Poison Prevention: Tips for Keeping your Dog Safe

Poison Prevention: Tips for Keeping your Dog Safe

Posted by Lauren Gwinn on 1st Apr 2019

As dog owners, we all worry about keeping our pups as safe as we possibly can. We watch them closely outside on the trails, we try to feed them the very best food and treats, we keep their beds and crates clean and fresh, but have you ever inspected your home? Do you inspect the homes of your friends and family when you take them to visit? What about that amazing vacation Airbnb home you go visit? There are so many different foods, plants, and household items that are harmful and even fatal, to our pets that most of us don’t even know about! It’s so important to be prepared, and to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms that our pets may be in danger. During Poison Prevention Awareness Month, we teamed up with the other half of PalmettoMoonPointers & veterinarian Dr. Brenton Gwinn to give us some tips that will help you keep your dog safe year-round.

One of the most important rooms in a house when it comes to poison prevention is typically the kitchen. Often, dog owners want to share their favorite snacks with their dogs- unknowingly making their dogs’ sick- or worse! It is best to keep your dog on an approved diet, or consult with a professional on safe snacks for your dogs- assuming is a dangerous way of thinking!
Some common foods that can be harmful to your dogs (keeping in mind, the size of your dog and amount of food can affect the degree of poisoning):

-Alcohol
-Chocolate (especially dark & bakers chocolate)
-Coffee & Caffeine
-Grapes & Raisins
-Onions, Garlic, Cloves
-Xylitol (this is common in “sugar free” products such as gum, some peanut butters & candy)

Household cleaning products, plants and other items that can be found all around your house, and in your yard, or garage are also very important to keep inaccessible to your dogs. Some common household toxins include:

-Some Essential Oils
-Bleach or other cleaning chemicals
-Antifreeze
-Laundry cleaning tabs
-Toilet cleaning tabs
-Ibuprofen
-Some household plants
-Batteries
-Insecticides
-Rodent poisons
-Prescription drugs

It is important to note that this is not a comprehensive list. Some of these items may affect some dogs but not others. It is most important to not wait until your dog is symptomatic before calling for help. It is always less expensive and safer for your dog to contact a professional immediately because there is a small window of time to treat your dog with many of the common poisons. Symptoms range from dog to dog and poison to poison. Some common symptoms include:

-Vomiting
-Diarrhea
-Lethargy
-Difficulty breathing
-Convulsions or Seizures

In the case of a known poisoning, do not rely on the internet or social media for help. It is important you call a professional immediately. It is not safe to give home remedies, or induce vomiting without the recommendation of a veterinarian. It IS smart for you to keep a bottle of hydrogen peroxide and activated charcoal with you in your home and on trips, especially when you’re not close to a veterinary hospital or clinic. We keep these items in our emergency first aid kit with us so they are always available to use under the recommendation of a veterinarian.

There are poison control helplines available 24/7, and these are great numbers to save in your phone, as well as write down and keep somewhere readily available!

Pet Poison Helpline: 855-764-7661

Animal Poison Control Center (APCC): 888-426-4435

While we all try to keep our dogs as safe as we can, we all know things happen. It is most important to know common household toxins, recognize signs and symptoms, and be prepared to seek help!

Travel Tip: When traveling out of town with your dogs, it’s best to look up local veterinarians and emergency hospitals BEFORE you go! Write all their information down on a card and stick it in your car and keep the information in your phone- we never want to have to use it but it is better to be safe than sorry!

Travel Tip: When staying away from home with your dogs, it’s important to know a little about the place that you’re staying. Whether you’re staying in a hotel, Air bnb, or at the home of a friend or family member, make sure you ask about any household toxins that could be accessible to your dogs! 

Dr. Brenton Gwinn DVM, the other half of Palmetto Moon Pointers, is a mixed animal veterinarian at Palmetto Veterinary Medicine & Surgery in South Carolina. His passion is surgery and orthopedics! He loves to trail ride on the back of his horse, Woodrow, with his three dogs by his side, Sutton, Deuce, and Banks.

Lauren Gwinn is a writer and photographer and runs Palmetto Moon Pointers, a blog about hiking, backpacking, and travel with dogs. You’ll find her in the mountains, or on the back of her horse, always with her two Vizslas, Sutton & Banks, and border collie/Heeler mix, Deuce, by her side! Follow her adventures @palmettomoonpointers on Instagram and visit her blog: http://palmettomoonpointers.com