Poisons

Each year throughout Australia thousands of dogs are treated for poisonings of one kind or another. Many of these poisons are found around the home as chemicals, drugs, plants, in foods, garden products and household cleaners, waste, other animals; the list is endless.

Poisons can exist in the most unlikely foods and products and owners can be innocently feeding or exposing their dogs to an item, unaware of its poison potential.

Curiosity has killed as many dogs as cats, especially where poisons are concerned. It seems the more pungent the smell of some poisons, the more attractive the substance. No one expects their dog to lap up pints of antifreeze, petrol or kerosene, but it has happened and more frequently than you can imagine.

One man's treat can be another dog's poison. The main one that comes to mind is, believe it or not, chocolate, because it contains the poison theobromine, a definite canine no no. The toxic dose of theobromine is between 100 and 250 mg per kilo of the dogs weight; 100mg of chocolate contains 160mg of theobromine. Cocoa, the worst offender is closely followed by plain and then milk chocolate.

Like pear pips, and the kernels of plums, peaches and apricots, apple core pips are poisonous. They contain cyanide and in large quantities can prove fatal. A slice of apple is the better alternative.

Even with the best intentions, don't try and treat your dog for any ailments with lotions, potions and pills designed for human consumption. Many are poisonous to dogs. Common household antiseptic, if used on a dogs wound may cause inflammation of its tongue, if he licks the affected area.

One of the more common causes of poisoning is when the dog is given his masters medication by mistake. Child proof is not always dog proof. Plastic bottles with child-proof lids make an entertaining rattle are easily bitten through, allowing the contents to be consumed. It is worth knowing that flea preparations, formulated for cats can de poisonous for dogs. And this is also vice versa.

The garden presents a plethora of poisonous possibilities. Don't assume that something noxious or inedible will appear the same to a dog - it wont, thanks to the dog's natural instinct and inquisitiveness. Dogs follow the sniff and lick test. The great outdoors is not so great for dogs that are tempted to sample what they fancy, only to find it's poisonous. Toads fascinate dogs. Until they lick or bite them. The venom is extremely toxic and , quick-acting and the symptoms dramatic; the dog will salivate excessively and repeatedly paw at its mouth. Immediate veterinary treatment is necessary. I f the dog has eaten the toad, it's good night nurse. Dogs, like humans can suffer from allergies to bee and wasp stings and multiple attacks can kill.

These days many garden sheds have a variety of chemicals, including weed killers, fungicides, insecticides, rodenticides, etc. Dogs can be attracted to these substances and can be poisoned if they eat, lick contaminated fur or paws, or even by absorbing poison through the skin.

Treat your dog like you would a child. Do the right thing and look out for their welfare. Knowing what is poisonous and remove the temptation must be a special rule.

If you suspect that your dog may be poisoned, seek veterinary advice immediately.

Submitted by John Chandler

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