The coldest part of winter is upon us… when it comes to your pet, there’s more to be worried about than the freezing temperatures! Below, your Crown Point, IN veterinarian tells you about a few common winter pet toxins and how to help your dog or cat avoid them.
The cold temperature outside tends to draw small pests, like rodents and insects, into our homes during the wintertime. You may fight the problem with pesticide or rodenticide products, but use caution—these materials are made to poison the critters that come into contact with them. Place pesticides in areas where pets can’t reach, and consider using non-toxic options like traps instead of toxic chemicals.
Many types of antifreeze are made with an alcoholic substance called ethylene glycol. It’s this substance that makes antifreeze so dangerous, as it can harm pets in very small amounts and might even attract animals with its sweet smell and taste. Keep pets indoors when using antifreeze in your car, and clean up any spills immediately. Store the chemical where your pet can’t reach.
It’s likely that the ice melt you use to make your steps and sidewalks safer is made with sodium chloride, also known as salt. Salt is not good for pets! When ingested by a pet, small amounts of salt can lead to skin irritation and upset stomach, while larger doses can result in serious cases of poisoning. Don’t let your pet explore icy patches outdoors, and store ice melt carefully.
It’s cold and flu season. That means more medications floating around your house as you and your family members recover. Common ibuprofen is an NSAID—a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug—and it can do serious harm to a pet who ingests too much. Other common human medicines, like cough syrup, are also problematic. To be safe, store all medications where pets can’t gain access, and keep your pet’s own medicine in a separate area entirely.
It’s not peak season for plants and flowers, but some varieties that thrive in the winter are harmful to pets nonetheless. Lilies, holly and mistletoe (perhaps left over from the holidays), Amaryllis, certain aloe plants, Christmas cactus, and the Autumn crocus are just a few examples.
Would you like to learn more about winter pet toxins and how to keep your companion safe? Contact your Crown Point, IN veterinary clinic.