Each year thousands of poor sweet pets die due to a poisoning of some form. Many of these are avoidable; some are just accidents that were unforeseen. Best way to combat this problem is to actively educate yourself about what can harm your baby. This is not an all-inclusive list and some dogs may have allergies that are severe and can cause death as well.
Chocolate contains theobromine, a compound that is a cardiac stimulant and a diuretic. After their pet has eaten a large quantity of chocolate, many pet owners assume their pet is unaffected. However, the signs of sickness may not be seen for several hours, with death following within twenty-four hours. Symptoms include Staggering, labored breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, tremors, fever, heart rate increase, arrhythmia, seizures, coma, death.
Cocoa powder and cooking chocolate are the most toxic forms. A 10-kilogram dog can be seriously affected if it eats a quarter of a 250gm packet of cocoa powder or half of a 250gm block of cooking chocolate. These forms of chocolate contain ten times more theobromine than milk chocolate. Thus, a chocolate mud cake could be a real health risk for a small dog. Even licking a substantial part of the chocolate icing from a cake can make a dog unwell.
Semi-sweet chocolate and dark chocolate are the next most dangerous forms, with milk chocolate being the least dangerous. A dog needs to eat more than a 250gm block of milk chocolate to be affected. Obviously, the smaller the dog, the less it needs to eat.
Onions and garlic contain the toxic ingredient thiosulphate. Onions are more of a danger. Pets affected by onion toxicity will develop hemolytic anemia, where the pet’s red blood cells burst while circulating in its body. Symptoms include Hemolytic Anemia, labored breathing, liver damage, vomiting, diarrhea, and discolored urine.
The poisoning occurs a few days after the pet has eaten the onion. All forms of onion can be a problem including dehydrated onions, raw onions, cooked onions, and table scraps containing cooked onions and/or garlic. Left over pizza, Chinese dishes, and commercial baby food containing onion, sometimes fed as a supplement to young pets, can cause illness. While garlic also contains the toxic ingredient thiosulphate, it seems that garlic is less toxic and large amounts would need to be eaten to cause illness.
Mushroom toxicity does occur in dogs and it can be fatal if certain species of mushrooms are eaten. Amanita phalloides is the most commonly reported severely toxic species of mushroom in the US but other Amanita species are toxic. Symptoms include abdominal pain, drooling, liver damage, kidney damage, vomiting diarrhea, convulsions, coma, and death.
As few as a handful of raisins or grapes can make a dog ill; however, of the 10 cases reported to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), each dog ingested between 9 ounces and 2 pounds of grapes or raisins. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and lethargy.
Macadamia nuts are another concern, along with most other kinds of nuts. Their high phosphorus content is said to possibly lead to bladder stones. Dogs develop a tremor of the skeletal muscles, and weakness or paralysis of the hindquarters. Affected dogs are often unable to rise and are distressed, usually panting. Some affected dogs have swollen limbs and show pain when the limbs are manipulated.
NOTE: Pets owners should not assume that human food is always safe for pets. When it comes to chocolate, onions, garlic and macadamia nuts, such foods should be given in only small quantities, or not at all. Be sure that your pets cannot get into your stash of chocolates, that food scraps are disposed of carefully to prevent onion and garlic toxicity and that your dog is prevented from picking up macadamia nuts if you have a tree in your garden.
Can contain onion powder, which can be toxic to dogs. Can also result in nutritional deficiencies, if fed in large amounts.
Bones from fish, poultry, or other meat sources:
Can cause obstruction or laceration of the digestive system.
Cat food is generally too high in protein and fats.
Can cause pancreatitis.
Milk and other dairy products:
Some adult dogs and cats do not have sufficient amounts of the enzyme lactase, which breaks down the lactose in milk. This can result in diarrhea. Lactose-free milk products are available for pets.
Contain an enzyme called avidin, which decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin). This can lead to skin and hair coat problems. Raw eggs may also contain Salmonella.
Can result in a thiamine (a B vitamin) deficiency leading to loss of appetite, seizures, and in severe cases, death. More common if raw fish is fed regularly.
As we let our dogs roam freely in and out of the house, we need to be aware of what we are exposing our pets to. There are various plants that are poisonous to dogs both inside and outside of our homes. See the attachment for a chart of some of the more common plants our dogs may come in contact with.
Pet owners need to take extra care with holiday plants. When the holidays roll around, we often get caught up in the festivities and don’t realize that we may be bringing something very dangerous into your home for your pets. Be aware of what holiday decorations may be toxic and avoid turning a happy occasion into a tragic one.
These plants are probably the most popular holiday plant and are easily recognizable by their large red, white, pink, or mottled leaves. These plants also contain a thick, milky irritant sap. In general, it would take ingestion of a large amount of this plant to see possible clinical signs in your pet. Signs could include vomiting, anorexia and depression. The symptoms are generally self-limiting and treatment is rarely needed. Your Vet may recommend limiting food and water intake for 1 or 2 hours if your pet is suspected of becoming sick after ingestion of poinsettias.
As you can see, many unsuspecting household items can cause your pet a great deal of troubles. You must make a valiant effort to keep your dog safe and healthy. You want to closely monitor your pets interaction with anything listed on this list, and notify your vet immediately if you notice any problems.