Common Toxicities in Cats and Dogs

What to Know About Common Toxicities in Cats and Dogs

While raising a pet, it’s vital to know about the common toxicities in cats and dogs. Thankfully, the Pet Poison Helpline and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) compile a list of poisonous pet products and ingredients every year based on their poison helplines. 

 

The most common poisonings noted by vets, the Pet Poison Helpfile, and ASPCA are over-the-counter medications and human prescriptions, human foods, chocolates, plants, rodenticides, insecticides, garden products, and veterinary medications.

What is Cat and Dog Toxicity?

Toxicity is defined as the quality of being toxic or poisonous. Think of it as you would with Kryptonite and Superman. Kryptonite is Superman’s one weakness that could kill him, meaning you can label Kryptonite as being toxic to Superman. The same can be said for someone who has a specific food allergy or harmful chemicals in general.

 

Anything that’s potentially damaging to someone’s health immediately tends to fall under the toxic umbrella. As pet owners, it’s our job to ensure our pets are in the best health they possibly can be in. That health can be significantly affected by toxins, also known as poisonous products and ingredients.

 

Keep in mind, what’s okay for us to consume doesn’t make it okay for a cat or dog. Most people seem to understand this, but there’s a lot more that is toxic to cats and dogs than most realize. A good rule of thumb is to check with your pet’s vet and online to ensure whatever you’re giving them is okay.

Common Toxicities in Cats and Dogs

The only way for a pet owner to entirely prevent a poison issue with their cat or dog is to know what can be harmful to them. Having a thorough understanding of what they should and shouldn’t eat is one way to mitigate a complete disaster potentially. Let’s take a look at what you should be aware of with what your pets shouldn’t eat:

 

1. Human foods like grapes, raisins, xylitol, onions, garlic, protein and snack bars, nuts, avocados, and chocolate should always be avoided. It’s never a good idea to feed your cat or dog the food we eat, especially since so much of it can be poisonous to them.

 

2. Rodenticides: Despite no rats in Alberta, we do see rodenticide toxicity regularly enough. It’s a no-brainer that rat poison is highly harmful to pets. Be mindful of any rodent chemicals you have around the house, and your pets trying to get into them. You’d be surprised how many accidents happen with these particular products.

 

3. Insecticides and garden products like fertilizers are toxic to many pets, not just cats and dogs. If you’ve recently sprayed products on a garden or your farm, give it some time before your dog is let outside around it. Same with indoor garden products and anything else that gives off a hazardous spray.

 

4. Over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, cold and flu medicine are all toxic. The most significant rule to follow is to store your medications carefully. Never leave pills or pill bottles lying around. All it takes is a dog to bite down on the pill bottle just for it to rip open with everything that’s in it to flow out.

 

5. Chocolate toxicity is probably the most common kind of toxicity we ever field phone calls about. People love chocolate, and it’s straightforward to leave it lying around. Thankfully, most pet owners are aware their pets shouldn’t consume chocolate. Still, it’s worth mentioning, so always avoid having it near your pets.

Common Signs Your Cat or Dog Has Been Poisoned

Although it’s beneficial to know what your pet shouldn’t get into, it’s also worthwhile to know if your cat or dog has been poisoned by mistake. Pets can be very mischievous, getting into arbitrary products around them just for entertainment value. Try to be aware of your pet’s surroundings, but be mindful enough to give them health checks.

 

If your cat or dog has been poisoned by mistake, you’ll know it. Your pet will be off, either coughing, drooling, twitching, having difficulty breathing, vomiting, having diarrhea, etc. If your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms, make sure you bring them to their vet as soon as possible.

 

  • Coughing

  • Drooling/salivation

  • Seizure or twitching

  • Difficulty breathing (labored or rapid)

  • Diarrhea

  • Vomiting

 

What You Should Do If Your Cat or Dog is Poisoned

If your cat or dog has been poisoned or is showing symptoms that they were, check on them first. While you’re with them, make sure you call the poison hotline and your vet. If your vet isn’t open, call an emergency vet and see if you can bring them. Professionals will know what to do in these situations, so trust them.

Want to Learn More About Common Toxicities in Cats and Dogs?

Hopefully, this quick look at common toxicities in cats and dogs gave you everything you need to know about the matter. Being mindful of what can potentially be harmful to your cat or dog can help eliminate health issues and keep them healthy and happy for a long time.

 

Gateway Veterinary Centre is a locally owned, full-service canine and feline animal hospital and vet clinic on Gateway Boulevard in Edmonton, Alberta. You can learn more about our team and reach us 7 days a week by giving us a call or text! Be sure to call us or visit aspca.org or pet poison helplines for more info related to cat and dog poisoning or toxicity issues.

Call us or visit aspca.org or pet poison helplines for more info.

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