By Sari Reis
Recently, one of our clients reported that his cat had been hospitalized due to ingesting the pollen from a lily in his backyard. His story was very distressing so I decided to research the plants and other products that are most toxic to our pets. I logged onto the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) website. Here is a top 10 list from their Poison Control Center compiled in 2016.
10. Garden products which include herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers. Please make sure the packaging is tightly sealed and that they are kept out of the reach of pets.
9. Numerous plants and flowers can be toxic to dogs and especially cats. Some of the worst offenders are lilies of any kind. They can cause kidney failure in cats very quickly. Azaleas cause gastro-intestinal (GI) upset as well as potential cardiac failure. Tulips can cause GI distress and hypersalivation. The sago palm, which is often found in our backyards, can cause GI distress, liver damage and death. For a complete list of toxic plants please visit aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control.
8. Rodenticides don’t just kill rats and mice but can also be fatal to our pets if ingested. Keep them locked away from where pets may have access.
7. Insecticides can be very hazardous to our cats and dogs. Check the instructions for use carefully.
6. Chocolate may be delicious, but it is highly toxic to dogs; especially the dark chocolates. If you are a chocolate eater, do not give any to your dog and be sure to put it away safely where the dog can’t help himself.
5. Household products used to clean or spruce up our homes, can be dangerous. Keep paint and glue away from pets as well as common cleaners containing bleach. Also, things like carpet fresheners, some essential oils, toilet cleaning tablets, dryer sheets, and products containing Febreze. Be sure to read labels to see if they are pet-safe and when not in use, lock them away.
4. Surprisingly, veterinary products made the list. Things like joint pain medication and other supplements as well as pain medications prescribed by the veterinarian are dangerous if not administered as instructed or if the animal helps himself.
3. Not all food fit for a human is OK for our dogs and cats. Avoid giving your pets onions, garlic, grapes or raisins, avocado, macadamia nuts, alcohol, xylitol (an artificial sweetener), yeast dough and dairy products which contain lactose. Many felines are lactose intolerant and it will cause GI upset.
2. Over-the-counter human medications such as ibuprofen and other NSAIDS, are lethal to pets, especially cats. Keep the caps secured and the bottles in a medicine cabinet where the pets can’t reach them.
1.Lastly, but most importantly, human prescriptions are the No. 1 poisoners of our animals. About 17 percent of calls reported to the ASPCA involve a pet ingesting their guardian’s medications. Heart medications, anti-depressants, ADHD drugs, etc. may be beneficial to you but can kill your pet.
The above list is based on reported calls to the ASPCA Poison Control Center. If you suspect your dog or cat has ingested any of the products listed above, call the ASPCA poison hotline immediately at 888-426-4435. They are available 24 hours a day, every day. Remember to be very vigilant in how you use and store products in and around your home and hopefully, you never have to make that call.
— Sari Reis is a certified humane education specialist and the owner of Mission Valley Pet Sitting Services. For more information, you can contact her at 760-644-0289 ormissionvalleypetsitting.com.