fatal. Initial signs include vomiting which progresses to neurologic signs including ataxia (wobbly gait), stiff gait, racing heart, and increased respiratory rate. Muscle tremors, seizures, and loss of consciousness will follow several hours later. if your pet shows any of these signs contact Tej Dhaliwal Vet group immediately.

Be prepared! Your pet can be crafty and may get into something despite your efforts to keep him safe. At Tej Dhaliwal Vet Group, we’re open 6 days a week and are equipped to handle emergency situations. Please call us to let us know you’re coming. This allows us to be ready to care for your pet. If you think that your pet has consumed a toxin, don’t wait to see if symptoms develop – take immediate action and call us at 1 866 209 1001.