Now that Labor Day is over, and we all start to look forward to the changing of the seasons, it’s time to watch out for potential dangers that pose a threat to your pet. That’s right, as Fall roles in, there are certain toxins that are more commonly used and brought into the home this time of year than any other season that must be kept out of reach. Let’s take a look at the top five:
- Rodenticides – As the weather starts to cool, rats and mice will start to seek shelter in warm locations, like the inside of your house. So, unfortunately, this change in season means that a lot of homes will start putting out rat poison, the ingredients of which are poisonous if ingested – even to your pets! That’s why it’s so important to keep anything you put out far away from any area your pet has access to. If your pet does get into the substance call emergency hotlines immediately. Signs of distress may include weakness, lethargy, difficulty breathing, coughing blood, dehydration, loss of appetite, vomiting, tremors, seizures, a distended stomach, kidney failure and even death. It’s really safer for everyone to just use snap traps instead of chemicals.
- Mothballs – Just as rodents may come into your home to stay warm, so too will moths. But, don’t be fooled by those seemingly benign mothballs; they can be quite dangerous to your pet, as they contain toxic chemicals. Signs of poisoning include drooling, vomiting, abdominal pain, lethargy, tremors, abnormalities in red blood cells, and even organ failure (in rare cases).
- Chocolate – If you’ve been in the stores lately, you’ve probably seen that the Fall craze has already taken over, with some places already putting Halloween candy out. So, it’s no wonder that chocolate is one of the biggest hazards to your pet this time of year, as people get ahead of the crowds to build up their candy stashes. Chocolate, however, is poisonous to pets if eaten. Signs of distress include agitation, panting, vomiting and diarrhea. If a pet has ingested significant amounts of chocolate, the symptoms are even more severe, resulting in cardiac effects such as a racing heart rate, high blood pressure and abnormal heart rhythm, as well as tremors, seizures and even death. It’s also important to know that the darker, more bitter chocolate is more dangerous, so be sure to keep all of your sweet treats far from your pet’s reach.
- Compost Piles – While going green is great, before you start your compost pile, make sure that it’s in a well secured, fenced off area entirely separate from your pet’s domain. Compost when ingested can cause severe poisoning due to tremorgenic mycotoxins (toxins that are produced by molds). Signs of compost or mulch poisoning include drooling, vomiting, loss of appetite, panting, agitation, incoordination, tremors and seizures.
- Mushrooms – Most mushrooms are harmless and only result in minor symptoms when ingested, but there are a few types that can be deadly. Of course, it can be difficult to identify one mushroom from the other, so we recommend that you assume that any mushroom ingested by a pet (or human for that matter) is toxic. It’s best to err on the side of caution. Depending on the type ingested, symptoms may include gastrointestinal issues like drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, as well as neurologic signs like “drunk walking,” tremors, agitation and seizures. Ingestion can even result in organ damage or even death.
Keep these common Fall toxins far, far away from your pet this season. And remember, when in doubt, call your veterinarian.