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Signs of Pet Poisoning and What to Do

graphic showing signs of pet poisoning
Picture of Dr. Rick Coufal, DVM

Dr. Rick Coufal, DVM

Dr. Rick Coufal is the founder and lead veterinarian for Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic. Coufal graduated from State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in May of 2000.

Does your dog or cat make it a point to smell you after a day away from home? They want to know the details of where you have been, what other animals you have been around, and even what you have had to eat. Our pets are ingrained with a heightened sense of smell which is an instinctual method of survival, but it may also lead them into trouble. In the lives of our pets, there are many potentially poisonous elements all around them, from toxic household foods to poisonous plants.

March is Pet Poison Prevention Month and as your Colorado Springs vet, we want to make you aware of the potential poisons your pet may face both inside the home and out, signs to watch for, and what to do in an emergency. Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic wants to help ensure that your pet leads a happy and safe life.

graphic showing signs of pet poisoning

What Can Be Poisonous to Your Pet?

Poisons exist both inside and outside of your home. It may be simple to identify obvious sources of poison; however, there are many sources that are not so obvious. The best method to protect your pet against poisoning is to monitor what they sniff and digest, but we understand that pets can get into trouble quickly and you may not be able to stop them from swallowing something dangerous. Below are a few examples of common poisons. Take a look at this comprehensive list from ASPCA for additional potential concerns.

Poisonous Foods

Alcohol: Even small traces of alcohol can cause vomiting and diarrhea in pets, severe cases may lead to coma and death.

Citrus: Citric acid can cause damage to the nervous system even if only small amounts are ingested.

Grapes and raisins: Both of these items carry toxins that may cause kidney failure.

Xylitol: Xylitol is traditionally used as a sweetener in many food products, such as gum and some types of peanut butter. Ingesting may lead to liver failure and possibly seizures. Many dogs love peanut butter, so it is a good idea to thoroughly read labels and verify that your peanut butter does not contain xylitol. In addition, dogs should be monitored while outside to make sure that they do not pick up chewing gum.

Poisonous Plants

Aloe: The outside of the Aloe plant may cause vomiting, lethargy, and diarrhea.

Calla Lily: These flowers may cause burning and irritation of the mouth, excessive drooling, vomiting and difficulty swallowing.

Poinsettia: Poinsettias may cause stomach irritation and vomiting.

Poisonous Household Items

Essential Oils: Cats tend to be more affected by essential oils, experiencing symptoms such as gastrointestinal upset, central nervous system depression, and possible liver damage. It is best to use essential oils in areas that are inaccessible to pets. You may also contact us to inquire whether your essential oils are safe to use around your pets.

Fabric Softener Sheets: If ingested, fabric sheets may cause excessive drooling, vomiting, fever, and intestinal blockage.

Cigarettes and Nicotine Patches: Products that contain nicotine may cause severe vomiting, elevated heart rate, seizures, respiratory failure, and possibly death.

How To Prepare For A Pet Emergency

We understand that all pet owners want to keep their precious loved ones safe, but despite best efforts to monitor their every move, it is still possible that they will get into something that may harm them. If your pet comes into contact with something harmful, then we want you to be prepared. Here are some emergency preparations that you can do today to put your mind at ease:

  • Have contact information for an emergency, after-hours vet.
  • Prepare a basic pet first aid kit, but make sure to consult with a vet prior to any treatment.
  • Note the signs and symptoms to inform your vetor emergency contact.
Contact Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic

At Ponderosa Vet Clinic in Colorado Springs, we understand that pet poisoning can be a scary time; fortunately, we have the knowledge and equipment to help your pet thrive in any environment. Contact us today if you have any questions or concerns. We always treat you and your pet like family, but if an emergency occurs then please call an emergency poison control helpline immediately.

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Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic is seeking an enthusiastic and caring veterinarian to work relief, part-time or full-time in our general practice. PVC is a full-service, 3+ doctor, small-animal veterinary hospital. We have established an excellent reputation for developing lasting relationships with our clients and for providing compassionate and quality care to our patients.