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Protecting Your Pet

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As a pet owner, it is vital for us to be aware of items dangerous to our pets and what we should do if something happens.

Foods Toxic to Pets include: coffee grounds, fatty foods, tea, chocolate, avocado, alcohol, yeast dough, grapes/raisins, salt, macadamia nuts, onions, garlic and peanut butter (any products containing xylitol, an artificial sweetener). Always keep garbage out of a pet’s reach. Rotting food contains molds or bacteria that could cause food poisoning.

Cleaning Products. Many household cleaners can be used safely around pets. However, if the label states “keep pets and children away from area until dry,” follow those directions to prevent possible health risks. Always keep bleach and detergents away from pets. Store cleaning products in a secure cabinet out of the reach of pets and keep them in their original packaging or in clearly labeled and tightly sealed containers.

Insecticides/Rodenticides/Antifreeze.Flea and tick products labeled “for use on dogs only” should never be used on cats or other species. If a pet ingests rat poison, potentially serious or even life-threatening illness can result. Ethylene glycol-containing antifreeze and coolants can be fatal to pets. Insecticides, plant/lawn fertilizers, weed killers, ice-melting products and gasoline are also extremely dangerous. Place these items in areas completely inaccessible to pets.

Medications that pose high risk to pets include:non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen, acetaminophen, diet pills/vitamins, cold medicines, antihistamines and antidepressants.

Household Items. Potpourri smells good to pets but contains ingredients that can cause oral ulcerations and other problems, mothballs that contain naphthalene and can cause serious illness, including digestive tract irritation, liver, kidney and blood cell damage, swelling of the brain tissues, seizures, coma, respiratory tract damage (if inhaled) and even death (if ingested). Also protect your pet from tobacco products, pennies (those minted after 1982 contain zinc) and alkaline batteries.

If you suspect your pet ingested or came into contact with poisonous items, call your veterinarian immediately or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at (888) 426-4435.

Jeff Falone, DVM 

Valleydale Animal Clinic


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