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Ten most dangerous pet poisons

Daily Staff Report
Vail, CO Colorado

As part of the recent National Poison Prevention Week, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals advises pet parents to stay alert to the possibility of poisoning from these common household items:

1. Human medications: For several years now, this category has been No. 1 on the list, and 2006 was no exception. Last year, more than 78,000 calls involving painkillers, cold medications, antidepressants and dietary supplements were received. To avoid inadvertent poisoning from medications, store them in a secure cabinet and out of the reach of pets.

2. Insecticides: Dr. Steven Hansen, veterinary toxicologist and senior vice president with the ASPCA, says, “A key factor in the safe use of products that eliminate fleas, ticks and other pesky bugs, is reading and following label instructions exactly. Some species of animals can be particularly sensitive to certain types of insecticides, so it is vital that you never use any product not specifically formulated for your pet.”



3. Veterinary medications: “Although these products are formulated for use in pets, it is very important to always read and follow label directions exactly,” Hansen said. “Many medications are intended for use in certain species only, and potentially serious problems could result if given to the wrong animal or at too high a dose.”

4. Plants: Some varieties that can be harmful to pets include lilies, azalea and rhododendron. While poisonous plants should certainly be kept away from pets, it is also a good idea to discourage animals from nibbling on any variety of plant, even non-toxic plants can lead to minor stomach upset.

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5. Rodenticides: Depending on the type of rodenticide, eating it can lead to potentially life-threatening problems for pets including bleeding, seizures or damage to vital organs. Pets can be poisoned by eating the bait or by eating rodents that have died from the bait.

6. Household cleaners: Bleach, detergent and disinfectants can cause stomach irritation or severe oral burns for pets. “When cleaning your pet’s food and water bowls, crate or other habitat, a mild soap such as a hand dishwashing detergent along with hot water is a good choice over products containing potentially harsh chemicals.”

7. Chocolate: Methylxanthines in chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea and hyperactivity. In severe cases, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors and seizures have been noted ” and it can be fatal. “Typically, the darker the chocolate, the greater the potential for poisoning,” said Hansen.



8. Chemical hazards: A newcomer to the top 10 category, this includes such harmful items as volatile petroleum-based products, alcohols, acids and gases. Commonly-used chemicals you should keep your pets away from include ethylene glycol antifreeze, paint thinner, drain cleaners and pool/spa chemicals.

9. Physical hazards: Items in this group include objects that could pose a choking hazard, risk for intestinal obstruction, or other physical injury. “We’ve managed cases involving the ingestion of several common objects ” from pet collars and adhesive tape to bones, paper products and other similar items,” Hansen said.

10. Home improvement products: Cases involving paint, solvents, expanding glues and other products commonly used in construction were up 17 percent in 2006.


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