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CHEMICAL POISONS

With your dog's naturally curious and adventurous personality, don't be surprised if he unwittingly finds himself ingesting some toxic chemicals you keep in your home. Despite all efforts to dog-proof a home, accidents involving deadly chemicals can still happen.

Your dog can be a victim of chemical poisoning if he swallows a chemical or any chemically-tainted substance, licks off a toxic substance from his fur, eats a poisoned pest, inhales toxic fumes or absorbs a considerable amount of a chemical through his skin.

As part of regular housekeeping, most people maintain a stock of dozens of different solvents, detergents, pesticides and treating agents, many of which can make pets very sick if ingested. Some solvents and cleaners may even be fatal to your pet"

The best cure is, of course, prevention. Keep all household cleaning products away from curious animals. Scented products that smell good to an animal are especially dangerous. If you think your pet has consumed any dangerous products, call your veterinarian immediately. If your pet needs to make a trip to the vet, remember to take the product container with you to give your vet a better idea of what your pet may have ingested. You can also call the National Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-4-ANIHELP (426-4435).

Caustic Chemicals (Petroleum Products, Acids and Alkalis)
Type of Chemical Household Products Symptoms Of Poisoning
Caustic Chemicals (Petroleum Products, Acids and Alkalis)

Corrosive Chemicals

Mainly used for dissolving grime, are the most dangerous substances to your dog. They will instantly burn the tissues of your pet's mouth and throat. Do NOT induce your dog to vomit in this case because forcibly throwing up the corrosive substance will cause further damage to his digestive lining.
  • Kerosene
  • Gasoline
  • Lighter fluid
  • Toilet bowl and drain cleaners
  • Lime
  • Floor, shoe and furniture polishes
  • Paint remover/thinner
  • Wax
  • Oven cleaners
  • Wood preservatives (creosote)
  • Dishwasher soap
  • Lye
  • Battery acid
  • Phenol based substances (disinfectants, fungicides, photographic developers)
  • Solvents
  • Chlorine bleach
  • Etching solutions
  • Ulcerated or inflamed tongue
  • Grayish-yellow burns on lips, mouth or tongue
  • Bloody vomit
  • Shock
  • Abdominal pains
  • Diarrhea
  • Inability to eat because of sore mouth
  • Bad smell emanating from mouth because of dying tissue
  • Excessive salivation
  • Non-Corrosive Chemicals

    Equally toxic and no less fatal, these chemicals are most often taken for granted and left lying around where dogs can reach them. If your dog accidentally ingests any of these chemicals, vomiting may be induced to expel as much of the poison as possible.
  • Bleach
  • Detergents
  • Dyes
  • Pesticides and herbicides
  • Aerosol sprays
  • Phosphorus (non-safety kitchen matches)
  • Glues
  • Acetone
  • Naphthalene (mothballs)
  • Boric acid (shaving lotion)
  • Carbon tetrachloride (fire extinguisher, liquid)
  • Borax compound (fire extinguisher, powder)
  • Deodorants
  • Fabric softener
  • Pine oil
  • Vomiting
  • Panting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Drooling
  • Trembling limbs and trouble walking
  • Convulsions
  • Mewling
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression

  • If Your Dog Has Ingested a Toxic Substance
    If you suspect your pet has ingested a toxic substance, the first thing you must do is determine the substance. Read the product's label for the list of ingredients and for any instructions on accidental ingestion. Immediately call your vet, the nearest animal emergency clinic or the National Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-4-ANIHELP (426-4435).

    Observe your dog's symptoms carefully. If he's vomiting or has diarrhea, you may want to take samples to the vet to help with diagnosis. The treatment will vary according to the poison and whether it has been ingested, inhaled or absorbed through the skin.

    Always have on hand a good dog emergency handbook and a first aid kit. It's also a good idea to stock your medicine cabinet or pantry with liquid antacid, vegetable oil (to coat the intestines or remove substances on fur), hydrogen peroxide (to induce vomiting, if indicated) and diluted vinegar or lemon juice (to help neutralize an alkali). Also, know how much your dog weighs, because treatments are often measured in proportion to the animal's weight.

    Safeguarding Your Pet From Chemical Poisoning
    Since most of the household chemicals in our homes are essential to our sanitation and housekeeping routines, all we can do to protect our dogs is strictly dog-proof and monitor our surroundings. To safeguard your dog against chemical poisoning, check cupboards, closets and any storage areas to make sure all harmful products are out of your dog's reach. Make sure no chemical bottles are leaking. Read the labels on all cleaners and other household products for their warnings, and use your best judgment. If you wouldn't want a child to have access to it, keep it away from your dog.

    Close the door while you are cleaning, especially in the bathroom. Leaving the door ajar will risk your pet attempting to taste the cleaners you are using. Or he may walk over some spills on the floor and will be sure to lick any foreign substances from his paws, thus ingesting the toxic chemicals.

    When painting, varnishing or spraying herbicides/insecticides, keep your dog out of the area until long after the substance dissipates or dries. Dogs are very susceptible to fumes and can even absorb some toxins through the skin.

    Don't forget to dog-proof the garage or shed for any chemical products you store there. Make sure the lids of all chemical products are tightly closed. Dogs are not always careful about brushing against objects and spilling their contents, much less walking into unsafe or contaminated areas. Put gasoline, kerosene and turpentine in a locked cabinet or storeroom. Be especially careful to stash antifreeze out of reach. With the sweet taste of ethylene glycol, antifreeze is one of the most common agents of animal poisoning.

    Make sure you also dog-proof your garden. Snail bait and other ground chemicals can be deadly to dogs. Rodent poison and poisoned rodents are another potential source of trouble. Watch what you spray on your plants, too. Your dog can become very sick by nibbling on a leaf sprayed with pesticides. Check your local nursery for harmless, organic alternatives.