Xylitol: More Dangerous Than Chocolate, Yet Less Well Known About
Do you know what xylitol is? Are you (fully) aware of the danger it poses to dogs? You wouldn’t be alone if you answered “no” to either, or even both of these questions. In our ongoing Pet Safety Awareness survey over 50% of the respondents weren’t aware of xylitol or the danger it poses to dogs until they took the survey! By comparison, you’d be hard pressed to find a dog owner who isn’t aware that chocolate can be toxic to dogs. Right?
Yet xylitol can be far-more-dangerous to dogs than chocolate! The picture below shows the minimum amount of dark chocolate that could cause death in three different weights of dog — compared to the minimum number of pieces of xylitol-containing sugar free gum that could have the same devastating effect.
When looking for something fun and easy to do with kids at home many people turn to homemade playdough.
It can pose a serious health hazard to your pet
Most homemade playdough recipes (some can be found below BUT read this first) contain enticing ingredients that dogs and cats love. These recipes can contain flour, cornstarch, even oatmeal. And most call for a large quantity of salt, and it's this that can wreak havoc with your pet. Not only can these large quantities of salt cause neurologic problems such as seizures and coma, but they can also increase the workload of your pet's heart, which can prove problematic, especially in a pet with pre-existing heart problems.
There are dangers, regardless of whether they are raw or cooked bones, big or small.
It's a myth that raw bones are OK but cooked aren't
Are there dogs who chew and/or eat bones without incident? Of course. BUT there are also plenty of dogs, who do so with incident, including plenty who had previously done so without.
What kinds of problems do we vets see with dogs chewing or eating bones? Plenty.This type of dog emergency is painful, distressing, and costly. Some are even fatal. Here’s a sample of the bone-chewing/eating problems commonly seen by vets and experienced by dog owners:
We animal lovers know the feeling when your pet is sick and you feel helpless. Well, imagine if your dog is struggling to breathe, desperately gasping for what could be his last breath while you're otherwise helplessly racing to get him to the vet!
One Texas woman didn’t have to imagine this horrific scenario — it actually happened to Carolina and her 13-year-old dog, Scrappy, who had recently been diagnosed with Laryngeal Paralysis.
She "put the pedal to the metal" and was stopped by a patrolling Dallas police officer, who by the way has a series of (crime) prevention tips on YouTube - a kindred spirit for us at Preventive Vet - anyway, he didn't miss a beat. He grabbed Scrappy and took both of them to the Animal ER, stat! Likely saving Scrappy’s life, and definitely saving Carolina quite a bit of distress and anxiety!
Don’t forget to check your yard for mushrooms each year, especially during a wet Spring or Autumn.
Mushrooms can kill dogs, and they can do so quickly!
Many dogs are sickened and killed each year after eating poisonous mushrooms. And depending on the type of mushroom and the size of your dog, it may not even take much to send you and your pooch rushing to the Animal ER.
As a vet, I've seen the results of dogs eating Gorilla Glue and other polyurethane glues first hand. The stomach obstruction caused can be devestating, even fatal. It's the reason we've shared the dangers of polyurethane glues for some time now on our site, but it's the stories pet owners send us that really help to underscore just how important it is to take steps to keep these glues well out of your pets' reach.
Here's what Samantha C. shared with us: "My dogs also got into this glue this week. They are still at the vet's recovering from surgery. My boxer had a basketball-sized amount removed from his stomach, and my Siberian Husky had a softball-sized amount removed. We were quoted $2K for their surgeries (total). They ate the glue in a fit of panic after I accidentally locked myself out of my apartment. They could hear me outside, and just freaked. They jumped up on a shelf in the laundry room, which they normally NEVER go into, and ate it."
We thank Samantha for sharing her story so that others may avoid a similar emergency. It can so easily happen to anyone! The effects of the common canine trait of "eat first, ask questions later," and why they find this type of glue so enticing are demonstrated in this time-lapse video.
Many cats and dogs will be the first to take the bait
Each autumn and winter, there is a concerning rise of dog and catpoisonings due to rat and mouse poisons (rodenticides) that are seen in veterinary hospitals and animal ERs throughout the world.
With the declining temperatures and summer’s food bounty going away, rats and mice start seeking shelter and food in our homes, garages, sheds, and barns. To combat them, many people will put out rodenticides - chemicals and “baits” designed to kill rats and mice.
Unfortunately, cats and dogs will often be the first to take the bait. And as if that weren't enough, they can also be affected by eating poisoned rodents! Signs of rodenticide toxicity can be seen within hours to days, depending on the type of rodenticide used. Common clinical signs include:
You've likely read stories about dogs that have died of heat stroke after having been left in a car on a hot day. Maybe you even know someone who lost a pet to heat stroke as a result of leaving their pet in a parked car? But would you know what to do if you ever encountered such a situation?
Take these three scenarios, for example…
Scenario #1… You're walking by a parked car on a warm day. You notice, there under the dash, a dog panting away with big, wide-open, clearly distressed eyes. There are slobbery nose prints and fog on the inside of the window.
If you suspect GDV/Bloat, your dog needs to be brought for IMMEDIATE veterinary evaluation. Some people talk about giving certain over-the-counter medications to your dog in the earlier stages of GDV/Bloat, but honestly, doing so can make matters worse and the time it takes to do so may just be the difference between your dog living and dying. So, unless you are very familiar with this condition, and your veterinarian has instructed you otherwise, don't bother with any over-the-counter medications at home… just proceed directly to professional veterinary evaluation and treatment.
Even if you're concerned about the costs of appropriately treating a case of GDV/Bloat (more info on that in a minute), your dog should still be brought to the vet if you suspect this condition. If confirmed, and appropriate treatment cannot be authorized - for financial or other reasons - your suffering dog can be humanely euthanized at the vet's office, rather than left to languish and suffer the miserable death of GDV/Bloat. Please, don't trifle with this condition. Your dog deserves better.
Stomach bloat, torsion, and their deadly combination—Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV)—are conditions that all dog owners should be aware of, regardless of your dog's breed(s), age, or lifestyle. Awareness is truly crucial.
Why do I keep stressing the importance of awareness for all dog owners when there are well-documented breed predispositions and known or suspected risk factors? For the simple reason that awareness saves lives!
Please do not ask emergency or other specific medical questions about your pets in the blog comments. As an online informational resource, Preventive Vet is unable to and does not provide specific medical advice or counseling. A thorough physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinary-patient-client relationship is required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet is having an emergency or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic medical conditions, please contact or visit your veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.
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