TOXIC FOODS: Common Festive Season Household Products That Could Be Toxic To Your Pets
By John Morgan | Dated September 15, 2018
Top Ten Household Toxins For Pets
Many of us see our beloved pets as much-loved family members, so of course we want to do all we can to protect and care for them.
Unfortunately, sometimes our mischievous furry friends’ curiosity gets the better of them. It’s quite common for our pooches and moggies to curiously nose around our homes – getting into cupboards, drawers and places they shouldn’t be.
This can quite commonly lead to them accidentally ingesting some potentially harmful toxins that may be safe for humans but deadly to our beloved pets.
So it’s important to know what these hazards are, what symptoms to look out for, and when to seek life-saving help.
Here are the top 10 common household toxins to look out for:
Although we may think a little bit of chocolate is generally okay for our pets, there are certain types – generally the less sweet and the darker varieties – that are toxic to dogs and cats.
- Elevated heart rate / abnormal heart rhythms
- Hyperthermia (elevated body temperature)
- Vomiting and diarrhoea
2. Snail baitAs snail bait is often in pellet form, dogs particularly can find it attractive to eat as it resembles food – yet it can lead to major health issues (in some cases even death) due to the active ingredient metaldehyde.
- Anxiety and panting
- Twitching, seizures and/ or convulsions
- High fever
3. Grapes and sultanas
Although the exact substance that causes the toxic reaction from grapes, sultanas and raisins within dogs and cats isn’t yet known, they have been proven to be very harmful to our pets if ingested and can cause a devastating kidney failure.
4. Mouldy food/ compost
While mould on dog food should certainly be avoided, the real danger occurs when pets get into household trash or eat garbage outside – which can contain fungal neurotoxins or hepatotoxins – leading to serious illness.
- Muscle tremors
- Loss of appetite and lethargy
- Elevated body temperature
- Yellow colour change to gums or skin
5. Rat bait
Rat bait acts as an anticoagulant (preventing the blood from clotting) by depleting the body’s supply of vitamin K – so therefore very harmful to our pets if swallowed.
- Pale or bleeding gums
- Bleeding nose
- Vomiting and/ or diarrhoea
- Coughing or respiratory difficulties
- Excessive bruising from minor, or no trauma.
Most of us love our morning cuppa, but the caffeine in coffee and teabags (as well in soft drinks and some supplements) can be very harmful to our pets.
- Shortness of breath/ loud breathing
7. Macadamia nuts
Macadamia nuts have proven to be a very serious health risk to pets, and primarily affects nerve function (specifically, the motor neurons, neuromuscular junctions, and muscle fibres).
- Severe lethargy
- Increased body temperature
- Paralysis of the limbs or inability to walk
Wild mushrooms often grow in our backyards, lawns, nature strips, in parks – all common places our pets are very much exposed to.
Dogs in particular tend to be tempted by them, but they contain toxins that will trigger numerous organ systems – including the kidneys, liver and brain.
- Nervous system abnormalities
- Lethargy and inappetence
- Sudden death
9. Plant poisoning
Many household plants contain toxic substances that can be very harmful to pets – including common ones like tulips, oleander, azaleas, lilies – and even onions, leeks and garlic.
- Changes in urine
10. Flea and tick products
Some common flea and tick treatments are topical drugs, which can be safely applied to our pets’ skin to treat them.
However, as they generally contain pyrethrins, which are toxic to cats and if orally ingested they are very harmful.
- Profuse drooling
- Agitation and/ or weakness
- Seizures and / or tremoring
- Difficulty breathing
For further information or any questions, contact Gordon Vet Hospital on (02) 9498 3000.