As an integrative vet, we take a broad spectrum approach to pet care, and that means helping our patients’ human companions prevent unnecessary pet illnesses and injuries. That’s why this headline caught our eye.
Human OTC Medications Lead ASPCA’s Annual List of Top Toxins for Pets
The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) announced that human over-the-counter (OTC) medications pose the greatest threat to pets in terms of toxicity for the seventh year in a row. This tells us that pet owners aren’t well-informed about the dangers of human medications – as well as other pet-toxic household items.
Spending a single hour of your life reviewing this list and taking action to keep common household medications, cleaners and other solutions locked away or well out of the reach of your pets can save your pets life – not to mention hundreds of dollars in unnecessary vet bills.
If you suspect your pet has consumed something toxic, call the APCC immediately at (888) 426-4435, or contact your local veterinarian as soon as possible.
Prescription & OTC Medications
The APCC received nearly 37,000 calls just last year from worried individuals whose pets had consumed prescription drugs. The most commonly ingested medications included:
- Medications for ADHD
- Heart medications
We understand that humans who need these daily doses find it more convenient to keep items like this out on the countertops, in easily accessible locations. Unfortunately, it makes your pet more prone to being curious and ingesting medications that cause permanent damage or pet fatality.
Even seemingly mild or safe OTC medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and cold and flu medicines cause life-threatening toxicity in pets, leading to serious ulcers and kidney damage.
While integrative vets strive to minimize the need for pet-friendly medications whenever possible, we absolutely want to keep our patients safe from harmful doses of human medications. Please keep all medications in cabinets, out of the reach of pets – and use phone alerts or other gadget reminders to ensure you take human medications as prescribed.
Many pet-specific medications are compounded to make them taste good, which means they need to be kept away from pets in between doses.This includes supplements, like joint and allergy chews, which should only be administered as directed.
Human foods can be toxic to pets
While sharing minimal table scraps or human foods with pets is fairly common, it’s essential that you speak with your vet about human foods that are poisonous for pets. Some examples include:
- Xylitol (a common sweetener)
Read, People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets, for a specific list and more information on the topic.
We understand the desire to control your pet’s food source. In fact, a well-balanced pet diet is often part of a holistic pet care plan, but it’s essential that you know exactly which ingredients – and how much – to feed your pet to avoid serious health issues.
Rodenticides, Herbicides & Pesticides
Interestingly, some of the ingredients used in common rodenticides, herbicides and pesticides – most notably snail/slug killers – taste sweet or smell appealing. The same “bait” used to trick your animal nemeses into consuming the poisons are equally appealing to our beloved pets. As a result, your pet may feel like his/her favorite outdoor areas have transformed into a dessert bar, and that can have devastating consequences.
Keep all “-cides” and other known toxins/poisons sealed tightly and put away in locked cabinets. Read instructions carefully and follow pet safety instructions to the letter. Whenever possible, speak to an integrative vet about “pet safe” or veterinarian-approved methods to eradicate some of the most common indoor and outdoor pests.
Household & Outdoor Plants
Humans often assume that pets will instinctively avoid toxic plants, but that isn’t always the case. More than 25% (11,857) of the calls to the APCC last year were related to cases when pets ingested a household or outdoor plant and became ill.
We recommend bookmarking this alphabetical list of Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants, consulting it whenever you’re ready to add a new plant to the house or the outdoor landscape plan.
Other Common Indoor & Outdoor Items
Some of the other common indoor and outdoor items that pets can find toxically irresistible include:
- Fertilizers and soil enhancements
- Gardening aids
- Cleaners and cleansers
- Paints and stains
Keep pets contained and away from these items when they’re in use, and store them safely when not in use.
Don’t forget to post the APCC’s phone number (888-426-4435) in a visible location “just in case,” and never hesitate to call them if you feel your pet may have been exposed to – or consumed – something toxic. The sooner your pet gets treatment, the better.
Have more questions about pet health and safety? Schedule a consultation with an integrative vet, like the Wise and Wonderful Integrative Veterinary Clinic in Santa Rosa.