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Springtime Dangers

Whilst for many people, spring is a sign of happier times, with the weather taking a turn for the better and new plants and animals emerging, it can contain many hidden dangers for our pets.

Plants

Many plants are very toxic to cats and dogs. Unfortunately, many parts of the plant can be toxic, including the pollens, petals, stems, leaves and bulbs. Some of the main toxic species are:

  • Lillies

  • Daffodils

  • Tulips

  • Rhododendrons

  • Amaryllis

  • Chrystanthemums

Cocoa shells

These are often used in gardening for flower beds. The cocoa bean shells contain the same toxic ingredient as chocolate.

Pesticides

These often contain permethrin, this is a chemical that is also found in some flea treatments for dogs, but is highly toxic to cats.

Slug and snail pellets

Many slug and snail pellets contain metaldehydes which are toxic to both dogs and cats. There are animal friendly versions available that aren’t as dangerous to our pets, but not everyone uses them.

Food

Most human foods are bad for our pets and we should avoid feeding them anything other than their specific pet foods and treats. It is a common misconception that cats require milk, but unfortunately they are unable to digest dairy products as they are lactose intolerant. Other foods that are poisonous to dogs and cats include:

  • Leeks, onion and garlic- these are found in many foods that you wouldn’t expect them to be in, so please make sure you check the packaging.

  • Chocolate- all human chocolates contain a chemical called theobromine that is toxic to dogs and cats. Dark chocolate is particularly toxic to our pets.

  • Alcohol has the same negative effects in animals as it does in people but due to their size our pets are much more sensitive

  • Fat trimmings and meats- due to their high fat content can cause pancreatitis

  • Dried fruits, grapes and raisins are toxic to the kidneys, this is not dose dependent, one raisin can be enough to have toxic effects.

  • Bones and BBQs- skewers left over from BBQs will still have remnants of food left on them tempting our pets, they also have sharp edges and bones that can cause stab injuries or splinter and cause irritation to the gastric tract. These can also get stuck and form a blockage so please make sure you dispose of your leftovers responsibly.

Toads

Toad poisoning is very common especially amongst dogs, who often pick them up in their mouths. When a toad is stressed it secretes a venom from the pores on its body, this is what the dog then gets in its mouth. Mostly it tends to lead to hypersalivation and vomiting with no serious negative effects, but it always best to seek veterinary advice.

Antihistamines

As our allergies and hay-fever develops, we tend to have more antihistamines about the house. Unfortunately not all anti-histamines are safe for use in animals, who may end up ingesting them for one reason or another. Some pets have allergies themselves that may be managed using antihistamines prescribed by a vet, who may also advice using these following a sting. Giving your pet an antihistamine should only be done following a vet or nurses advice.

Insect Stings

These are more common as the weather improves and both insects and our pets start to spend more time outside. Insect stings most commonly appear on the fore-legs and face after a pet has come in to contact with a biting or stinging insect. This is often a result of “fly-chasing” wasps and bees, lying in an ants nest or poking their face in to a bush or hole. If you know think that your pet has been stung it is important to seek veterinary advice, especially if it is by their face. Some pets can have an anaphylactic reaction to stings. If the sting is still in your pet it is important to remove it without squeezing any more of the toxins in to them. This is best done using a pair of tweezers and a scraping motion. You can also use an ice pack as a cold compress to help relieve some of the pain and inflammation.

If you are ever worried your pet may have encountered one of these hazards, do not hesitate to call us at the surgery.