What is Poisoning our Pets?


Dogs / Friday, June 30th, 2017
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Every year many household pets fall ill or die after ingesting poisonous agents in the home. As dogs are less discerning than other animals about what they eat, they are the most frequent victims of accidental poisoning. However, many cats and rabbits also run into trouble and do a variety of other pets including birds and reptiles. But what substances are poisoning our pets?


You will doubtless have seen scary stories about antifreeze and cleaning products but it isn’t these
substances which have proved to be the most problematic.

The Facts about Poisoning

The Veterinary Poisons Advisory Service has published its annual report for 2016 and this shows
that the most common agent which poisoned pets was Ibuprofen. Indeed, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) featured prominently in the list of poisoning agents and drugs in general were responsible for over 40% of the reported poisonings.

So drugs were the most problematic substances. In second place were rat poisons and chocolate was the third most common cause of poisoning in pets.

Cats and Rabbits

With cats and rabbits the most common agent of poisoning was lilies! The stamens of most lilies, including lily of the valley, are extremely toxic. Felines and bunnies were not as likely as dogs to eat human drugs.

Electronic Cigarettes

The report also highlighted that poisonings associated with electronic cigarettes have started to appear. There were 113 cases in 2016. The e liquids which are added to these devices often contain nicotine which is poisonous if ingested.

It is astonishing quite how many every day substances can poison your pet. Garlic, chives, onions, candy bars, pain killers, cleaning products, macadamia nuts, plants and Xylitol (an artificial sweetener) can all lead to disaster.

So how do you ensure that your pets are safe?

Risk Assessments

It is important to perform a risk assessment of your home if you share it with animals of any kind. Walk around each room in turn and look at everything which is within reach of your pets. Don’t forget that cats are great jumpers and both cats and dogs may learn how to open unlocked cupboards. If you see anything which could prove hazardous to your pet, move it to a different position or ensure that it is in a locked cupboard. Check the ingredients on food packets and seek expert advice if you are unsure whether a substance is poisonous or not.

You should also remain vigilante when you are out and about. Dogs can sniff out all sorts of potentially problematic material! If your pet falls ill, take then to the vet immediately as swift treatment could be the difference between life and death. It may also prove vital to know what your pet has been poisoned by. So, if they fall sick think about what they could possibly have ingested and report your conclusions to your vet. A few clues could mean that your vet can evolve the correct treatment regime more quickly.

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