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Common Household Items You May Not Realize Are Toxic To Your Horse And Dog

by Heather Carter March 16, 2023

Common Household Items You May Not Realize Are Toxic To Your Horse And Dog

Every year in the United States, there are more than 232,000 cases of accidental pet poisoning, and most of these cases were caused by common household items that may seem harmless to us but can cause damage to our beloved furry friends.
Depending on how your pet has been exposed, either through ingestion or inhalation, pet poisoning symptoms can include gastrointestinal and neurological problems, cardiac and respiratory distress, coma, or even death.
It is important to understand what items may cause harm to your pets and what to do in case of any accidental poisoning. Help keep your curious pets healthy and safe!

Top Potential Dog Poisons

  1. Over-the-counter Medications- This can include acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen, and naproxen (Advil, Aleve), as well as other herbal and nutraceutical products.
  2. Prescription medications for people- Drugs that might be beneficial and lifesaving for people can have the opposite effect in our pets. Even the smallest amount can cause major damage to our four-legged friends. These medications can include:
    • Prescription anti-inflammatory and pain medications (Can produce stomach and intestinal ulcers or kidney failure)
    • Antidepressants (Can cause vomiting and in more serious cases serotonin syndrome- a dangerous condition that raises temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure, and may even cause seizures)
    • Blood pressure medications
  1. People food- Animals have different metabolisms than people. Some foods, such as onions and garlic, as well as beverages that are perfectly safe for people can be dangerous, or fatal, for our dogs. Some foods to avoid:
    • Alcohol (Symptoms of alcohol poisoning in animals is similar to those in people. This can include vomiting, breathing problems, coma, and possibly death)
    • Avocado (Contains a substance called persin that can act as a poison for dogs, causing vomiting and diarrhea)
    • Macadamia nuts (Symptoms include weakness, overheating and vomiting)
    • Grapes and raisins (Even a small amount can lead to kidney failure in dogs)
    • Xylitol (This is an artificial sweetener found in many products, including sugar-free gum and candy. It causes a rapid drop in blood sugar, resulting in weakness, seizures, or even liver failure)

Other foods to keep away from your pet includes tomatoes, mushrooms, and most other seeds and nuts.

If you are unsure whether a food item is safe for your dog to consume or are worried that they might have gotten into something potentially poisonous immediately contact your trusted veterinarian.

  1. Chocolate and Caffeine- Chocolate and caffeine contain substances called methylxanthines that can cause vomiting in small doses, and potential death when ingested in larger quantities. (Darker chocolate contains more of these dangerous substances than white or milk chocolate). The amount consumed that is considered dangerous varies widely by breed and size of dog, but all dogs should avoid these items.
  2. Tobacco products- Includes cigarettes, cigars, and e-cigarettes along with their refills. (Also beware of accidental marijuana ingestion).
  3. Veterinary products- This includes medications, such as painkillers and de-wormers, as well as both flea and tick treatments too. Problems can occur when dogs accidentally ingest these products or when they are given more than what is required of their size. Talk to your vet before giving anything new to your pup!
  4. Household Products- Cleaners like bleach or Windex can lead to stomach and respiratory tract problems when dogs are exposed. Other chemicals such as antifreeze, paint thinner, or pool chemicals, can also act as a poison leading to stomach upset, depression, chemical burns, renal failure, or death.
  5. Rodenticides and Insecticides- Unfortunately, most baits used to kill rodents also looks appealing to our pets. Symptoms depend on the nature of the poison used, and typical signs of poisoning may not start right away and can take several days after consumption to appear. In some instances, dogs may have eaten the poisoned rodent, and has not directly been exposed to the toxin itself. Insecticides such as bug sprays or ant baits can be easily exposed to your dog either through ingestion or inhalation. 
  6. Plants- Some typical plants that can cause harm to your dog include:
    • Almond, apricot, cherry, nectarine, peach, and plum trees and shrubs
    • Aloe Vera
    • Amaryllis
    • Caster Bean
    • Chrysanthemum
    • Cyclamen
    • Corn Plant
    • Daphne
    • Dogbane
    • English Ivy
    • Foxglove
    • Golden Pothos
    • Hibiscus
    • Hyacinth and Tulip (especially the bulbs)
    • Hydrangea
    • Kalanchoe
    • Lilies: Daylily, Gloriosa Lily, Lily-of-the-Valley, Peace Lily, True Lily
    • Mother-in-Law Tongue
    • Mountain Laurel
    • Narcissus, Daffodil, Paperwhite, and Jonquil
    • Oleander
    • Philodendron
    • Poinsettia
    • Rhododendron and Azalea
    • Rosary Pea
    • Sago Palm
    • Schefflera
    • Stinging Nettle
    • Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow Plant
    • Yew Bush

This is not a full list of poisonous plants, before planting or bring new plants home, check that they will not cause any harm to your pets!

What To Do For Suspected Dog Poisoning

If you suspect that your dog may have been exposed to a potential poison, try to remember to stay calm and react quickly. Call your veterinarian or pet poison control center right away.

Pet Poison Control Centers

Follow the advice given and do your best to figure out what the poison exposure is and try and to collect samples if directed to by your veterinarian. The more information you can give them the better they can help your pup.

Top Potential Horse Poisons

  1. Avocado- Both the meat of the vegetable, as well as the skin and leaves can be harmful to horses.
  2. Caffeine and Chocolate- While tiny amounts of caffeine might not hurt your horse, you should still avoid giving them anything with caffeine in it. It is considered rare, but it could potentially cause irregular heartbeat problems. Chocolate, which contains caffeine, also contains something called theobromine, which is poisonous to horses in large amounts. It can lead to internal bleeding, metabolic derangement, seizures, and colic.
  3. Fruits with Stones (or Pits)- Any stone fruit (fruit with a pit), like whole peaches, avocados, and cherries, can be dangerous for a horse, producing health problems or causing a choking hazard.
  4. Cauliflower, Cabbage, Broccoli- It is best to avoid these vegetables! Excess consumption of these vegetables can lead to very bad gas problems and even colic.
  5. Bran Products- Feeding these products to your horse can cause digestive problems and diarrhea.
  6. Potatoes- Avoid feeding potatoes as they can cause problems when the potatoes are moldy or too “green”, leading to toxicosis in your horse.
  7. Rhubarb- Rhubarb contains calcium oxalates, which is toxic to horses, and can result in horses becoming very sick, thus leading to injury to their urinary tract and digestive systems, or even kidney failure.
  8. Meat Products- Horses are herbivores, not carnivores, so even though some horses have been known to take an occasional bite of a cheeseburger or hotdog, they should not be offered to them. Their digestive system is not meant to process meat of any kind.
  9. Dairy Products- Just like humans, horses can also be lactose intolerant. Milk might not be outright poisonous to horses, there is a high chance that it could lead to digestion issues.
  10. Onions and Garlic- These vegetables which are a part of the “allium” family of plants (also includes chives, shallots, and leeks) should generally be avoided by horses because they can damage red blood cells and lead to sickness.
  11. Tomatoes- Can cause increased heart rate, constipation, as well as other health dangers.
  12. Chemicals, Insecticides, and Pesticides- Avoid using these items in or near pastures and barns as they can be harmful toward horses. Follow directions closely and keep the bottles tucked away in a closed and locked container.
  13. Plants- Poisonous plants are a concern for all horse owners, especially for those that have horses that live out on pasture. Almost every pasture has some degree of toxic weeds and unwanted plants that can cause harm to your horse. Some plants to avoid include:
    • Bracken Fern
    • Buttercups / Pokeweed
    • Yew Plants
    • Nightshades
    • Foxglove
    • Alsike Clover
    • Ragwort
    • Red Maple Trees
    • Poison Hemlock and Water Hemlock
    • Black Walnut Tree

This is not a full list of poisonous plants, before planting or bring new plants home, check that they will not cause any harm to your pets!

What To Do For Suspected Horse Poisoning

If you suspect that your horse may have been exposed to a potential poison, try to remember to stay calm and react quickly. Call your veterinarian or pet poison control center right away.

Pet Poison Control Centers

Follow the advice given and do your best to figure out what the poison exposure is and try and to collect samples if directed to by your veterinarian. The more information you can give them the better they can help your horse.

 

 




Heather Carter

Author



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