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The Ruff Report: Knowing signs of poison can save your pet's life

An upset stomach, drooling, sleepiness. Your dog or cat probably just ate something that just needs to let it run its course, you might assume. But those are also classic signs of poisoning and your pet may instead be struggling for its life.

The Hunt of Her Life: A book series about a rescue dog that will touch your heart

Your ability to know the difference between a harmless upset stomach and an accidental poisoning that needs immediate attention is probably the single most important factor that will determine your pet's chances of survival, a leading dog behaviorist says.

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A book series about a rescue dog
that will touch your heart

THE HUNT OF HER LIFE is a nonfiction book series about Samantha, an unwanted rescue dog who the author adopts at age 2. This beautifully designed deluxe full-color book, by longtime newspaper journalist Joseph A. Reppucci, contains more than 60 vibrant color photos of dogs to help illustrate the compelling and uplifting story of Samantha - a pretty tricolor bird dog who uses her warm personality to win people over and build a new family after being put up for adoption by a hunter because she is gun-shy and afraid to hunt. Learn how she uses her special bonding abilities with people to help her eventually make a transition from the hunting fields to family life. While reading the The Hunt of Her Life, you will travel with Samantha and the author along a trail filled with surprising twists, sudden turns, mystery and even what some call a miracle. And when the journey is finished, you may never look at people and their pets, motherhood - and perhaps even God - in the same way. The Hunt of Her Life is must reading. It will take you on a captivating journey - a trip like no other - that will touch your heart.

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“Since dogs, especially young dogs, are naturally curious creatures, it is important that we know and remain vigilant about potential poisons that our snooping pooches may find and ingest,” Liam Crowe, a dog behavioral therapist with Barkbusters USA of Colorado, states in a media release. “Just because something is safe for people to ingest, doesn’t necessarily mean it is safe for our canine companions to also eat."

According to Barkbusters, symptoms that a pet has ingested a poisonous substance include: Vomiting/upset stomach; labored or shallow breathing; drooling; increased or decreased heart rate; fever; hyperactivity or lethargy; increased thirst or lack of thirst or hunger; dilated pupils; stumbling or staggering; seizures or tremors and loss of consciousness.

Ways to help dogs avoid toxic materials include:
  • Storing all chemicals in cabinets and human medicines in out-of-reach places.
  • Wiping up antifreeze leaks or spills of any size. The sweet taste attracts pets. Even a tiny amount of antifreeze can cause kidney failure and death.
  • Storing poisonous baits to rid your home of pests (rodents, snails, insects) in places that a dog cannot access. Some baits smell sweet but are toxic to pets, causing severe internal bleeding.
  • Staying off lawns or gardens that have been treated with fertilizers, herbicides or insecticides. If a dog has come in contact with treated lawns or has walked on snow or ice treated with ice-melting chemical, clean his feet as soon as you get home to avoid the possibility of him licking his paws and ingesting the poison.
  • Consulting with a veterinarian before giving a dog any vitamin, herbal supplement or medication made for humans. Even small doses can be lethal.
Human foods that are toxic to dogs include chocolate, avocado, onions and garlic, raisins and grapes, alcoholic drinks, beverages with caffeine, Macadamia nuts, and chewing gum with Xylitol, Bark Busters says. Many indoor and outdoor plants also are poisonous to pets. Other toxins found outside include mushrooms and garden mulch.

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Inside a home, dog parents should be careful when using household cleaners because fumes can be noxious, Bark Busters says. Heavy metals such as lead found in paint chips and linoleum also pose hazards.


The Ruff Report is a column that appears on, a blog written by Joseph A. Reppucci, a retired editor from The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, Massachusetts. Mr. Reppucci worked as a reporter and editor on major daily newspapers in the Boston area for more than 30 years. He is the author of the book, The Hunt of Her Life, a heartwarming story about his once-in-a-lifetime rescue dog. Find it on and


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Book sets signed by the author available here!

THE HUNT HER LIFE BOOK SERIES: Order your set signed by author Joseph A. Reppucci! The Original will touch your heart and the Sequel will lift your soul. *The Hunt of Her Life signed book series sets are only available to U.S. customers.

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