Household Hazards for Pets

Household Hazards for Pets – Miami Pet Hospital – Paws and Claws Medical Center

Now that Holidays are almost here, and with them comes all the joy, the toys, and all other nice things that this merry times of the year has to offer, for the pets come the time to get into things that they shouldn’t.

Pet owners are often tempted to offer their pet’s table scraps, candies and other tasty human foods as a special treat, treats that can be dangerously toxic to pets. Is very important that pet owners develop, as surrogate parents that they become to their adopted “children” , the basic knowledge about the do’s and don’ts with their pets so the family reunions, the parties and other joyful events do not end up with their pets at the veterinarian, taking its toll on their pets health and the family budget .
Some special interest must be taken in foods and spices like:

Moldy foods (Tremorgenic mycotoxins), which may induce muscle tremors, ataxia, and convulsions that can last for several days; pets with access to spoiled foods are more at risk.
Clinical signs include fine muscle tremors that may rapidly progress to more severe tremors and seizures. Death generally occurs in the first 2 to 4 hours and is usually secondary to respiratory compromise, metabolic acidosis or hyperthermia. Other signs that may be seen include vomiting (common) hyperactivity, depression, coma, behavior alterations, tachycardia, and pulmonary edema.

Unfortunately, dogs and cats are sensitive to Chocolate. Intoxication with chocolate can cause hyperactivity, increased heart rate, tremors, and potentially death.

Clinical signs occur within 6-12 hours of ingestion. Initial signs include polydypsia, bloating, vomiting, diarrhea, and restlessness. Signs progress to hyperactivity, polyuria, ataxia, tremors, seizures, tachycardia, PVC’s, tachypnea, cyanosis, hypertension, hyperthermia, and coma. Death is generally due to cardiac arrhythmias or respiratory failure. Hypokalemia may occur later in the course of the toxicosis. Because of the high fat content of many chocolate products, pancreatitis is a potential sequelae.
Management of chocolate ingestion includes decontamination via emesis followed by gastric lavage.

Pieces of onion, onion powder, or even cooked onion, can cause damage to red blood cells which could result in anemia in both dogs and cats.
Macadamia nuts may cause problems if ingested by dogs, signs commonly reported in dogs ingesting macadamia nuts include weakness, depression, vomiting, ataxia, tremors, and hyperthermia(high temperatures).

Ingestion of rising Paws and Claws Medical Center – Pet Clinic Miami – Poisonous pet foods could cost the life of your pet. The animal’s body heat will cause the dough to rise in the stomach expanding to several times its original size; also in the process alcohol is produced, adding to the risk of foreign object ingestion the risk of alcohol toxicity.

Grapes and raisins are known to cause kidney failure to dogs and cats.

Tobacco products contain varying amounts of nicotine with cigarettes containing 13-30 mg and cigars containing 15-40 mg. Butts contain about 25% of the total nicotine content. The oral LD50 in dogs is 9.2 mg/kg.
Signs often develop quickly (usually within 15-45 minutes) and include excitation, tachypnea, salivation, emesis, and diarrhea. Muscle weakness, twitching, depression, tachycardia, shallow respiration, collapse, coma, and cardiac arrest can follow the period of excitation. Death occurs secondary to respiratory paralysis.

Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar substitute found in many sugar-free gums, candies, and other foods, these products, causes rapid, life-threatening hypoglycemia (low sugar levels in the blood), liver failure and coagulation disorders.
Some other household hazards for pets that are cause of toxicities in cats and dogs are detailed below:

Ant and roach baits are common objects found in households. They are also referred to as hotels, traps, or stations. The most commonly in these baits are chlorpyrifos, sulfluramid, fipronil, avermectin, boric acid, and hydramethylnon. The baits usually contain inert ingredients such as peanut butter, breadcrumbs, sugar and vegetable or animal, which could be attracting to pets. Exposures to these types of ant baits usually do not require decontamination or treatment. Most often, if signs are seen at all, they are mild in nature and self-limiting and are usually attributed to the inert ingredients instead of the active ingredient.

Silica Gel Packets are used as a desiccant and often come in paper packets or plastic cylinders. They are used to absorb moisture with leather, medication, and in some food packaging. Silica is considered “chemically and biologically inert” upon ingestion. However, with ingestion, it is possible to see signs of GI upset, such as nausea, vomiting, and inappetence. Additional problems could occur is the silica gel was used as a desiccant in medication, since silica could possibly absorb qualities of the medication.

Toilet Water (Tank drop-ins) products typically contain corrosive agents (alkali or cationic detergents.) However, when a tank “drop in” cleaning product is used in a toilet, the actual concentration of the cleaner is very low in the bowl. With dilution by the bowl water, the cleaning agent is just a gastric irritant. Common signs seen with ingestion include mild vomiting and nausea.

Birth Control Pills: Each packet of oral contraceptives contains 21 tablets of estrogen and/or progesterone and possibly 7 placebo pills. Estrogen could cause bone marrow suppression at levels greater than 1 mg/kg. Some oral contraceptives also contain iron. Decontamination is not necessary unless the level of estrogen is greater than 1mg/kg or the level of iron is greater than 20mg/kg.

Liquid Potpourri may contain essential oils and cationic detergents; because product labels may not list ingredients, it is wise to assume that a given liquid potpourri contains both ingredients. Essential oils can cause mucous membrane and gastrointestinal irritation, central nervous system depression, and dermal hypersensitivity and irritation. Severe clinical signs can be seen with potpourri products that contain cationic detergents. Dermal exposure to cationic detergents can result in erythema, edema, intense pain, and ulceration. Ingestion of cationic detergents may lead to tissue necrosis and inflammation of the mouth, esophagus, and stomach. Treatment is symptomatic and supportive (see Cationic Detergent section).

Pennies: Ingestion of coins by pets, especially dogs, is not uncommon. Of the existing US coins currently in circulation, only pennies pose a significant toxicity hazard. Pennies minted since 1983 contain 99.2% zinc and 0.8% copper, making ingested pennies a rich source of zinc. Other potential sources of zinc include hardware such as screws, bolts, nuts, etc., all of which may contain varying amounts of zinc. In the stomach, gastric acids leach the zinc from its source, and the ionized zinc is readily absorbed into the circulation, where it causes intravascular hemolysis.
The most common clinical signs of penny ingestion are vomiting, depression, anorexia, hemoglobinuria, diarrhea, weakness, collapse and icterus. Secondarily, acute renal failure may develop. Clinical laboratory abnormalities will be suggestive of hemolysis (elevated bilirubin, hemoglobinemia, hemoglobinuria, regenerative anemia) and may also indicate the development of kidney failure. Serum zinc levels may be obtained—blood should be collected in all plastic syringes (no rubber grommets) and shipped in Royal blue top vaccutainers to minimize contamination with exogenous zinc. Radiography of the abdomen may reveal the presence of coins or other “hardware” within the stomach.

Mothballs may be composed of either 100% naphthalene or 99% paradichlorobenzene. Naphthalene-based mothballs are approximately twice as toxic as paradichlorobenzene, and cats are especially sensitive to naphthalene. Naphthalene causes Heinz bodies, hemolysis, and, occasionally, methemoglobinemia in dogs with doses of 411 mg/kg or more (one 2.7 g mothball contains 2700 mg of naphthalene). Paradichlorobenzene primarily affects the liver and CNS, although methemoglobinemia and hemolysis have been reported in humans.
Signs of ingestion of naphthalene mothballs include emesis (early), weakness, icterus, lethargy, icterus, brown-colored mucous membranes, and collapse. Rarely, hepatitis has been reported 3-5 days post-ingestion. Paradichlorobenzene mothballs may cause GI upset, ataxia, disorientation, and depression. Elevations in liver serum biochemical values may occur within 72 hours of ingestion.

Antifreeze that contains ethylene glycol has a sweet taste that attracts animals but is deadly if consumed in even small quantities; one teaspoon can kill a seven-pound cat. The HSUS recommends pet owners use a safe antifreeze in their vehicles. Look for antifreeze that contains propylene glycol, which is safe for animals if ingested in small amounts. Ethylene glycol can also be found in common household products like snow globes, so be sure to keep these things out the reach of animals

Cedar and other soft wood shavings, including pine, emit fumes that may be dangerous to small mammals like hamsters and gerbils.

Human medications, such as pain killers (including aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen), cold medicines, anti-cancer drugs, anti-depressants, vitamins, and diet pills can all be toxic to animals. Keep medicine containers and tubes of ointments and creams away from pets who could chew through them, and be vigilant about finding and disposing of any dropped pills.

Poisonous household plants, including azalea, dieffenbachia (dumb cane), lilies, mistletoe, and philodendron.

String, yarn, rubber bands, and even dental floss are easy to swallow and can cause intestinal blockages or strangulation.

Toys with movable parts—like squeaky toys or stuffed animals with plastic eyes—can pose a choking hazard to animals. Take the same precautions with pets as you would with a small child.
Rawhide dog chews may be contaminated with Salmonella, which can infect pets and humans who come in contact with the chews. This kind of treat should be offered to a pet only with supervision, as they can pose a choking hazard as well.

Holiday decorations and lights pose a risk to cats and dogs. Keep these items out of the reach of animals, and, if possible, confine your pet to an undecorated area while you are out of the home.

Fumes from nonstick cooking surfaces and self-cleaning ovens can be deadly to birds. Always be cautious when using any pump or aerosol spray around birds.

Leftovers, such as chicken bones, might shatter and choke a cat or dog.

Human foods to keep away from pets include onions and onion powder; alcoholic beverages; yeast dough; coffee grounds and beans; salt; macadamia nuts; tomato, potato, and rhubarb leaves and stems; avocados (toxic to birds, mice, rabbits, horses, cattle, and dairy goats); grapes; and anything with mold growing on it.

Pet owners should take all the precautions necessary so that the holiday festivities are happy and healthy for four-legged family members, as well as the humans who love them.