LUV My dogs: substances

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Showing posts with label substances. Show all posts
Showing posts with label substances. Show all posts

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Common Dog Poisons

Common Dog Poisons
  Your dog's world is full of new scents, sights and adventure. Along with these new experiences come plenty of dangers, too. These potential hazards are enough to make a dog owner completely paranoid. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help keep your dog healthy and safe.
   Exist  more  cases of pet poisoning in the U.S. Many of these were caused by household substances that may seem perfectly harmless to you. But just because something is safe for people doesn't mean it won’t hurt beloved pets. Some of the most dangerous dog poisons are foods and medications we take on a daily basis.
  Depending on how a particular substance affects your dog’s body and how much was ingested or inhaled, pet poisoning symptoms can include gastrointestinal and neurological problems, cardiac and respiratory distress, coma, and even death.

Dog poison No. 1: Prescription medications for people.
   Drugs that might be beneficial or even lifesaving for people can have the opposite effect in pets. And it doesn’t always take a large dose to do major damage. Ingestion of any medication not specified for that individual pet is reason to go see a veterinarian. The drugs listed below are some of the more dangerous substances for pets, but any ingestion of human medications should be investigated.
  • Antidepressants such as Effexor, Cymbalta, Prozac and Lexapro
  • ADD/ADHD medications such as Concerta, Adderall and Ritalin Benzodiazepines and sleep aids such as Xanax, Klonopin, Ambien and Lunestra
  • Birth control such as estrogen, estradiol and progesterone
  • ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors such as zestril and altace
  • Beta-blockers such as Tenormin, Troprol and Coreg Thyroid hormones such as Amour dessicated thyroid and Synthroid
  • Cholesterol lowering agents such as Lipitor, Zocor and Crestor
  • Human supplements, nutraceuticals or herbal remedies that haven’t been recommended.
Dog poison No. 2: Insecticides. 
  These usually contain organophosphates and carbamates which are highly toxic to dogs. Signs of ingestion include vomiting, diarrhoea, hypersalivation, muscle tremors and seizures.
  Ingestion of insecticides and pesticides, especially those that contain organophosphates (e.g., disulfoton, often found in rose-care products), can be life-threatening to dogs, even when ingested in small amounts.

Dog poison No. 3: Over-the-counter medications.
   Common drugs including NSAIDs (e.g. Advil®, Aleve® and Motrin) can cause serious harm to dogs when ingested, causes stomach and intestinal ulcers as well as potential kidney failure. The use of human NSAIDs in dogs is dangerous and should never be given without consulting Pet Poison Helpline or a veterinarian.

Dog poison No. 4: Pet medications.
  Just as we can be sickened or killed by medications intended to help us, cases of pet poisoning by veterinary drugs are not uncommon. Some of the more commonly reported problem medications include painkillers and de-wormers.

Dog poison No. 5: Household products, from cleaners to fire logs.
   Strong acidic or alkaline cleaners pose the highest risk due to their corrosive nature, and include common household products like toilet bowel cleaners, lye, drain cleaners, rust removers, and calcium/lime removers. Remember that “natural” does not necessarily mean safe, as some natural products can cause severe reactions. While general cleaners like glass products, spot removers and most surface cleaners have a wide margin of safety, it is still wise to keep them out of reach.
  Antifreeze (ethylene glycol): Antifreeze is a common cause of poisoning in small animals. Dogs will seek out antifreeze as they find its smell and taste appealing. The signs of antifreeze poisoning has three phases:

  • Phase 1 includes a drunken appearance which occurs within 1 hour of ingestion.
  • Phase 2 is heart failure which occurs within 12-24 hours of ingestion.
  • Phase 3 is renal failure, vomiting, depression, renal pain, hypothermia, coma and death.
Dog poison No. 6: People food. 
  Your canine companion may look so cute as he sits there begging for a bite of your chocolate cake or a chip covered in guacamole, but not giving him what he wants could save his life. Animals have different metabolisms than people. Some foods and beverages that are perfectly safe for people can be dangerous, and sometimes fatal, for dogs.
  • Chocolate. Though not harmful to people, chocolate products contain substances called methylxanthines that can cause vomiting in small doses, and death if ingested in larger quantities. Darker chocolate contains more of these dangerous substances than do white or milk chocolate. The amount of chocolate that could result in death depends on the type of chocolate and the size of the dog. For smaller breeds, just half an ounce of baking chocolate can be fatal, while a larger dog might survive eating 4 ounces to 8 ounces. Coffee and caffeine have similarly dangerous chemicals.
  • Alcohol. Symptoms of alcohol poisoning in animals are similar to those in people, and may include vomiting, breathing problems, coma and, in severe cases, death.
  • Avocado. You might think of them as healthy, but avocadoes have a substance called persin that can act as a dog poison, causing vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Macadamia nuts. Dogs may suffer from a series of symptoms, including weakness, overheating, and vomiting, after consumption of macadamia nuts.
  • Grapes and raisins. Experts aren’t sure why, but these fruits can induce kidney failure in dogs. Even a small number may cause problems in some dogs.
  • Xylitol. This sweetener is found in many products, including sugar-free gum and candy. It causes a rapid drop in blood sugar, resulting in weakness and seizures. Liver failure also has been reported in some dogs.
Dog poison No. 7: E-cigarettes
  Following reports that a puppy in Cornwall has died after biting into an e-cigarette refill, vets are warning pet owners to ensure they are kept out of reach of animals.
  Nicotine poisoning acts very quickly and can be fatal, especially when large doses are involved. E-cigarettes and refills can easily contain sufficient quantities of nicotine to kill a small animal very quickly.
  If you use e-cigarettes, we recommend storing all equipment safely out of reach of your pet. If you suspect your pet has chewed or eaten an e-cigarette or any toxic substance then it is vital that you contact a vet for treatment as quickly as possible.

Dog poison No. 8: Plants.
  They may be pretty, but plants aren’t necessarily pet friendly. Some of the more toxic plants to dogs include:
  • Azaleas and rhododendrons. These pretty flowering plants contain toxins that may cause vomiting, diarrhea, coma, and potentially even death.
  • Tulips and daffodils. The bulbs of these plants may cause serious stomach problems, convulsions, and increased heart rate.
  • Sago palms. Eating just a few seeds may be enough to cause vomiting, seizures, and liver failure.
  • Other plants:  Autumn Crocus, Cyclamen, Dieffenbachia, Hyacinth, Kalanchoe, Lily, Oleander, Foxglove, Compost, Mushrooms.
Dog poison No. 9: Mouse and rat poison – rodenticides.
  There are many types of chemicals in mouse and rat poisons, all with different active ingredients and types of action, making all of them potentially poisonous to dogs. Depending on what type was ingested, poisoning can result in internal bleeding, brain swelling, kidney failure, or even severe vomiting and bloat. Mouse and rat poisons also pose the potential for relay toxicity, meaning pets – and even wildlife – can be poisoned by eating dead rodents poisoned by rodenticides.

Dog poison No. 10: Lawn and garden products.
  Fertiliser products generally contain varying amounts of nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K) compounds. They may be in liquid, granular or solid form and contain additives such as herbicides, insecticides and fungicides. Since fertilisers are usually a combination of ingredients, the effects of ingestion may vary. In general, they cause mild to moderate gastrointestinal irritation which may present signs such as vomiting, diarrhoea, hypersalivation and abdominal pain. Symptoms can be more severe if a larger amount is ingested and they may also be caustic, causing irritation of the lining of the gastrointestinal tract.

What to do if your dog is poisoned?
  • Don't panic. Rapid response is important, but panicking can interfere with the process of helping your pet.
  • Take the time to safely collect and have at hand any material involved. This may be of great help to your vet, as they determine what poison or poisons are involved. Also, collect in a sealable plastic bag any material your pet may have vomited or chewed.
  • If you witness your pet consuming material that you suspect might be toxic, do not hesitate to seek emergency assistance, even if you do not notice any adverse effects. Sometimes, even if poisoned, an animal may appear normal for several hours or days after the incident.
  • Do not try to make your dog vomit unless instructed to do so by your veterinarian.
Poison Protection: Pet-Proofing Your House

  The best way to reduce the chances that your dog will be the victim of pet poisoning is by preventing exposure to dangerous substances. Here are a few suggestions:
  • Keep all medications, even those in child-proof bottles, in cabinets that are inaccessible to your dog. If you inadvertently drop a pill on the floor, be sure to look for it immediately. Supervise anyone, such as the elderly, who may need help taking medications.
  • Always follow guidelines on flea or tick products.
  • Although you can safely give some ''people foods'' to your pet as a treat, others are toxic. If you have any questions about what is safe, ask your veterinarian. Or, err on the safe side and give treats made specifically for animals.
  • Be sure any rodenticides you use are kept in metal cabinets or high on shelves where your pets can't find them. Remember that dogs can be fatally poisoned by eating an exposed rodent, so always be very cautious about using these products. Tell your neighbors if you put out rat bait, so they can protect their pets from exposure, and ask them to do the same for you.
  • When buying plants for your home, opt for those that won’t cause problems if your dog happens to nibble on them. The ASPCA has an online list of toxic and nontoxic plants by species. If you choose to have toxic plants, be sure they are kept in a place where your animals can't reach them.
  • Store all chemicals and cleaners in pet-inaccessible areas of your home.
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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Allergies in Dogs

Allergies in Dogs
  Just like people, dogs can show allergic symptoms when their immune systems begin to recognize certain everyday substances—or allergens— as dangerous. Even though these allergens are common in most environments and harmless to most animals, a dog with allergies will have an extreme reaction to them. Allergens can be problematic when inhaled, ingested or contact a dog’s skin. As his body tries to rid itself of these substances, a variety of skin, digestive and respiratory symptoms may appear.
   If your dog seems to have an allergic condition, it's important to get an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as you can.

 What Are the General Symptoms of Allergies in Dogs?
The symptoms of allergies are usually like those of any other nasal allergy. They include:
  • coughing and wheezing
  • red, itchy eyes
  • runny, itchy, stuffy nose
  • sneezing.

Allergic dogs may also suffer from secondary bacterial or yeast skin infections, which may cause hair loss, scabs or crusts on the skin.


Less common, but more severe allergic reactions include:
  • Urticaria (hives)
  • Angioedema (facial swelling)
  • Anaphylaxis is a rare, life-threatening, immediate allergic reaction to something ingested or injected. If untreated, it can in some cases, result in shock, respiratory and cardiac failure, and death.
  These symptoms usually appear within 20 minutes of being exposed to the allergen, which can include drugs, chemicals, insect bites, or something eaten.
  If your pet has a history of a severe allergic reaction, you may want to discuss various options with your veterinarian. Your veterinarian may give you a prescription for an epi-pen which is a special syringe and needle filled with a single dose of epinephrine. If your pet has an anaphylactic reaction or severe angioedema, inject the epinephrine using the epi-pen and seek emergency veterinary assistance immediately. Be sure to take the epi-pen with you on any trips or hikes.

  What Substances Can Dogs Be Allergic To?
  • Tree, grass and weed pollens
  • Mold spores
  • Dust and house dust mites
  • Dander
  • Feathers
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Food ingredients (e.g. beef, chicken, pork, corn, wheat or soy)
  • Prescription drugs
  • Fleas and flea-control products (The bite of a single flea can trigger intense itchiness for two to three weeks!)
  • Perfumes
  • Cleaning products
  • Fabrics
  • Insecticidal shampoo
  • Rubber and plastic materials
 General allergies
Flea Allergy Dermatitis
Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels
  Flea allergy dermatitis, which is actually sensitivity to flea saliva, is a very common condition in dogs. It's not the bite of the flea that causes most of the itching in dogs with FAD, it's the saliva.
  The saliva causes irritation way out of proportion to the actual number of fleas on the pup.
  If you suspect or know fleas are a problem for your dog, I recommend you comb her at least once daily, every day during pest season with a flea comb. Do this on a white towel or other light colored cloth so you can see what's coming off your dog as you comb. Flea 'dirt' (actually flea feces) looks like real dirt, but when suspended in a little rubbing alcohol or water will dissolve and release a red color (blood) allowing you to discern real dirt from flea dirt.
  Bathe your dog often. A soothing bath will kill any fleas on your dog, help heal skin irritation, and make her feel more comfortable and less itchy. Also, clean animals aren't as attractive to fleas. Pick a non-grain (no oatmeal) herbal shampoo.
 Make liberal use of an all-natural pest repellent like Natural Flea and Tick Defense during flea season.
  For some dogs with a serious case of flea allergy dermatitis, I prescribe an oral drug called Comfortis. It is a chemical, but it's considered the least hazardous of all similar drugs. All drugs can have side effects, but Comfortis has reportedly fewer than topical insecticides.

Food Allergies
  Dogs with a food allergy will commonly have itchy skin, breathing difficulties or gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea and vomiting, and an elimination diet will most probably be used to determine what food he is allergic to. If your dog is specifically allergic to chicken, for example, you should avoid feeding him any products containing chicken protein or fat.
  Please note that food allergies may show up in dogs at any age. It often takes some detective work to find out what substance is causing the allergic reaction.

Environmental Allergies
  In addition to flea saliva and certain foods/ingredients, your dog can also be allergic to an infinite variety of irritants in the environment. These can be outdoor allergens like ragweed, grasses and pollens, as well as indoor irritants like mold, dust mites, cleaning chemicals and even fabrics like wool or cotton.
  As a general rule, if your dog is allergic to something inside your home, he'll have year-round symptoms. If he's reacting is to something outdoors, it could very well be a seasonal problem.

How Can Dog Allergies Be Treated?
The best way to treat allergies is to remove the offending allergens from the environment.
  • Prevention is the best treatment for allergies caused by fleas. Start a flea control program for all of your pets before the season starts. Remember, outdoor pets can carry fleas inside to indoor pets. See your veterinarian for advice about the best flea control products for your dog and the environment.
  • If dust is the problem, clean your pet's bedding once a week and vacuum at least twice weekly—this includes rugs, curtains and any other materials that gather dust.
  • Weekly bathing may help relieve itching and remove environmental allergens and pollens from your dog’s skin. Discuss with your vet what prescription shampoos are best, as frequent bathing with the wrong product can dry out skin.
  • If you suspect your dog has a food allergy, she’ll need to be put on an exclusive prescription or hydrolyzed protein diet. Once the allergy is determined, your vet will recommend specific foods or a home-cooked diet.
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