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.
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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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“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.
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