ASPCA's List Of
Chemicals Poisonous To Pets
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ASPCA's List Of Chemicals Poisonous To Pets

Some of the more common chemical poisons harmful to pets are:

Phenol — This is used commonly as a wood preservative or as a disinfectant cleaner. Examples of some products containing phenol are creosote, carbolic acid, Lysol and pine tar. Never allow your pets to have access to the areas where cleaning agents are being used or stored. Exposure to cleaning agents may present symptoms ranging from mild stomach upset to severe burns of the tongue, mouth and stomach. As with any chemical agent, read and follow all of the information on the label before using a product around your pet or in your home. Consider using a less caustic cleaning agent.

Kerosene and other petroleum distillates — Some examples of compounds in this group are charcoal lighting fluid, paint thinner, ether, naphtha, fuel and lubricating oil, lacquer thinner as well as rubber solvents. Many of these petrochemicals can be absorbed through the skin, and their volatility makes their fumes especially dangerous.

Phenoxy herbicides — These are used as broad-leaf weed killers. Dogs are particularly sensitive to this group of poisons. The herbicide 2,4-D, a component in Agent Orange used by many lawn treatment companies, is associated with canine malignant lymphoma, a cancer. Poison control centers receive more than 11,000 calls annually about pets poisoned by pesticides.

Metaldehyde – This chemical is often used in snail and slug bait. A good alternative to using metaldehyde baits for controlling mollusks is simply to bury jar lids or small containers containing beer. Snails and slugs are attracted to the fermented liquid and literally “drown in their own drink.”

Ethylene glycol — Antifreeze and brake fluid are two common substances that contain ethylene glycol. Animals are attracted to this toxic substance due to its sweet taste. If ingested, ethylene glycol causes severe and often irreparable kidney damage within a short period of time. It is very important that substances containing ethylene glycol that are spilled should be cleaned up thoroughly and immediately.

Carbamates — These are insecticides used to rid plants of insects, to prevent and treat flea infestations, and in ant and roach baits. The majority of poisonings related to these chemicals are due to improper use, especially when many different types of insecticides are used at the same time. When used to control fleas on pets, the dog formula should never be used on cats. Carbamates are a nerve poison. Prompt veterinary care is required to survive a toxic exposure.

Rat poison — Some commonly used rodenticides are arsenic, warfarin, red squill and ANTU. Because poisoning often results in the secondary poisoning of non-target animals, toxic substances to control rodents should be used only as a last resort, and then with great precaution. If a rat poison is used, ensure that pets and other animals cannot get near the poison and that dead rats are immediately and appropriately disposed of. Simple snap traps are an alternative method to using poisons.

If your pet is exposed to a toxic chemical substance, any number of symptoms can occur. If you suspect that your pet has ingested, absorbed through the skin, or inhaled a toxic material, you may see one or more of the following signs: vomiting, diarrhea, staggering, breathing difficulties, convulsions or collapse and death. If your pet has been poisoned, it is important that you act quickly. Have the phone numbers of your veterinarian and poison-control center conveniently posted. If an animal has, or appears to have been poisoned, call your veterinarian immediately for advice. If you are sure of the toxic substance the animal has come in contact with and the animal is not showing any adverse symptoms, you might contact the poison control center. However, if the animal is behaving abnormally or appears ill, contact a veterinarian at once for instructions. Have the name of the active ingredient at hand and, if possible, a rough idea of amount ingested, inhaled or absorbed, as well as the time the poisoning occurred.

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center is manned 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The toll-free telephone is (888) 426-4435. When you call, have the following information available: your name, address and telephone number; the type of poison and the amount the pet was exposed to; the product container or packaging available for reference; the species, breed, age, sex, weight and number of animals involved. It is also important to describe the symptoms your animal is experiencing.

A $45 consultation fee may apply.