Prescription Human Medications

Both known and unknown toxins can be found hiding in our houses and yards. In 2011, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) in Urbana, IL, fielded more than 165,900 phone calls about pets exposed to poisonous substances. italics are my comments from experience. Meredith

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1. Prescription Human Medications

Almost 25,000 calls last year were about human prescription medications. Pets, especially dogs, are notorious for ingesting any dropped pill. Cardiac and ADHD medications make up a large percentage of these calls. Always make sure to take these medications in a safe place away from your pets.

2. Insecticides

Insecticides were the subject of 11% of calls to the ASPCA in 2011. These include products used on the lawn, in the house and on the pet. The most important thing to do is read the label before you use any insecticide, and never use a product labeled for dogs on cats. I know of two cases personally in which dogs died due to horrible allergic reactions to lawn sprays. 

3. Over-the-Counter Human Medications

Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can kill your pet. Never give any medication to your pet without consulting with your veterinarian first.

4. People Food

Chocolate is still the number one people food that pets ingest (we received over 7,600 calls last year). Too much chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, high heart rate and seizures. The second most common food is xylitol (the sugar substitute). Xylitol can cause seizures and liver failure in dogs.  (Raisins are also very poisonous to dogs.)

5. Household Products

It is amazing what animals can find to chew up around the house from fire logs to paint. Some household items may just cause stomach upset, while others can be deadly.

6. Veterinary Medications

Chewable medications make it easy to give your dog or cat a pill. However, this tasty pill can also mean that the pet, if given access, will ingest all the pills in the bottle. Always make sure to keep pet medications out of reach. Contact your veterinarian if your pet ingests more than its proper dose of medication or ingests another pet’s medication.

7. Rodenticides

When putting out baits to kill mice and rats, never underestimate the resourcefulness of your pet. Most bait is grain based and is attractive to dogs. Depending on the type of rodenticide, ingestion can cause internal bleeding, kidney failure or seizures. (If a dog eats rat poison, do not induce vomiting.  Keep vitamin K in your first aid kit and begin administering at once to counteract internal bleeding. Rush to the vet.)

8. Plants

About 4% of our phone calls are pet parents calling about their animals eating plants. This is one category that cats lead dogs in the number of exposures. Lilies can cause kidney failure and death in cats. Please see our list of toxic/non-toxic plants for more information. 

9. Lawn and Garden Products

Fertilizers, which can be made of dried blood, poultry manure and bone meal, are very attractive to pets, so it is not surprising that we get many calls (almost 3,900 in 2011) on lawn and garden items.  (One of my Cavaliers living with my orthopedic surgeon licked the fertilizer just applied by the lawn care company and burned his esophagus.  No amount of money or expertise could save this beautiful boy, Jeffrey, after a valiant fight.  He is sorely missed and still deeply loved by his grieving family.)

10. Automotive Products

With more people keeping their animals inside (especially cats), the number of animals exposed to automotive products (antifreeze, brake fluid, etc.) has dropped. This is great news since many of these products, if ingested, can be life-threatening to pets.

If you have any reason to suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please contact your veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center’s 24-hour hotline at (888) 426-4435.

postheadericon dangerous product–flea and tick


One of my friends has sent out this alert concerning flea and tick products that are dangerous to a pet’s health.  Please check with your vet about what products to use safely. 

The information in this video is IMPORTANT.  PLEASE watch it — using any of these products could kill your pet………..

Please take a minute to watch this video and pass it on – it may save an animal’s life!!

postheadericon Warning about mulch!!

A friend from Florida just sent me the following news item about cocoa garden mulch which is supposed to be very harmful to dogs.   Yes, Floridians are using mulch in their gardens while we in the Midwest are still buried in snow and expecting more! I have not checked out the facts myself,  but the following should be considered:

Please tell every dog or cat owner you know. Even if you don’t have a pet, please pass this to those who do.    Over the weekend the doting owner of two young lab mixes purchased Cocoa Mulch from Target to use in their garden. They loved the way it smelled and it was advertised to keep cats away from their garden. Their dog Calypso decided that the mulch smelled good enough to eat and devoured a large helping. She vomited a few times which was typical when she eats something new but wasn’t acting lethargic in any way. The next day, Mom woke up and took Calypso out for her morning walk . Half way through the walk, she had a seizure and died instantly. Although the mulch had NO warnings printed on the label, upon further investigation on the company’s website, this product is HIGHLY toxic to dogs and cats. Cocoa Mulch is manufactured by Hershey’s, and they claim that ‘It is true that studies have shown that 50% of the dogs that eat Cocoa Mulch can suffer physical harm to a variety of degrees (depending on each individual dog). However, 98% of all dogs won’t eat it.’
This Snopes site gives the following information:
Cocoa Mulch, which is sold by Home Depot, Foreman’s Garden Supply and other Garden supply stores, contains a lethal ingredient called ‘ The obromine’. It is lethal to dogs and cats. It smells like chocolate and it really attracts dogs. They will ingest this stuff and die. Several deaths already occurred in the last 2-3 weeks. The obromine is in all chocolate, especially dark or baker’s chocolate which is toxic to dogs. Cocoa bean shells contain potentially toxic quantities of the obromine, a xanthine compound similar in effects to caffeine and the ophylline. A dog that ingested a lethal quantity of garden mulch made from cacao bean shells developed severe convulsions and died 17 hours later. Analysis of the stomach contents and the ingested cacao bean shells revealed the presence of lethal amounts of the obromine.   PLEASE GIVE THIS THE WIDEST DISTRIBUTION!!! 

postheadericon Danger to Pets




The below dimple ball has a vacuum effect that can trap the tongue of a dog, cutting off the blood supply, so that the tongue horribly swells and cannot be easily removed.  The Labrador pictured below had to have his tongue amputated and had to learn to eat and drink without a tongue. Please tell your local pet stores and perhaps write the corporate office of pet store chains asking them to remove the dimple ball from the shelves.  Please protect your beloved pets!!!!






























A fellow Cavalier breeder lost two of her beloved Cavaliers quite tragically.  They ate Potpourri which is evidently poisonous to dogs.  Despite major efforts to save these beloved pets, the Cavaliers died.  Potpourri is toxic to pets.  The breeder involved is having tests run on the Potpourri to determine the poison but it is thought to be the die in the potpourri.  Please safeguard your pets as they can die a horrible death after ingesting Potpourri.  I cannot warn you strongly enough!!!!!!!