This article written by Chloe Bloom a volunteer at Quitza exclusively for Pet Guardian Angels of America (PGAA)
Throughout our day to day lives we surround ourselves with various chemicals that are beneficial to us in some way. We use bleach to clean, we use asthma inhalers to save lives, we use electronic cigarettes to quit smoking.
Now some of these chemicals are well known to be dangerous to humans. Bleach for example is usually treated with the upmost respect and care. We use gloves when we handle it, it is packaged in very durable strong bottles, and it is usually kept well out of reach of children and animals.
However there are many chemicals we use in our day to day lives are not highly dangerous to humans. As a result of perceived safety we do not treat them with the same respect as the more dangerous things like bleach.
What sparked the idea for this article was a very sad story about the first dog in the UK to die from eating liquid from electronic cigarettes. If you do not know already electronic cigarettes work by heating up “e liquid” which contains nicotine. This produces a vapor, which is designed to mimic the sensation of smoking a cigarette. The only toxic chemical in e liquid is nicotine but there is more than enough in a single bottle to kill a dog sized animal.
Most e liquid is sweet and is available in candy, or dessert flavors. As such they are seem edible and even delicious to small children and animals. The dog in this article jumped onto a kitchen table and bit into a bottle of e-liquid. The owner stated that the amount the dog ingested was not a whole bottle but was simply “A smear on her teeth”.
The consequences were drastic and almost immediate. The dog started defecating and vomiting instantly. Her lips and mouth turned blue and she started foaming at the mouth. The dog was taken to the vet but they were unable to save her, she died the next morning due to heart failure from nicotine poisoning.
This was a totally preventable death if the owner had taken the proper precautions and stored the e liquid well out of reach of the dog.
It is a similar story with other household products. For example the vials of medication in asthma inhalers. Each of these packets contain up to 200 single doses in them. When a dog gets hold of a packet accidentally and chews on it they are exposed to all 200 or so doses at the same time. As you can imagine this often results in death.
Other household items that seem totally benign to us can also pose huge health risks to animals. Tinsel is something that immediately comes to mind, and is especially relevant with Christmas around the corner.
Tinsel looks like a great toy to a cat or a dog. They will claw at it and eat it without a second thought. The tinsel itself is not poisonous, but can still be deadly. If ingested it can result in what is called a “linear foreign body”. Essentially this means it can get anchored somewhere in the stomach of the animal and become unable to pass through the digestive tract. As the internal organs of the animal contract and squeeze they can cause the tinsel to effectively cut into the intestines. Causing huge amounts of discomfort and expensive surgery to remedy.
For many households Christmas involves chocolate in some form. Chocolate is probably the most well known common toxin for cats and dogs. It can result diarrhea, vomiting, and in some cases even seizures and death. Be sure to keep any chocolate you consume this Christmas away from your pets.
There are many more things that seem harmless to us humans but are dangerous to pets that we do not have time for in this blog post. From less severe things like avocadoes, to extreme toxins like caffeine. If you have a few minutes the list is well worth worth educating yourself on.
Chloe Bloom a volunteer at Quitza “a non profit where users from all over the world support each other while quitting smoking using Quitzas custom made social support network.” Read Chole’s article on Second and Third Hand Smoke