by Miriam Kerins


Please Note.

The below article is written as a guideline and as an education/ information source only.  It is in no way intended to be used, nor should it ever be used, as a substitute for professional veterinary and/or dog training advice.  If you have any concerns regarding your animal's health or behaviour, please contact your local veterinarian, who is a professional; without delay.


Summer's here and you’re on a health kick. Good for you!  You’re avoiding those nasty toxins found in processed foods and deodorants; even your cooking utensils have been modified to reflect the more organic, fabulous you! Think you’re great, don’t you? And you are! But what about your pet? Let 'em ask you this. Did you know that on any given day your cat or dog is only a mouthful away from possible death? Surprised?


Let me explain.  Human medications, including dropped pills, have topped the list of pet toxins for the third year in a row, according to latest research; with over the counter medications containing ibuprofen and acetaminophen, anti-depressant medication and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder prescriptions topping the list.


Every year vets receive frantic ‘phone calls from pet owners who’ve left their own medication on a table, only to return some time later to find an  agitated and extremely ill animal, and several pills missing from the container.

There’s also the emergency calls that vets receive from those pet parents desperate for reassurance, when the always curious family cat or dog jumps into the wheelie bin containing a smorgasbord of household waste including batteries, broken glass, paper towels soaked in bleach used for cleaning the worktops etc., I mean, did you know, household waste poses a very large threat to any pet’s health.  Animals are naturally drawn to smelly rubbish; always in search of delicious scraps of human food.  You see, if you’re a dog, even a well fed one; anything that smells good gets munched.


So in order to try and help you keep your pet safe; please take a look at my list of just some of the most common poisons that have affected our four legged friends during the last year.


1. Insecticides: Commonly used on pets for flea control and often left around the house, readily available for dogs/cats to devour.


2. Rodenticides: Grain based bait used to destroy mice and rats. If ingested by cats and dogs, these can cause seizures, internal bleeding and kidney failure.


3. Human Food: Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs while onions and garlic can cause anaemia if enough is ingested. Some sweeteners and sugar free gum and mints can cause low blood sugar and liver failure in dogs.


4. Chewable Veterinary Medications: Common ones are medications for arthritis and incontinence; often flavoured for ease of administration but this means animals may ingest the entire bottle.  Always read the label!


5. Chocolate: This contains methylxanthines which act as a stimulant to your pet and can cause agitation, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle tremors, seizures and even death! Remember, the darker the chocolate, the more methylxanthines it contains.


6. Bisphenol A (BPA). Some plastic pet toys and feeding bowls can contain bisphenol A (BPA): This is a chemical that's possibly harmful to your own health and the health of your animals. Try using ceramic or stainless steel instead.


7. Plants: House and outdoor plants can be ingested by pets.  Lillies are lethal for causing life threatening kidney failure in cats while Sago Palms cause liver failure in both cats and dogs.  If you’re lucky enough to receive a bouquet…keep it away from your dogs.


8. Outdoor Toxins: Keep anti-freeze and fertilizers locked away in securely locked sheds.  I wouldn’t even recommend keeping them on high shelves, because, er, cats can climb!


9. Herbicides; or weed killers to you and me: These usually have a salty taste and pets love salt and will commonly ingest them.  Follow the instructions on the label and keep pets away from treated areas in your garden until they are thoroughly dried out.


10. Household Products: If you’re like me and sterilise everything till it’s pristine, then keep that bleach out of reach! Also, alkalis, acids and other detergents can cause corrosive injury to your pet’s mouth and stomach.  Then there’s the liquid pot pourri; a huge offender, so open a window and let some fresh air in if you want to kill those offensive odours!


As I said, the list above represents just a few of the unknown dangers lurking in our homes.  If you suspect your pet has swallowed or come into contact with something poisonous, then ring your vet immediately.


©  Miriam Kerins



Travelling with your pet

Keep pets safe during rising temperatures

Keep pets safe at Hallowe'en

The Christmas Countdown

Common pet poisons!

Do dogs sweat?

Why do some children abuse animals?

Pesky parasites

© Party For Animal Welfare