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Know household dangers to your pet

By Nancy Werteen, Anchor / Reporter, NWerteen@wfmz.com
Published On: Feb 18 2013 07:10:35 AM CST
Updated On: Mar 04 2013 10:57:27 AM CST

Household dangers to dogs

If you have a dog at home you know that dogs aren't exactly discriminating when it comes to eating. In fact, most dogs will eat just about anything.

And that can be a problem. Did you know that there are foods you probably have around the house that can be poisonous to your dog?

On top of that, dogs sometimes eat non food items that can cause deadly problems.

One local animal doctor shared a few things with us every pet owner should know. Dr. Judy Rutkowski of the Allentown Animal Clinic sees the aftermath when dogs eat something they shouldn't.

Dr. Rutkowski says, " So they're attracted by the smell, the taste, they get carried away, swallow the whole thing and you can get an obstruction, a blockage of the intestine."

The esophagus of the dog is larger than the outlet of his stomach. Thus, dogs may swallow objects that are too large to pass out of the stomach.

Dr. Rutkowski has seen everything from rubber, plastic, toys to a billiard ball. She can sometimes save a dog with surgery but there are also items simply poisonous to dogs.

"One of the newer items that wasn't around before is sugarless gum" says Dr. Rutkowski.

ccording to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), xylitol, a sweetener found in certain sugar-free chewing gum, candies and other products, can potentially cause serious, even life-threatening problems for pets. Xylitol is a white crystalline substance used as a sugar substitute.

Add to that list chocolate, grapes, onions, garlic, avocado, raw bread dough, raisins and citrus. Too much of these can be deadly.

Dr. Rutkowski says a result can be liver failure or kidney failure and many times she says, the damage cannot be reversed.

Dogs are attracted to lots of things -- even antifreeze.

" I had a case recently, a litter of puppies. They kept them in the garage and they lost three puppies because they got into the antifreeze," says Dr. Rutkowski

She says cats can also have problems with things they ingest, like houseplants and strings--but for the most part she says dogs are the most at risk.

Signs of poisoning in your pet could include listlessness, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle tremors, lack of coordination, and fever.

Medications can also pose a problem for pets. You should always put them out of reach of pets and children.

According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, pseudoephedrine - an ingredient commonly found in certain cold, allergy and sinus medications - can be extremely dangerous to companion animals. It does not take as much of the drug to cause a serious problem.

As little as one tablet containing 30 milligrams of pseudoephedrine could produce clinical signs in a 20-pound dog, including nervousness, hyperactivity and elevated heart rate; a dose of only three 30-milligram tablets could be lethal to a dog that size.

Animal doctors say dog proofing is not a one-time activity: from time to time, survey your home and yard for safety.

Check doors, gates and fencing on a regular basis.

Also remember to give your pets their own toys and safe chews, so they will be less inclined to chew on unsafe items.