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Posts Tagged ‘Dog Poisons’

Can Dogs Eat Apples?

Monday, November 9th, 2015


From time to time a friend will ask me if dogs can eat apples without getting sick. One friend called me in a panic on a Saturday morning after her pet Labrador snatched an apple off her kitchen counter and scarfed the whole thing down, including the seeds.

I told her not to worry as an apple is perfectly safe for a dog to eat. You should use caution though if you’re giving your dog whole apples as a treat since the covering of the seeds contains very small amounts of amygdalin, a compound that contains cyanide.

My vet believes that the stems of apples may also contain traces of cyanide, so I’m careful to remove the stem and seeds before giving my dog an apple. Seeds are not really that harmful because the seed coating has to be broken before the amygdalin is released, so if your dog eats the few seeds contained in an average size apple, there is nothing to worry about.

I always slice the apple and give it to my dog piece by piece because it’s safer than tossing him a whole apple to eat. As to how many seeds would be safe for a dog to consume, consider that an adult would need to eat a whole cup of seeds to feel ill.

Apples are tasty treats for dogs and provide the nutritional benefits of vitamin C and fiber, plus they’re low in sodium and saturated fat. They also contain calcium and phosphorus. The omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in an apple help make the dog’s skin and coat healthier.

All dogs should not be fed apples just because they contain nutrients. If a dog has kidney disease, the added calcium, phosphorus and omega-6 fatty acids may not be a good addition to its diet. Additionally arthritic dogs require monitoring of their omega-6 fatty acid levels. It’s best to check with your vet if your dog has kidney disease or arthritis.

The worst problems a dog would encounter from eating too many apples is an upset stomach or diarrhea. So when my friend asked me the question can dogs eat apples, I told her yes, but “In the future keep your dog out of the kitchen when you’re making pies.”

Why Dogs Vomit

Monday, May 11th, 2015


There are many reasons why dogs vomit so if you find your dog vomiting, don’t automatically assume that your dog has an illness.

    The most common reasons why dogs vomit include the following:

(1) Eating foreign objects or plant material. If your dog has swallowed a solid object of some kind it will often vomit it back up. If the foreign object is small enough, it can pass through the intestinal system and you’ll see it in your dog’s stool. If it’s too large or has sharp edges, your dog will continue to suffer and an emergency visit to the vet for x-rays will become a necessary life-saving action.

If you believe your dog may have eaten leaves or berries from a bush, you need to be sure the plant is not poisonous. The easiest way to check is to go online to the ASPCA poison control website at http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control. There you’ll find a list of toxic and non-toxic plants, the 17 most common poisonous plants, and animal poison control FAQs.

(2) An allergy to certain foods.
If you have recently started your dog on a new diet and the vomiting began shortly thereafter, you might try mixing half of its old food with half of the new food and watch closely for changes in behavior or lingering illness. It’s possible that an intolerance or aversion to ingredients in the new food may be causing the vomiting. If you suspect this may be the cause, you can continue changing the ratio of old food to the new food to see if the vomiting goes away.

(3) Eating greasy foods or foods higher in fat content.
Table scraps or desserts can easily cause intestinal distress and vomiting in any dog. Their systems were not designed to digest rich, fatty foods that many humans eat on a daily basis. These types of food are often not healthy for us, let alone for our dogs. If your dog vomits soon after scarfing down something from your table, it’s a clear indication that you need to avoid giving it any types of food you normally eat.

Causes of vomiting that require a visit to the vet for diagnosis and treatment:
(4) Infection with parasites, viruses or bacteria can cause gastrointestinal infections also known as viral gastroenteritis. Diarrhea and vomiting are the most obvious symptoms. Many different types of bacteria and parasites can also cause GI infections and diarrhea but most of these are not serious and will go away on their own after a few days; however, others can be serious.

(5) Ulcers which can be caused by anti-inflammatory medications prescribed for skin conditions, arthritis, or other chronic health problems. Pain relief medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen inhibit a hormone-like substance that acts as a protection for a dog’s stomach lining. Prolonged use of these medications can cause severe stomach ulcers in dogs. Another less common cause of canine stomach ulcers is a mast cell cancer in the dog’s skin. Mast cell cancers release histamine which leads to stomach ulcers.

(6) Kidney Failure.
Early signs of kidney failure in dogs are increased water consumption and increased urine output. Signs of more advanced kidney failure include loss of appetite, depression, vomiting and diarrhea.

(7) Cancers.
Some possible signs of cancer that warrant a visit to your veterinarian include any new lump or bump; a change in size, shape, or consistency of an existing lump; a runny nose, especially if bloody; difficulty urinating or bloody urine; limping or a change in gait; foul breath and lethargy.

(8) Inflammatory bowel disease.
The cause of inflammatory bowel disease is unknown. Genetics, nutrition, infectious agents, and abnormalities of the immune system may all play a role. The most common signs of inflammatory bowel disease in dogs are vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss. Vomiting is more common when the stomach or upper portion of the small intestine are affected and diarrhea is more common when the colon is involved. There is an increase in the frequency of defecation, but less stool is produced each time. There is often increased mucous or some blood in the stool. Sometimes stools become loose. Many times the diarrhea and vomiting may be irregular.

(9) Liver disease.
The early signs of liver disease include chronic intermittent vomiting and diarrhea. Vomiting is more common than diarrhea, loss of appetite, or weight loss. Drinking and urinating more often than normal may be the first signs, and a key reason for visiting the vet.

Whenever your dog continues to display any of these symptoms and the cause is not readily apparent, you should schedule an exam with your vet. Your pet’s health and life may depend upon it.

Pet Emergencies Needing a Vet

Monday, November 24th, 2014


An emergency trip to the veterinarian can be very stressful and result in a large bill, and there are some pet emergencies that absolutely require an immediate visit to the vet.

Deciding if your dog’s health problem is so serious that it needs immediate vet care can be a difficult decision that means the difference between spending thousands of dollars versus hundreds of dollars if you can schedule an appointment during regular hospital hours. However, it can also mean the difference between life and death for your dog.

    These are symptoms of problems that require immediate emergency veterinary care:

The most common health problems requiring an emergency visit to the pet hospital are open wounds, serious burns, and broken bones. If your dog has been hit by a car, has been in a fight with another animal, or has fallen victim to some other accident, take it to the emergency vet immediately.

White, blue or pale gums are signs of low blood pressure, poor circulation, anemia, internal bleeding, or shock. These symptoms are a clear sign that something is seriously wrong with your dog.

If you think your dog has ingested a toxic item like chocolates, pesticides, onions, or alcohol, take it to the emergency vet immediately.

If your dog seems lethargic you should take its body temperature. Normal body temperature for dogs ranges between 101 and 102 degrees. If your dog’s temperature is noticeably outside these ranges you need to seek immediate medical attention.

Abnormal and loud cries may indicate your dog is suffering from severe pain even if there are no external symptoms.

Irregular and excessive coughing can be a sign of an infection or possible problems with the trachea, or even the dog’s heart, and will require immediate attention.

A bloated abdomen may indicate serious abdominal trouble and restricted blood flow and may be accompanied by unusual vomiting. If left untreated, this condition can lead to death.

If your dog has heavy or labored breathing it could be attributed to overheating or a respiratory problem, but also could be caused by stress or obesity.

Another serious pet emergency needing a vet visit, is a seizure or unconsciousness. If this happens to your dog, take it to the pet hospital immediately.

To save yourself a needless and costly emergency trip to the vet, call the vet first and describe your dog’s symptoms before going to the pet hospital. The vet may recommend a regular scheduled appointment if he or she doesn’t think the dog’s problem is too serious.

Doggie Tips For Cold Weather

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Doggie tips for cold weather obviously isn’t anything you care about if you live in one of the southwestern states or Florida, but for the rest of the dog owners it’s important information to help keep their dog safe and warm all winter long.

If the weather outside is too cold for you, it’s also going to be too cold for your dog. If you live in a part of the country that has frigid winters, your dog should be kept indoors as much as possible during the cold weather months and never ever leave your dog alone in the car when the mercury drops below freezing.

During winter storms, city crews often put de-icers on sidewalks and parking areas to prevent people from slipping and falling. If a dog should get thirsty and decide to lap up some of the ice that has melted from the application of a de-icer, the water melt will be toxic and can cause sickness or possible death in a pet.

Prolonged exposure to dry, cold air and chilly rain, and the sleet and snow of winter can cause problems for a dog. Repeatedly coming out of the cold into dry heat can leave a dog with dry, itchy, flaking skin or severely chapped paws. Keeping your home humidified and drying your pet as soon as it comes out of the cold weather will keep it warm and comfortable.

If your weather is really cold and your dog has short hair, you can keep it warm by buying a pet sweater or coat to help your dog retain body heat and prevent its skin from getting too dry. It’s common to see small dogs dressed for the worst of winter, but size doesn’t matter when it comes to cold weather and your big dog will be just as comfortable in a warm and toasty sweater or coat.

When you take your dog for a walk in winter weather it’s also a good idea to have it wear winter booties with warm inner linings to help minimize contact with salt crystals which can be painful to a dog’s paws. It’s also the best way to keep your dog from stepping in poisonous anti-freeze and other chemicals used to melt ice, and inadvertently licking the toxic mix off its paws after returning home.

It’s not a good idea to give your dog frequent baths during cold winter weather. Bathing a dog too often removes essential oils from the skin and increases the chance its skin will become dry and flaky. If you must bathe your dog, use a moisturizing shampoo each time and dry the dog well.

Dogs burn more energy trying to stay warm in wintertime and this can result in dehydration. You can avoid this problem by feeding your dog just a little bit more food during cold weather (what dog is going to refuse extra food!) and be sure there is always fresh water for it to drink.

I hope these doggie tips for cold weather will help some of you pet owners who suffer through those long, cold winters.

Bad Foods For Dogs

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

There are certain foods that are bad for dogs and foods that are deadly to dogs. It’s vitally important you know what these foods are if you have a pet.

Grapes and Raisins
• Grapes and raisins can cause irreversible damage to the kidneys, possibly resulting in death.
• Eating as few as 4-5 grapes or raisins can be poisonous to a 20 pound dog.
• Signs of toxicity include vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and decreased urine flow.
• Toxicity signs usually begin within 24 hours but can start just a few hours after consuming these foods.

Onions
• Onions can cause a form of hemolytic anemia called Heinz Body Anemia, a condition that destroys red blood cells. Kidney damage may follow.
• Similar foods such as garlic and chives are also toxic to your dog’s system.
• The quantity of onions considered to be poisonous to a dog is not clear cut, but the effects can be cumulative. Avoid feeding your pet table scraps or any foods cooked with onions.
• Signs of toxicity include pale gums, rapid heart rate, weakness and lethargy, and may be accompanied by vomiting, diarrhea, and bloody urine.
• Treatment requires blood transfusions and/or oxygen administration, followed by fluid therapy.

Chocolate
• Chocolate and cocoa are definitely bad foods for dogs as they contain a chemical called theobromide that can adversely affect the heart, lungs, kidneys and central nervous system of a dog.
• Pure baking chocolate is the most toxic form of chocolate, whereas milk chocolate requires a higher quantity to cause harm. A 20 pound dog can be poisoned after consuming only 2 ounces of baking chocolate, but it would take nearly 20 ounces of milk chocolate to cause the same effects.
• Chocolate poisoning signs include over-excitement, tremors, seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, abnormal heart rate/rhythm, hyperthermia and coma.
• Treatment by your vet may include vomiting or administration of activated charcoal with fluid therapy and medications.

Caffeinated Items
• Caffeine is similar to the toxic chemical found in chocolate. It can damage the heart, lungs, kidney and central nervous system.
• Caffeine is found in coffee beans and coffee, large amounts of tea, some energy drinks, and chocolate.
• Signs typically begin with restlessness, hyperactivity and vomiting, followed by panting, weakness, increased heart rate, muscle tremors and convulsions.
• Treatment by your vet may include vomiting or gastric lavage and administration of activated charcoal with fluid therapy and medications.

Macadamia Nuts
• Macadamia nuts, while generally not considered fatal, can cause your dog to become severely ill.
• The actually toxin in the nuts is not known, nor is the mechanism of toxicity.
• Ingestion of just a handful of Macadamia nuts can cause adverse effects in any dog.
• Signs include vomiting, weakness, depression, joint and muscle pain, and swelling of joints.
• Onset of these signs typically occurs within 6-24 hours after consuming the nuts.
• Dogs usually recover within 24-48 hours after treatment but may need to be hospitalized if they become very sick.

Xylitol
• Xylitol is a sugar-free sweetener often found in chewing gum and candy. In dogs, it stimulates the pancreas to secrete insulin, resulting in hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Xylitol ingestion can also cause severe liver damage.
• As few as two pieces of gum can be hypoglycemic to a 20 pound dog. An entire pack of gum can cause permanent liver damage.
• Signs of toxicity can occur within 30-60 minutes after ingestion and include weakness, sudden collapse, and seizures.
• Your vet may induce vomiting or perform gastric lavage. An affected dog usually needs to be treated intravenously with dextrose (sugar) and monitored closely for 1-2 days. Many dogs improve with supportive care if treated early enough, though liver damage can be permanent.

Alcohol and Yeast Dough
• Alcoholic beverages contain ethanol – a seriously toxic chemical compound that causes central nervous system and respiratory depression in dogs.
• Uncooked yeast dough also produces ethanol.
• Even small amounts of ethanol can cause toxic effects in dogs.
• Signs include sedation, depression, lethargy, weakness, and hypothermia (low body temperature).
• Ethanol is rapidly absorbed into the system, so it is critical that you seek medical attention quickly. It is usually not helpful to induce vomiting in the dog. Proper treatment requires aggressive care with fluid therapy and medications.
• Under controlled circumstances, alcohol is used by veterinarians as an antidote for antifreeze (ethylene glycol) poisoning.

Fruit Pits and Seeds
• Apple seeds, cherry pits, peach pits, and plum pits contain the toxin cyanide.
• Signs of cyanide poisoning include vomiting, heavy breathing, apnea tachycardia, cardiac arrhythmias, coma, and skin irritation.

Food items we take for granted as humans can be bad for dogs, and may seriously injure or even kill your pet. Be a wise owner and be vigilant that your pet never consumes even small amounts of any of the above toxic foods.

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