All pet owners know that moment of panic when their beloved furry or feathered companion is eating something we are pretty sure they shouldn’t. For some reason, items that may seem disgusting to a human become a delicious treat to our pets. There are also items that are tasty to us that are not good for them. Many food and non-food substances are bad for pets to ingest, but how do you know what? What do you do if they eat something they are not supposed to?
There are some great resources available to easily research how to keep your pet healthy and happy. National Geographic published The Complete Guide to Pet Health, Behavior, and Happiness; The Veterinarian’s Approach to At-Home Animal Care in 2019 and it gives a comprehensive list of toxic items for pets including some surprises. Alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, marijuana, mushrooms, avocado, walnuts, tulips and daffodils all should be avoided by pets. Poinsettias are not considered toxic, but could make your pet ill if they eat a large quantity. Antifreeze and any kind of pesticide or herbicide are extremely toxic, as are many over-the-counter and prescription medications.
Symptoms to look for in a poisoned pet include weakness, lethargy, a lack of coordination, burns or sores in the mouth, excessive drooling and constricted pupils. If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, it is important to seek veterinary attention as soon as possible. Some highly toxic chemicals such as antifreeze can be fatal within five hours. If the vet suspects poisoning, they will administer activated charcoal to absorb the toxins before it hits the blood stream. They may also induce vomiting.
Keeping our pets safe is not always easy, but they are counting on us as much as we count on them for comfort and companionship. They show us unconditional love and the commitment we have made to them as owners is an important one. Our job is to give them love, health and happiness.
These great resources, and many more are available to you at your public library:
- The Ultimate Pet Health Guide; Breakthrough Nutrition and Integrative Care for Dogs and Cats by Gary Richter
- Complete Guide to Cat Care by Wendy Christensen and the Staff of the Humane Society of the United States
- The Holistic Cat: A Complete Guide to Natural Health Care by Holly Mash
- The Chicken Health Handbook by Gail Damerow
- The Rabbit Raising Problem Solver by Karen Patry