Now, you might wish that you beloved pet whom you spoil with high-quality food and delicious treats should be smart enough tonot swallow anything and everything that he can fit into his mouth. Sadly, we find that is not always the case. Here’s a list of just some of the things that are bad for your beloved pet to eat.
A few of the most frequent things I’ve seen cause problems include clothing, towels, dog toys, human toys, feminine hygiene products and diapers. For cats, some of the more dangerous things they can eat include string and ribbons. (Especially when a needle is attached to one end.) Long, skinny (linear) foreign bodies like these can potentially be even more dangerous. The risk with all of these hazards is an obstruction. Foreign-body obstruction will cause your pet to feel awful, probably throw up quite a bit, and can result in intestinal perforation and peritonitis, a life-threatening emergency. If your pet eats a foreign body, they may need to have surgery to remove the object.
My sister’s cats love chewing on electric cords. They have learned that if they destroy a cable, they can make my sister dance around and yell. They find this endlessly amusing. However, electric cords have made the list as well, not because it is expensive to constantly replace them, but because cord chewing can cause burns in the mouth.
Corrosive materials will also do a number on the mouth as well as the intestinal tract. You might recognize batteries and fireworks as objects that can leak corrosive material, and therefore should not be consumed, (seriously, some dogs will really eat anything) but did you know that fabric sheets contain cationic detergents? These detergents can cause corrosive injury to the mouth. They can also irritate the skin, so quit rubbing your cat with Bounce, she’s soft enough already.
Fireworks in particular can contain a variety of toxic substances, so store them carefully. Often, they contain chlorates (also present in matches and naphthalene moth balls) which can cause methemoblobinemia, a blood disorder that prevents oxygen from getting to the tissues.
What do sunblock, desitin, and most pennies minted since I was born all have in common? They all contain zinc! There are a number of household items that contain zinc: The danger with this material is that when it reaches high levels in the blood stream, it causes another type of blood problem called hemolytic anemia in addition to irritating the intestinal lining.
There are many, many toxic plants that can do lots of bad things when chewed or swallowed. In general, keep plants away from pets. It’s always fun to see brightly-colored vomit after a dog eats a paintball, but ingesting them can cause fluid to move into the gut, causing electrolyte changes and leading to vomiting, diarrhea, and tremors.
Okay, hopefully we don’t need to talk about baits and poisons because I’m sure you know if it is used to kill animals, it is not good for your pets. This goes for anything designed to kill mice, rats, ants, slugs, snails and flies.
While you are securing your poisons, please also secure your medications: Drugs all have side effects, and a dog is not a big cat or a small human. Only give your pet medication that has been prescribed to her, and then only as indicated. Do not take medication advice from the Internet! I cannot emphasize this enough. I have seen more toxicities from owners giving pets their own medications because the Internet told them to than any other type of toxicity. It is never okay to give your pets any medication unless your veterinarian says it’s all right. Some of the most problematic and life-threatening medications for pets are human pain medications, vitamins, antidepressants, cold and flu medications and chemotherapy drugs.
Antifreeze is a bad combination of extremely sweet and extremely deadly, even in small doses. There is an antidote (fomipazole), but it must be given within the first few hours of ingestion. Otherwise, toxins that are produced result in non-reversible kidney failure, which leads to death. If you keep antifreeze in the house, and you’re worried about being able to get ahold of the antidote in time, talk to your local veterinarian for emergency options (you might be surprised by what they have to say.)
Tell your pets not to put toads, spiders, snakes, or insects into their mouths either. These can all cause stomach upset, among other things.
Who would have thought it would be so tough keeping our furry friends from destroying themselves? In case you’re starting to think that you’d better duct tape your pet’s mouth closed, look out for a biscuit recipe in the next few days. I promise it will be pug-tested and approved!