What to do if you suspect your pet has been poisoned

pets and poisons

Curiousity: not all plants are benign for our pets. Sunflowers are safe but which plants are not?

Every day, dog and cat owners are confronted with their pets eating all manner of plants and worrying about whether the vegetation is poisonous.

There are many thousands of species of flowers and plants, the good news is that only a very small percentage are truly poisonous and therefore dangerous to our pets.

It’s important to make sure that we all know which are the plants that are most deadly and therefore should be avoided by ours dog and cats. We really don’t want them being in contact with these poisonous flowers and plants!

There are over 700 plants that have been identified as toxic to dogs and cats! Here are 15 common varieties of plants of which to beware:

15 Toxic Plants to Avoid if You Have Pets
Both dogs and cats can be exposed to a variety of substances that could be harmful, but they are not always able to assess the level of risk. Sometimes they can, especially if they have survived in the past.

As well as some plants and fungi the poisons affecting our pets include veterinary and human drugs, some human foods, household, garden and DIY products along with venomous bites and stings.

We have a duty to prevent our pets from exposure to toxic substances. To complicate matters not all substances are poisonous to all animals or breeds. What may be fine for us could be toxic to our pets. Similarly, what is acceptable our dogs may not be safe for our cats.

As well as the dangers of swallowing poison our pets can also suffer from poisoning when certain substances come into contact with their fur and skin. It may be due to a chemical splash in the eye, or from inhaling a noxious vapour.

We should always be aware of all the possible ways poison can affect our pets. For example, it’s possible for poison to affect our animals if the substance takes the wrong route – like a pet swallowing a substance that is meant to be applied to the skin.

The most common poisons to affect dogs are human drugs.

When it comes to dog poisoning the most common culprit is ibuprofen, according to the Veterinary Poisons Information Service.

Other substances that crop up in reported dog poisoning cases include:
• Rat poison
• Paracetamol
• Grapes, sultanas, raisins and currants
• Chocolate

The most common poisons to affect cats are plants. Indeed, exposure to lilies and lily pollen is the most common cause of cat poisoning and can lead to kidney failure.

Otherwise the next most common cat poisons include:
• Permethrin (found in dog flea treatments)
• Benzalkonium chloride (in patio cleaners and disinfectants)
• Paracetamol

It’s often difficult to spot the effects of poison on our pets. The adverse effects can take hours – and even days – to manifest themselves. And symptoms vary widely, and include everything from convulsions through organ failure to gastro-intestinal disturbance.

The advice is not to wait for symptoms to develop. If there is any suspicion your pet has been poisoned, get to the vet as soon as possible or at least make an urgent phone call to get accurate information.

If you can’t reach your vet, contact [telnumlink]01202 509000[/telnumlink], which is the Animal Poison Line. This is an owners’ helpline operated by the Veterinary Poisons Information Service. Staffed by scientists and vets it is available 24 hours a day. Please note there is a £30 fee for each case but this is refundable if you vet calls about the same case.

Phone calls to this service have often been lifesaving. Alternatively, it may save you an expensive trip to the vet if it turns out not to be necessary.

Before calling a vet or the Animal Poison Line, gather as much information as you can like the brand name, the type of plant, any ingredients, the strength of the medication consumed, the quantity of medication. Be prepared to explain clearly any circumstances surrounding the episode.

When the phone call confirms that vet treatment is necessary, get to the vet as soon as possible.

Don’t try to make your pet vomit at home using any home remedies because there is a risk of harm. Vets have medication that has been proven to induce vomiting safely and effectively if it’s required at all.

Prevention is always better than cure

When pets die after poisoning the emotional consequences are devastating. To prevent poisoning hazardous plants and substances need to be removed from reach.

This requires storage to be in out-of-reach cupboards, or locked cabinets. Our dogs and cats are extremely curious creatures so keep chocolate out of reach, remove lilies from any homes with cats, only ever use rat bait in a pet-friendly way, and keep human medication out of reach.

Prevention is always going to be easier than saving the life of a poisoned pet. When we look after your pets all our carers are on the look out for potential hazards.

To find out more about how we can help you live in harmony with your pets get in touch.

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