There are substances in your home that are poisonous to your pet – and they are not all locked away in the garage or under the kitchen sink.
A number of products that we humans regularly eat or drink are toxic to our pets. Our morning cup of coffee or tea is just one of the items on the danger list for pets. Caffeine is a stimulant that can cause increased heart rate in pets, hyperactivity, seizures and tremors.
On the danger list
In fact, most pet owners don’t know that a variety of other foods – including chocolate, onions, macadamia nuts, raisins and grapes, alcoholic beverages and bread dough — can be fatal if ingested by a dog. Typically, trouble occurs when a pet gets into the trash can and eats leftovers of forbidden foods that make it into the garbage.
The medicine cabinet is another area of danger. Pain killers, cold medicines, anti-cancer drugs, antidepressants, vitamins, and diet pills are common examples of human medication that could be potentially lethal even in small dosages.
And, of course, houseplants are an area of special danger to cats. Their habit of nibbling on greenery can be deadly if the plant they choose happens to be a lily, daffodil, oleander or any of a number of other common plants.
According to the ASPCA, thousands of cats and dogs needlessly suffer and many die each year by accidental ingestion of household poisons, including common foods, medications and popular houseplants. For a comprehensive rundown of potentially dangerous substances, visit the APCC online.
If you suspect that your pet has ingested coffee grounds – or any other potentially dangerous substance — seek emergency help right away.
Plan ahead for emergency
Know your vet’s procedures for emergency situations, especially ones that occur after usual business hours. If there is an emergency veterinary service nearby, keep that number handy.
Keep a pet safety kit on hand for emergencies. It should contain:
If you suspect that your pet has been exposed to a poison, it is important not to panic. Take a minute or two to collect the material involved – the product container, if available and a plastic bag containing any material your pet may have vomited or chewed. This may help your vet or Poison Control Center professionals determine exactly what poison or poisons are involved.
If getting your pet to a veterinarian isn’t possible, you can call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center’s emergency hotline at 1-888-4-ANI-HELP. The emergency hotline provides 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week telephone assistance to veterinarians and pet owners. The service charges a consultation fee of $45 for each case.