Remember to Protect your Pets from Easter

This week is Easter Sunday.  It’s time for family gatherings, Easter Egg Hunts, chocolate bunnies, beautiful flowers and wonderful hats.  While all of these customs are great for humans, some of them are downright risky for our pets.  So in addition to asking that you keep your dog away from those chocolate bunnies and your cats far away from those lilies this weekend, for year round pet safety we wanted to pass on we wanted pass on the Pet Poison Hotline’s top 10 poisons for dogs and cats for 2013:

1. Chocolate: While no chocolate is good for dogs, as a general rule the darker the chocolate the more toxic.

2. Xylitol. This artificial sweetener used to be associated just with sugarless chewing gum, but its use has expanded into a wider array of candies and even some medicines and nasal sprays. Xylitol can cause liver failure in dogs.

3. NSAIDs. This includes ibuprofen and naproxen such is found in Advil, Motrin and Aleve. Dogs cannot metabolize these drugs and ingestion can result in kidney failure and stomach ulcers.

4. Cough, cold and allergy medicines. These drugs contain acetaminophen and/or decongestants such as pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine.

5. Rodenticides. Mouse or rat poisons can cause internal bleeding. The current generation of these poisons cannot be combated by giving Vitamin K like the older versions.

6. Grapes and raisins can cause kidney damage

7. Insect Bait Stations. In this case the concern is less from poisoning from the bait and more from an obstruction from eating the plastic casing.

8. Prescription ADD/ADHA medications as Adderall, Concerta, Dexedrine, and Vyvanse are amphetamines which can cause tremors, seizures, cardiac problems and even death in dogs.

9. Glucosamine joint supplements while useful at the correct dose, an overdose of these will typically only cause diarrhea but in rare cases liver failure can develop.

10. Oxygen absorbers containing iron found in food packages like beef jerky and even pet treats can cause iron poisoning.

1. Lilies, as discussed in our previous blog, in the actual Lilium species, such as Easter, Tiger, and Asiatic lilies, cause kidney failure in cats.

2. Concentrated household cleaners, like toilet bowl or drain cleaner, can cause chemical burns.

3. Flea and tick spot on products designed for dogs, such as K9 Advantix, Zodiac and others, that are pyrethroid based cause tremors and seizures and can even be deadly.

4. The antidepressants Cymbalta and Effexor seem to attract a lot of cat attention and can cause neurologic and cardiac effects.

5. NSAIDS, like ibuprofen and naproxen and cause even more problems with cats then with dogs. It turns out that even NSAIDs specifically made for veterinarian use like Rimadyl need to be used with caution.

6. Prescription ADD/ADHD medications, just like in dogs, can cause tremors, seizures, cardiac problems and death in cats.

7. Over the counter cough, cold and allergy medicines that contain acetaminophen, such as Tylenol, can damage red blood cells and cause liver failure in cats.

8. As noted in our previous blog on holiday plants, even plants outside the Lilly family can cause harm to your cat if they contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals (such as the peace lily or philodendron). While severe symptoms may not be common, foaming at the mouth and upper gastrointestinal irritation are common.

9. Household insecticides are increasingly safe to use around pets, but it’s always best to keep cats and especially curious kittens away until everything is dried or cleaned up.

10. Glow sticks and glow jewelry (the kind given out at almost every kid and pre-teen party) contain dibutyl phthalate. If bitten into and punctured it can cause pain and excessive foaming. Thankfully, these symptoms quickly dissipate when a cat eats food or drinks water.

There is no way this short blog post could list all the potential poisons your pet could be  confronted with every day. For that we recommend the Pet Poison Hotline or the ASPCA’s web site.

Thanks for reading!