Back to School, Back to Safety: Avoiding Pet Toxins

pet toxinsRegardless of how long you’ve shared your space with a four-legged companion, you are probably well aware of their propensity to sniff out food wherever it may be.

The contents of a backpack, purse, or lunchbox can be particularly tantalizing, and with school back in session the opportunities for scrounging are nearly endless.

Unfortunately, these seemingly harmless items can actually pose a significant risk to our pets in the form of toxins such as certain foods, medication, and even chewing gum.

Let’s take a look at the most common pet toxins found in the backpacks of our little students and learn how to keep our furry loved ones safe.

Common Pet Toxins

The following items commonly found inside backpacks and purses pose a significant risk to pets:

  • Xylitol – This artificial sweetener often found in sugar-free gum, mints, multivitamins, mouthwash, baked goods, and even peanut butter is extremely poisonous to dogs. Small amounts cause a dangerous drop in blood sugar, and if too much is consumed liver failure and/or death may result.
  • Asthma inhalers – When accidentally chewed on and punctured by a pet, asthma inhalers deliver a toxic and potentially life-threatening dose of medication.
  • Medications – Each year, almost half of the calls to the Pet Poison Hotline involve ingestion of human medications. Pain relievers, antidepressants, and ADHD medications are often found in backpacks and purses, and pose serious risks to our pets if they are eaten.
  • Toxic treats – Chocolate, raisins, mixed nuts, and other toxic snack and lunch items are often irresistible to cats and dogs.
  • Nicotine – Nicotine in any form, whether it’s cigarettes, gum, patches, or e-products, is extremely dangerous to pets if ingested.
  • Hand sanitizer – Despite its bitter taste, some pets will still consume this backpack staple, leading to low blood pressure and gastrointestinal distress.
  • Preventing a Pet Emergency

    Prevention is your best bet when it comes to keeping your pets from ingesting harmful substances. Designate a closet (with a door) or install hooks or shelves out of reach of pets where backpacks, purses, and coats can be stored. Make sure all family members understand the importance of keeping these items away from pets.

    If you suspect your pet has ingested a poisonous substance, please give us a call at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital, or take your pet to the nearest emergency veterinary hospital. You might also consider programming the Pet Poison Helpline into your phone.

    As always, if you have any questions or concerns regarding your pet, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.

    Let’s take a look at the most common pet toxins found in the backpacks of our little students and learn how to keep our furry loved ones safe.

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