13 Things You Never Suspected Could Poison Your Pet

These could poison your petAccidental poisonings are one of the most common reasons pets are rushed to the veterinarian. Unbeknownst to many pet parents, lurking around the home are many substances toxic to pets. Almost every room contains some seemingly innocuous poison, so it’s important to be aware and appropriately pet-proof your house.

Watch for these symptoms of accidental poisoning in dogs and cats:

  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Excessive drooling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness and lethargy
  • Seizures

If you suspect your pet has ingested a toxin, call your local emergency vet clinic or a pet poison hotline. An operator will guide you through any necessary at-home treatment, such as inducing vomiting, and determine if your pet requires medical care. Never hesitate to contact the professionals if you’re unsure – better safe than sorry.

1. Ibuprofen

(Dcoetzee / Wikimedia Commons)

Ibuprofen reduces inflammation in dogs, but can also cause death.

Pets in pain may be prescribed small doses of ibuprofen by a veterinarian. Although ibuprofen is a minor medication to humans, even a small amount can have deadly consequences for dogs, and cats in particular.  Never administer any medical treatment to your pet without instruction from a professional. Pets’ bodies are built differently, and small animals are more susceptible to ibuprofen toxicity: the smaller the the pet, the smaller the lethal dose, too.

Too much ibuprofen for dogs and cats results in a damaged stomach lining and potentially kidney failure. Watch for vomiting or diarrhea – often containing blood – as well as loss of appetite and fatigue. Untreated, blood loss will eventually cause fainting and death. Keep ibuprofen in pet-proof containers out of paws’ reach; add a locked medicine cabinet to the protective measures if you’ve got a real troublemaker on your hands.

2. Houseplants


Before you bring that bouquet of spring blooms home, check that it’s cat-friendly!

Indoor plants are a common cause of accidental poisoning, especially for felines. Curiosity can kill a cat, especially if the flora is consumed in secret; successful treatment depends on identifying how much and how recently the toxin was eaten. Lilies can shut down a cat’s kidneys within hours, quickly followed by death. Irritation and swelling of the mouth and muzzle are the primary symptoms of plant poisoning in pets, along with excessive drooling and itching of visibly irritated skin.

If your pet shows a penchant for consuming blooms, you may have to mark anniversaries and other special occasions with less flowery displays. Many plants poisonous to cats appear in bouquets, like chrysanthemum, peony and primrose. Even the foliage and greenery included with many arrangements can be toxic: eucalyptus, boxwood, foxtail, ivy and magnolia are toxic to both dogs and cats.

3. Grapes and Raisins

Keep the trail mix and fruitcake out of pets’ paws! While the exact toxin has yet to be identified, vets are clear that grapes and raisins are poisonous to pets. Sudden kidney failure can arise, although symptoms depend on how much was ingested. Pay attention to your pet’s urine output and frequency of urination as well, both indicators of kidney health.

Act quickly to save your pet’s life – once toxins are absorbed into the body’s bloodstream, the only course of treatment is to flush them out. Activated charcoal or hydrogen peroxide may be recommended for use by your vet, but never administer any substances without professional instruction! Hospitalization is typically required to intravenously re-hydrate the animal and monitor kidney function. Pets who survive grape or raising poisoning may need dialysis to support their kidneys during recovery.

4. Human Prescription Meds


Use child locks on drawers and cabinets to keep nosy pups out of human prescriptions.

Over 50% of Americans are now taking at least one prescription medication, with the results a rise in pet poisonings. The Pet Poison Hotline reports that half of its calls involve an over-the-counter or prescription medication for humans. Dogs can chew through bottles to access pills or liquids, in addition to opening cabinets and drawers unprotected by child locks.

Antidepressants can overstimulate animals’ nervous system, causing seizures, sedation, shaking and elevated heart rate. Human medications used to treat ADD/ADHD have similar effects when ingested by pets, especially those containing amphetamines. Sleeping aids can prove fatal if eaten in even minimal amounts, as they disproportionately affect pets’ smaller bodies. Treatments for human heart conditions, including ACE inhibitors and beta blockers, may lead to dangerous drops in blood pressure if consumed by dogs.

Take small steps to reduce your pet’s risk of prescription medication poisoning! Keep all pills in secure containers rather than plastic baggies, which are easily torn or chewed up. If you use a weekly pill sorter, avoid leaving it on your bedside table or bathroom counter where it’s easily accessible to curious paws. Same goes for purses and backpacks if they contain meds.

5. Spring Flower Bulbs


Fido can look, but no touching! Many spring flowers like tulips are toxic to dogs.

Winter weather can erode the topsoil in flower beds, exposing bulbs planted last fall. Dogs may also dig them up, although bulbs prove a not-so-tasty snack that results in nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Hyacinth and daffodil bulbs have an outer coating of crystals that irritate the mouth, causing excessive drooling. If eaten whole or in large amounts, irregular heartbeat and breathing can arise; in this case, visit your nearest emergency vet for treatment.

Avoid ruining your garden – and your dog’s day – by planting at a depth two to three times’ the bulb’s height. Tulips and daffodils are typically best buried six inches deep, while smaller spring blooms may lie only three or four inches below the surface. Don’t leave your dog outdoors unsupervised, and consider investing in a dog run or fence system to protect your plants and pet.

6. Bread Dough


The yeast in raw bread dough will continue to rise in a dog’s stomach if eaten, causing dangerous bloating.

If there’s a baker in your household, bread dough toxicosis is a seemingly random but very real threat. Many homemade baked goods contain yeast, a fungus responsible for the “rising” process. This occurs through a chemical reaction, as the yeast feeds on flour and sugar, releasing bubbles of carbon dioxide that are captured in the sticky dough. A rising loaf is typically left out on the counter, vulnerable to inquisitive paws.

After a dog deviously devours your loaf-to-be, it continues to rise inside the stomach – a warm, oxygen-free environment is perfect for promoting expansion. Unfortunately for pets, this poses two problems. The most obvious issue is of space: an inflating wad of dough quickly brings a dog’s stomach to capacity. Bloating increases risk of gastric-dilatation volvulus (GDV), or stomach twisting and rupture, especially in large breeds of dog. Another complication caused by bread dough is alcohol poisoning; as the yeast ferments, it releases ethanol as a byproduct.

7. Coins

Zinc is present in many metal U.S. currencies, as well as other small objects like screws. If a pet chomps on some spare change – especially pennies – zinc poisoning can result. Entering the bloodstream through the stomach, zinc destroys red blood cells and damages the liver, heart and kidneys. Without removal, coins can also cause intestinal obstructions in dogs.

Look for unusual symptoms like yellowed or pale gums and discolored urine, indicators of liver and kidney damage. A penny quickly becomes very expensive, requiring emergency treatment to remove endoscopically as well as fluids to support damaged kidneys. Zinc is a very corrosive metal, and medications are often needed post-poisoning to “coat” and protect the stomach. If your dog has developed anemia, an iron deficiency, blood transfusions may be required as well.

8. Flea and Tick Medications


Felines’ meticulous – and mutual – grooming exacerbates the effects of flea and tick medication poisoning.

Preventative flea and tick medications fall into two categories: all-natural Pyrethrins and synthetic Pyrethroids. Plants from the pyrethrum species, such as Chrysanthemums, provide the basis for Pyrethrin flea medicines. Pyrethroids are artificially created but longer-lasting and often stronger. There are numerous benefits to warding off fleas and ticks, vectors of misery and disease, but apply too much of a good thing and the outcome can be disastrous for pets.

Cats in particular are susceptible to flea and tick medicine poisoning because of their smaller size, fluffier coats, and extensive grooming habits. A common mistake pet parents make is using products designed for dogs on felines, leading to an overdose. Mild reactions to flea and tick medications include excessive drooling, flicking paws or ears, vomiting and diarrhea. In more serious cases, muscle twitching or tremors, hives, excessive itching, and difficulty breathing may be present. Work with your veterinarian to find the correct dosage of flea and tick preventative for your pet to prevent future poisoning!

(Flickr.com/sliceofchic)9. Nuts

Although their specific toxin is unknown, macadamia nuts can be deadly to dogs.

While there’s little evidence nuts are harmful for felines, as a rule dogs should generally avoid them. Peanuts are the one exception, although their high fat and fiber can still cause gastrointestinal upset. Other kinds of nuts, including almonds, cashews and pistachios, are not necessarily toxic but may lead to pancreatitis in dogs as part of a fatty diet.

Walnuts, hickory nuts and pecans are too large for dogs’ digestive systems, potentially creating intestinal blockages. Macadamia nuts, similar to grapes, are mysteriously toxic to dogs but can cause neurological issues like tremors and temporary paralysis. If your backyard has nut trees, keep Fido away from the fallings; consuming moldy walnuts or other types puts your pet at risk of consuming a neurotoxin originating in fungi.

10. Magnets

As veterinarian Dr. Eric Barchas notes, strong magnets can cause intestinal perforation in pets. “Weak ordinary refrigerator magnets are not necessarily any more dangerous than any other potential foreign body,” he wrote for Dogster. “The magnets I’m talking about in this post are so-called rare earth magnets. In particular, neodymium magnets are noted for the danger they pose to dogs.”

Magnets can also lodge in place inside the animal, obstructing gastrointestinal blood flow. Pieces of the intestines stuck between magnets wither and die, falling away and spilling their contents into the abdominal cavity. Bacterial infection soon sets in, with imminent treatment required; even with surgery, septic peritonitis has a 50% mortality rate for canines. Even with emergency surgery, a pet requires multiple medications post-op to recover.

11. Sugar-Free Candy and Gum


A common sugar substitute, xylitol is present in many candies and gums.

These snacks contain xylitol, a sugar substitute lethal to pets in doses as small as two pieces of gum. (Other products like chewable vitamins, mouthwash, and toothpaste may also include xylitol; store them in your medicine cabinet and add a childproof lock for good measure.) Its use is on the rise in America, as it retains the sweetness of sucrose with only two-thirds the calories, making it perfect for “low calorie” diet foods.

Like with many other substances, pets are affected differently than humans. While xylitol may have a mild laxative effect initially in humans, in dogs and cats it lowers blood sugar to unsafe levels and can also cause liver damage. Hypoglycemia appears within 10 to 60 minutes of ingesting the xylitol, and the severity of effects depends on both your pet’s size and the brand of gum. Xylitol is 100 times more toxic than chocolate, according to VCA Animal Hospitals. Immediate hospitalization is required for a pet’s best prognosis.

12. Toads


Many species of toads are poisonous to dogs, like the Cane Toad.

While it may seem like more of an urban legend, toad poisoning in dogs is not going the way of the poinsettia anytime soon. If your pup has a penchant for pouncing on critters, stay away from swamps and other areas where toads congregate. The Colorado River Toad lives in – you guessed it – the southwestern U.S. and is active from May to August. Southern pet parents should be wary of Giant Toads, who also go by the nom de guerre Cane and Marine Toads. The Common and American Toads’ range extends along the East Coast as well, active in late spring to summer.

These amphibians secrete Bufotoxin, a powerful hallucinogen that dogs ingest when licking the toad’s back. Reports have even surfaced of pets becoming poisoned after a toad hops through their water bowl. If you spot the act in progress, immediately rinse out your dog’s mouth. Contact your veterinarian, who will tell you to look for symptoms of toad poisoning in dogs like foaming at the mouth, dark pink or red gums, and eye or nose irritation. As the toxin advances, seizures, paralysis and difficulty breathing present; care focuses on controlling symptoms, but the prognosis for this type of poisoning in pets is not often good.

(Flickr.com/90859240@N00)13. Glow Sticks

Ingredients in glow sticks, including a glass bead, can cause gastrointestinal and skin irritation in pets.

Tempting to felines especially, the signature ingredient in glow sticks is dibutyl phthalate. The bitter-tasting liquid irritates anything it comes into contact with – skin, eyes, nose, mouth, paws. Behavioral changes have also been noted, like hyperactivity, anxiety or aggression.

Some glow sticks contain glass capsules; if ingested these can do real damage to a cats intestines. Watch for blood in stool or vomit, an indicator emergency treatment is needed. Even if you’re sure your pet has only had external contact with the glowing dibutyl phthalate, a full-body bath is needed. Take your pet into a dark room and note areas where the liquid is present! When bathing, take care not to run off water into your pet’s eyes, mouth or nose.

This story was written by Taylor M. at

A family’s French Bulldog is at the center of their Lafayette, IN based company

Kate and Ryan Smith took the ideas that Kate had sketched back in 2008 and launched the From Frank Greeting Card line in 2011. They wanted the company to be based on Frank’s mission in life, “to make humans smile.”

“Once I got the look and the brand nailed down, it didn’t take long too long to write the captions (for the cards),” Kate said, and they started off by launching at a local store in their hometown of Lafayette. From there, Recycled Paper Greetings, a division of American Greetings, and Target stores took interest in the cards. By the summer of 2013, the From Frank line was in Target stores nationwide. In 2014, the brand expanded after receiving 11 licensees for products, which included t-shirts, coffee mugs, calendars, lottery tickets, party supplies, and pet products.

One of From Frank’s newest projects is a , “Don’t Fart When You Snuggle. Lessons on how to make a human smile.” Kate says that Frank and some of his friends together gathered up their tips and tricks on how to make humans smile. Residents in the Lafayette area will get the chance to meet Frank and purchase a “pawtographed” copy of his new book.

10 Tips to Keep Your Dog Healthy

Healthy dogs are happy dogs. Keep your best four-legged friends in top shape by following these 10 tips.

#1 – Wellness visits

Annual visits to your veterinarian are an important part of making sure your dog is healthy. Just as it’s important for humans to visit the doctor for an annual physical, taking your dog for an annual trip to the vet will allow your vet to get to know your dog and allows you the opportunity to discuss any changes in health.

#2 – Monthly preventatives

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease in dogs. Fleas and ticks carry zoonotic diseases – diseases that can infect both us and our dogs. Talk to your veterinarian about which monthly preventatives are necessary in your region to keep your dog safe.

#3 – Exercise daily

Dogs who exercise daily are happy dogs. Whether your routine is a walk, a run, or some quality time in the back yard playing fetch or another game, you’ll both benefit from the time together and from physical activity.

#4 – Vaccinations

Keep your dog up-to-date on his vaccinations and boosters. Speak with your veterinarian about vaccinations like Leptospirosis which is not a core vaccine, but recommended in some geographical areas. Just like monthly preventatives, keeping your dog up-to-date on his vaccinations will help prevent diseases and the spread of disease.

#5 – Socialize

Consider having your dog take the Canine Good Citizen test (CGC) where dogs are rewarded for having good manners at home and in the community. Monitor and encourage your dog to have friendly interaction / play with other dogs at a dog park or with friends who also have dogs.

#6 – Maintain a healthy weight

Obesity is one of the top issues seen by veterinarians in their clinics. When left untreated, obesity can lead to many other health issues in your dog. Proper exercise and a well-balanced diet are keys to keeping your dog fit and trim.

#7 – Brush those teeth

Often overlooked, dental and gum health is just as important for our dogs as it is for humans. Poor oral hygiene in dogs can lead to other health problems. Use a toothpaste specially designed for dogs and consider a professional cleaning if necessary.

#8 – Pet-Proof your house

Become familiar with potential toxins inside and outside your home – plants, medications, cleaning supplies, foods, etc. Be aware of items your dog might like to chew on and potentially ingest. Dogs are curious, and just like toddlers, sometimes they get into things they aren’t supposed to. Set boundaries and make sure hazards are out of reach. Keep the numbers to the Pet Poison Hotline and an emergency veterinarian handy. View our In An Emergency page for important phone numbers and websites.

#9 – Identification

Be sure your dog is microchipped or wears tags in case s/he is separated from you. Microchipping is the best way to insure your dog can be identified and returned to you.

#10 – Love!

Dogs enjoy being a part of the family and love us unconditionally. Include your dog in as many activities as you can – both around the house and on the road. Hug and play with your dog every day. It’s good for both of you!

This article was written by the AKC Canine Health Foundation, and posted on its .

What is Tick-Borne Disease?

FBDCA Tick TalkTick-borne disease occurs when ticks infected with a pathogen bite a dog and transmit the pathogen into the dog’s body. Many of these pathogens are zoonotic, meaning they can also infect humans. Disease is not spread between dogs and humans directly because these pathogens must complete their lifecycle phase within the tick to become infectious. So, while humans and other non-canine family members can also become infected, a direct tick bite is required to transmit disease.

The most common tick-borne diseases:

  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Anaplasmosis
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever
  • Hepatozoonosis
  • Babesiosis
  • Lyme disease

The feeding time required to allow disease transmission from a tick to a dog or person varies between ticks and disease agents. Ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever-causing bacteria can be transmitted within 3-6 hours of tick attachment, while Lyme Disease-causing bacterial transmission can require 24-48 hours of feeding before a host is infected.

10 Fast Facts

  • 6 major tick-borne diseases can affect dogs.
  • Tick-borne disease is found in all 50 states.
  • Specific diseases have regional prevalence.
  • Climate / weather patterns cause changes in prevalence of ticks.
  • Ticks are active 12 months a year.
  • 7 of 8 major tick species are known to carry infectious diseases that affect dogs.
  • Depression, lack of appetite, lack of energy, shifting leg lameness, fever, inflammation, spontaneous bruising are the most common symptoms.
  • Antibiotics, supportive care, and sometimes blood transfusion are the treatment options.
  • Some disease-carrying ticks can transmit disease in as little as 3 – 6 hours; some take 24 – 48 hours. The sooner a tick is removed, the less likely the dog will contract disease.
  • After your dog has been outside, thoroughly check him for ticks and remove them promptly.

Testing & Treatment

If your dog exhibits any behaviors out of the ordinary, visit your veterinarian. Testing for tick-borne disease is fast, effective, and saves money on medical care in the long run. Tick-borne disease can be treated effectively if caught early.

This article was written by the AKC Canine Health Foundation, and posted on its .

Jonah Hill has a new love of his life

JJonah Hill couldn’t be prouder of his new “adopted daughter” Carmela, his French Bulldog.

“She’s incredible. She’s the light of my life,” Jonah told Ellen Degeneres.

Jonah Hill has a new love of his life, his French Bulldog Carmela.

Carmela can do more than sit and stay, which she does do very well, but she won’t move until Jonah gives the command.

“If you walk around the room, and even throw treats on the floor, she won’t move until you say ‘OK,” the two-time Oscar nominee said. “I don’t want to brag, but she might be a genius.”

The beaming papa showed off his pictures of his little pup that included shots from set and in the arms of Carmela’s Uncle Chan-Man, Jonah’s 21 Jump Street co-star Channing Tatum.

“He was kind of helping me whip her into shape. And she respected her more than me,” Jonah said.

The Wolf Of Wall Street star took the more motherly role with his dog and allowed Channing to lay down the law.

“I’m like the mom who can’t disappoint her daughter. I’m like, ‘I love her too much,’ and Chan’s like the strong guy who makes sure things don’t go too bad,” he explained.

The actor spends every day with his “best friend” Carmela and now he never has to leave her behind. Ellen presented Jonah with cuff links and a bow tie with Carmela’s actual face imprinted on each.

Watch the Academy Awards on March 2 to see if Jonah wears his puppy-dog accessories and if he wins for Best Supporting Actor.

Bullseye’s new family

A traumatised French Bulldog with a deformed spine has finally found a home after a year in an RSPCA kennel. Bullseye, the Frenchie was discovered with 11 other dogs living in filth and badly malnourished in a home in Great Yarmouth, England last year. Two of the dogs, Bullseye and Skye, were sent to Woodside Animal Centre in Braunstone Frith, Leicester, and both have now been re-homed. Skye was the first to find a new owner and the RSPCA made an appeal in the Leicester Mercury on January 10 for a home for Bullseye.

Joff Musson and his partner Terri Welch, of Clarence Road, Hinckley, saw the story and got in touch with the charity. Joff, 24, said: “We already had a French bulldog called Coco and we’d been thinking about buying another. ”When I saw the story in the Mercury, I thought it would be a nice thing to do to give Bullseye a new home and he’s settling in really well. I picked him up about a week ago and he’s getting to know Coco. She’s a hyper little dog and it’s a funny combination because he’s very chilled out. It’s the first time we’ve got an animal from a rescue centre and we’re glad to give him a new home. He has a deformed spine but he seems fine. He’s just lazy.”

Nicola Cowton, who works at Woodside Animal Centre, said she was very happy to see Bullseye find a new home. She said: “It was great to find a home for Bullseye and the response to the Mercury article was very positive. He has medical problems and with the congenital spine problem it was important he had an owner who could look after him. He’s a lovely dog.”

Bullseye’s previous owners, meanwhile, have been prosecuted by the RSPCA and have now been banned from keeping dogs for 10 years.

For more information, visit: www.rspcaleicester.org.uk

Filed Under |

The Big Apple is big on Bulldogs

The American Kennel Club announced today that the Bulldog was the most popular dog breed in New York City in 2013, and the French Bulldog came in second. Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers round out the top five.

In 2012, the Lab was number one.

New Yorkers’ tastes in dogs differ a bit from the rest of the nation.

Nationally, the AKC says Labs remained the top dog last year, for a record 23rd year. That’s the longest any breed has spent in the top spot since the organization’s founding in 1884.

The Bulldog is the fifth most popular in the national rankings. The French Bulldog is the 11th.

The rankings reflect newly registered dogs, mostly puppies.

Filed Under |