Thursday, May 7, 2009

Keeping Poppy away from toxins

Poppy is doing great; I cannot believe how big she is already. We are headed to puppy elementary school tonight so she can play with bigger and older puppies. Last week at kindergarten she was playing a little too roughly with the other puppies. The photos posted below are from last week’s kindergarten as well as Poppy playing with Sparkle and Lilly. As I watch her tear around my house chewing and eating everything in site I thought it would be a good time to cover the common household toxins dogs can get into.

Everyone knows that chocolate and dogs do not mix. The most dangerous types of chocolate are bakers and dark as they have the highest amount of cacao. Milk chocolate is mostly cream and sugar and usually doesn’t cause any problems unless consumed in mass quantities. If your dog does get into the candy stash you should bring them in immediately so we can induce vomiting. Having them vomit eliminates as much chocolate as possible from their system, and then a does of activated charcoal usually can absorb the rest. Signs of chocolate toxicity include agitation, hyper-excitability, increased heart rate, seizures and death. I will say that with treatment it is very rare to see a dog die from chocolate toxicity.

Another common one we see at Friendship is grape and raisin ingestion which can cause kidney failure. This one is a little confusing as it varies on the individual dog as to how many grapes or raisins must be ingested to cause toxicity. Again you should bring them in for us to induce vomiting and empty their stomach. We then recommend that they stay in the hospital on intravenous fluids for 48-72 hours while we monitor kidney values. This flushes out the kidneys and hopefully prevents any toxin accumulation. The scary thing with kidney disease is that once damage occurs it cannot be reversed.

Xylitol is an artificial sweetener found in most sugarless gums and causes low blood sugar and liver failure in dogs. Why a box of minty gum is an attractive thing to a dog I do not know but frequently we have a dog come in that vomits up the entire pack with wrappers still on each piece. This also requires hospitalization so we can closely monitor the blood glucose and liver values. If any changes are noted we can then address them with fluids and medications.

Prescription drugs for animals and humans can also be dangerous. Rimadyl is an anti-inflammatory for dogs and comes in a convenient flavored tablet. Some dogs find this medication so tasty they will jump on the counter and eat the entire bottle which can result in kidney and/or liver failure. Many over the counter medications such as Advil, Tylenol, Aleive and Sudafed to name a few can also be dangerous. If your dog ingests any medication, in any amount you should either call ASPCA poison control immediately or seek veterinary care.

The toxins listed above are only a brief overview of the many household dangers your furry pal can get into. It is important to keep dangerous substances away from pets in drawers or cabinets and to watch your dog at all times. I find with Poppy if there is a way for her to eat or chew on something she shouldn’t she always tries her best to get to it.


  1. Any other human foods we should be aware of that are dangerous to our furbabies?

  2. Onions and garlic can cause anemia. We have had a few dogs come in after ingesting raw bread dough which definitely requires treatment.

  3. I didn't know about grapes and raisins! Also, we are landscaping our yard and having trouble finding good resources about plants that are safe/unsafe for puppies. Can you recommend any resources to help us ensure our home and yard are safe?