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Poisons a threat to animals August 05, 2005 11:14 PM,1426,MCA_521_3978508,00.html

By Cindy Wolff

August 5, 2005

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center received more than 95,000 calls last year about animals being exposed to potentially poisonous substances. Here are five of the Top 10 most frequent calls. The rest will be in next week's column.

Human medicines: The center received more 38,000 calls involving common human drugs such as painkillers, cold medications, antidepressants and dietary supplements.

Human medicines should never be given to a pet without consulting a veterinarian. Dr. Steven Hansen, senior vice president of the center, said one extra-strength acetaminophen can be deadly to a cat, or four regular-strength ibuprofen can lead to serious kidney problems in a 10-pound dog.

Medications should always be stored in a secure cabinet above the counter and out of the reach of pets.

Insecticides: More than 20,000 cases pertaining to products used to kill fleas, ticks and other insects were handled last year.

Some of the products sold in department stores are not safe for your pets. Read the warning labels and follow the instructions.

Rodenticides: In 2004, approximately 8,500 calls were made about rat and mouse poisons. Depending on the type of rodenticide, ingestion can lead to potentially life-threatening problems including bleeding, seizures or damage to the kidneys or other vital organs. Only place bait in areas that are completely inaccessible to pets, Hansen said.

Veterinary medications: Close to 8,000 cases involving animal-related preparations such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, heartworm preventatives, dewormers, antibiotics, vaccines and nutritional supplements were managed by the center last year.

Although these products are for pets, it's important to read and follow label directions for use. Flea and tick medicines are intended for use in certain species only, and potentially serious problems could result if given to the wrong animal or at too high of a dose, Hansen said.

Household cleaners: The center reported 4,800 people called about cleaning agents such as bleaches, detergents and disinfectants.

All household cleaners and other chemicals should be stored in a secure location and pet bowls should be cleaned with a mild dishwashing detergent instead of a strong chemical.

For more information on other substances potentially hazardous to animals, log onto:

To reach the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, call (888) 426-4435.

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Humane Society answers questions August 05, 2005 11:17 PM

Pet owners know that dogs and cats, and especially puppies and kittens, can get into just about anything! However, not all pet owners are aware of just how many things around the house can be harmful to animals. Here we answer a few commonly asked questions and also encourage you to visit the ASPCA website (, section on "pet care," for more complete information.

Q: I've heard that chocolate is harmful to animals. Are there other foods my pets should not eat?

A: Yes! Chocolate is probably the most well-known food to avoid, but there are several others that can be harmful -- alcoholic beverages, avocado, coffee, fatty foods, macadamia nuts, moldy or spoiled foods, onions and onion powder, garlic, raisins and grapes, salt, yeast dough, and products sweetened with xylitol.

Q: What about plants to avoid?

A: There are many plants that have been found to be toxic to animals -- just a few of the more common are azaleas, many types of lilies, amaryllis, ivy, daffodils, tomato plants, some mushrooms, clematis, elephant ears, foxglove, gladiolas, philodendron, tulips, and iris. Many pet owners have avoided having poinsettias in there homes during the holidays, but this plant is not that toxic. It may cause stomach upset, but is generally not too harmful. The ASPCA has a very helpful and much more comprehensive list of toxic and non-toxic plants on their website.

Q: What other common substances can hurt or kill my pet?

A: Incorrect use of flea and tick control products, pets going onto areas treated with insecticides or herbicides, giving human medicines to pets -- common medicines like ibuprofen can be deadly to animals, and antifreeze, very small amounts can be deadly, consider changing to propylene glycol-based antifreeze which is much less toxic.


Do you have a story idea? Questions? Comments? E-mail the Searcy Humane Society at

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US OH) Keep Your Pets Safe While Maintaining Your Lawn and Garden August 10, 2005 9:00 AM

You may not think of your lawn and garden as hazards for your pet, but, if you're not careful, you could put them in danger.† Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about how to keep your†animal friends safe.

1.† What plants are toxic to pets?

Cardiotoxic plants: (affect the heart)

Convallaria majalis
Nerium oleander
Rhododendron species††††††
Digitalis purpurea
Kalanchoe spp.† Lily of the Valley
Rhododendron, Azalea and Rosebay

Plants that could cause kidney failure:

Lilies (Lilium and Hemerocallis species, in cats only)
Rhubarb (Rheum species) (leaves only)
Shamrock (oxalis species)

Plants or fungi that could cause liver failure:

Cycads (Cycad species such as Sago Palm)
Mushroom (Amanita phalloides)

Plants that could cause multiple effects:

Autumn Crocus (Colchicum species) (Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, renal, liver damage and bone marrow suppression)
Castor Bean (Ricinus species) (Can cause renal failure, liver failure, convulsions and death)

Fungi (Mushrooms)
ALWAYS assume that any ingested mushroom is highly toxic until a mycologist positively identifies it.† Toxic and non-toxic mushrooms can grow in the same area.

2. What should pet owners do if they suspect their animal has ingested a poisonous plant or mushroom? What symptoms should they look for?

If a pet owner suspects that their animal ingested a poisonous plant, they should contact their veterinarian immediately.† Itís advised to bring part of the plant to a nursery for identification if the exact species is not known.† Symptoms of poisonings can include almost any clinical sign. The animal may even appear completely normal for several hours or days.†

3. Is there a way for pet owners to train or teach their pets not to eat poisonous plants or mushrooms?

A pet owner could train their pets to avoid certain areas of their home or yard where there are poisonous plants.† However, the safest method would be to prevent exposure by removing the plants from the pet's home and yard.†

4. What about pesticides and fertilizers that might be in the garage or tool shed?

Make sure your pets do not go on lawns or in gardens treated with fertilizers, herbicides or insecticides until the time listed on the label by the manufacturer.† If you are uncertain about the usage of any product, contact the manufacturer for clarification before using it.† Always store pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides in areas that are inaccessible to your pets - read the label carefully for proper usage and storage instructions.

The most serious problems resulting from fertilizer ingestion in pets are usually due to the presence of heavy metals such as iron.† Ingestion of large amounts of fertilizer could cause severe gastric upset and possibly gastrointestinal obstruction.

The most dangerous forms of pesticides include: snail bait containing metaldehyde, fly bait containing methomyl, systemic insecticides containing disyston or disulfoton, zinc phosphide containing mole or gopher bait and most forms of rat poisons.† When using pesticides place the products in areas that are totally inaccessible to your companion animals.† Always store pesticides in secured areas and according to label directions.

For more toxicology tips or to view a toxic and non-toxic plant list, visit the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Centerís website at††

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