WASHINGTON (March 15, 2000) - The Humane Society of the
United States (HSUS) reminds pet owners that many common household items
can pose a threat to their animal companions. Even some items
specifically meant for pets could cause health problems. Although rodent
poisons and insecticides are the most common sources of companion animal
poisoning, the following list of less common potentially toxic agents
should be avoided if at all possible:
* Antifreeze-the types containing ethylene glycol have a
sweet taste that attracts animals but are deadly if consumed in even
small quantities; one teaspoon can kill a seven pound cat. The types
containing propylene glycol are safe in small amounts but still toxic in
large doses. The HSUS recommends pet owners use a safe antifreeze in
* Cedar and other soft wood shavings, including
pine-emit fumes that may be dangerous to small mammals like hamsters and
* Chocolate-poisonous to dogs, cats and ferrets.
* De-icing salts used to melt snow and ice-paw irritants
that can be poisonous if licked off. Paws should be washed and dried as
soon as the animal comes in from the snow. Other options: doggie boots
with Velcro straps to protect Fido's feet, and make your cat an indoor
* Insect control products-the insecticides used in many
over-the-counter flea and tick remedies may be toxic to companion
animals as well. Prescription flea and tick control products are much
safer and more effective. Pet owners should never use any product
without first consulting a veterinarian.
* Fumes from nonstick cooking surfaces and self-cleaning
ovens can be deadly to birds. Always be cautious when using any pump or
aerosol spray around birds.
Human medications. Pain killers (including aspirin,
acetaminophen and ibuprofen), cold medicines, anti-cancer drugs,
anti-depressants, vitamins and diet pills can all be toxic to animals.
Keep medication containers and tubes of ointments and creams away from
pets who could chew through them and be vigilant about finding and
disposing of any dropped pills.
* Leftovers and other human foods: chicken bones easily
shatter and can choke a cat or dog. Other foods to keep away from pets
include onions and onion powder; alcoholic beverages; yeast dough;
coffee grounds and beans; salt; macadamia nuts; tomato, potato and
rhubarb leaves and stems; avocados (toxic to birds, mice, rabbits,
horses, cattle and dairy goats) and anything with mold growing on it.
Contact The HSUS for a complete list of dangerous food products.
* Poisonous household plants: azalea, geraniums,
dieffenbachia (dumb cane), mistletoe, philodendron and poinsettia among
others. For a comprehensive list, contact The HSUS.
* Rawhide doggie chews may be contaminated with
salmonella, which can infect pets and humans who come in contact with
the chews. These kinds of chews should only be given when you're with
your pet, as they can pose a choking hazard as well.
* String, yarn, rubber bands and even dental floss --
easy to swallow and can cause intestinal blockages or strangulation.
* Toys with removable parts-like squeaky toys or stuffed
animals with plastic eyes -- that can come apart can pose a choking
hazard to animals. Take the same precautions with your pets as you would
with a small child.
The HSUS recommends that pet owners use all household
products with caution, and keep a pet first aid kit and manual readily
available. The HSUS puts out a first aid book in conjunction with the
American Red Cross entitled Pet First Aid: Cats and Dogs. If all of your
precautions fail and you believe that your pet has been poisoned,
contact your veterinarian or emergency veterinary service immediately.
Signs of poisoning include listlessness, abdominal pain, vomiting,
diarrhea, muscle tremors, lack of coordination and fever.
The National Animal Poison Control Center operates a
hotline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 888-426-4435 for a fee of
$30 per case. If you call, you should be prepared with the following
information: the name of the poison your animal was exposed to, the
amount and how long ago; the species, breed, age, sex and weight of your
pet and the symptoms the animal is displaying. You'll also be asked to
provide your name, address and phone number.
Source: "Bonnie" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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