Beware: The Household Products That Can Kill Your Dog

By on June 29, 2012

Some owners hold onto a misconception that dogs will never eat or drink something that isn't good for them. They’re wrong. This is a myth. Dogs make the choice of what to eat or drink on what appeals to their nose. They have little or no concept if a substance is harmful or poisonous until they taste it, by which times it could be with deadly consequences.

toxic to dogs

Household products can prove fatal but knowing what to do in the event of an emergency could save your dog’s life. Dogs can expel rotten or toxic substances more quickly from their digestive systems than we can since their vomiting reflex is quicker than ours. The less time a substance stays in the system, the less chance it has to create ill effects.

Here we’ll outline some emergency treatments in the unfortunate event that your dog is poisoned.

Rat Poison: Rat poison can be found in the city and on the farm. Rats are everywhere. So is rat poison. Rat poison is designed to be attractive to rats and, unfortunately it’s attractive to dogs too. If your dog has ingested rat poison, call your vet immediately. Rat poison can cause your dog to bleed from his mouth, nose and rectal area. If not treated quickly, your dog can bleed to death. If your dog happens to eat a rat that has been poisoned, your dog can be affected depending upon the amount of poison the rat ingested. Play it safe by calling your vet immediately. Never leave it in the hope that the dog will somehow be able to sleep it off.

Household Cleaners and Disinfectants: If your dog has ingested household cleaners or disinfectants, then read the instruction label on the back to see if vomiting needs to be induced. You shouldn’t induce vomiting on certain products because this can irritate the oesophagus. You can induce vomiting by putting your finger down your dog's throat, if you are comfortable doing this. Otherwise, give your dog a hydrogen peroxide solution (one tablespoon per 30 pounds of your dogs body weight). Instructions on how to do this can be found later in this article but remember, all of these tips are designed to save your dog’s life in emergency situations where you absolutely can not get access to veterinary care.

House Plants: There are numerous household plants that are toxic for your dog. Some of the popular houseplants that are toxic include philodendrons, azaleas, rhododendron, Easter lilies, amaryllis, fox glove and Japanese lilies. Consult with your vet if you have any questions about house plants that you may have in your house.

Chocolate: Many vets get calls from panic-stricken owners who are educated enough to know that chocolate is toxic dogs and have discovered that their own pet has eaten a small chocolate bar. One small chocolate bar the size of say a Mars or Snickers bar is really not enough to hurt your dog. Your dog has to ingest quite a bit of chocolate to feel any negative effects. The caffeine and bromethalin in chocolate that is poisonous to your dog. Dark cooking chocolate is most toxic to dogs since it contains a higher amount of caffeine and bromethalin.

Anti-Freeze: Streets and garages can prove the perfect home for collections of small puddles of anti-freeze. The winter months are guaranteed to see anti-freeze use increase and we all know how easy it is to spray it all over the place. Licking anti freeze, even a small amount, can be quite lethal. Just a teaspoon is enough to kill a small dog, so it doesn't take more than a few laps. Dogs really like the sweet taste; they have been known to chew through plastic containers that hold anti-freeze. Take the precaution and store anti-freeze in areas where your dog can't easily get to it. On the street, keep your eye out for it, especially in late fall and winter, and use the "Leave it" command to keep your dog away from it. Ethylene glycol is the toxic chemical in anti-freeze. If your dog has ingested even a small amount, call your vet immediately.

As an emergency measure give your dog some bread to absorb the anti-freeze, your vet will most probably try to induce vomiting and if the anti-freeze is partially absorbed, it can help. In an extreme emergency, if it is absolutely impossible to get to a vet and you believe your dog’s life is in immediate danger, you can use the following remedy for anti-freeze poisoning: Induce vomiting in your dog by giving them hydrogen peroxide.

The rule of thumb is one tablespoon per 30 pounds of your dog's body weight. Remember, this is for extreme emergency where you believe your dog could die and you absolutely can not get professional help. Hydrogen peroxide can be given by pulling up the fold at the side of his mouth and squirting the solution into his mouth with a syringe.

Once vomiting has occurred, make your dog a Bloody Mary - a shot of vodka and tomato juice. In fact, any alcoholic drink (gin, vodka) will do the trick. The alcohol ties up the ethylene glycol so it doesn't precipitate into the kidneys. Give your dog one mixed drink per hour until you can get to a vet's office. For smaller dogs, use a half a shot of alcohol. Again, this treatment should only be given when you absolutely can't get to a vet's office. And under no other circumstances, except for anti-freeze poisoning, should dogs be given alcoholic beverages.

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