Cat And BackpackAs a dedicated pet owner, we know you pay special attention to what your paw pals could potentially get into with the right recipe of curiosity, hunger and boredom. So, with kids back in school, we’d like to remind households of the hidden risks associated with pet poisons and what kids are bringing home in their backpacks and lunch bags.

Can’t. Stop. Sniffing.

The smells we bring home could (and often do) drive our pets into an olfactory frenzy. Food smells, people smells, the scents from other animals… you name it, our pets are going to sniff it and catalogue it away in their brain. Your pet’s sniffer could lead to your child’s backpack where hopefully one would not discover any of the following potential pet poisons:

  • Medications – Pills for ADD/ADHD, depression, inflammation, or pain can cause kidney damage, liver damage, seizures, loss of coordination if ingested by your pet.
  • Asthma inhalers – If an inhaler is punctured, your dog could be exposed to a sizable dose of a steroid and albuterol. This could cause vomiting, collapse and possible death.
  • Xylitol – This popular sweetener is in gum and mints, nasal spray and mouthwash and even baked goods as a sugar replacer. Xylitol is highly toxic to dogs and can result in vomiting, weakness, collapse and liver failure in high doses.
  • Chocolate – It is back-to-school season and we are approaching Halloween so please do a quick sweep of chocolatey treats (especially those made with Xylitol) in your child’s backpack. Chocolate is toxic for both cats and dogs although cats rarely ingest enough to get sick. Dogs, however, can’t help themselves around chocolate and should be protected. Signs of chocolate toxicity may include vomiting, diarrhea, increased water intake, panting, and incontinence.
  • Nicotine Products – Chances are you have seen those vaping devices that allow smokers to have a smokeless nicotine experience. Not only is the liquid nicotine extremely dangerous to our pets but so are the cigarette butts and chewing tobacco that predated vaping devices. Increases in heart and respiratory rates and loss of bladder or bowel control could also lead to death.
  • Hand Sanitizer – This is usually a mainstay in kids’ backpacks, and although pets may not like the taste of ethanol it is still possible to ingest doses small enough to result in vomiting, weakness, low blood pressure, etc.
  • Zinc – It may be worth mentioning that pets could consume pennies which are generally made with zinc. Symptoms stemming from zinc poisoning include vomiting, anorexia, diarrhea, anemia, and even kidney or liver failure.

Help Your Pet Avoid Poisons – Keep Backpacks Off the Floor!

We know it gets crazy during the school year but do your pet a favor by enforcing a strict “off the floor” rule when it comes to your kids’ belongings. Hang their backpack on a hook and out of the reach of your precious pawed pals. Make sure that any friends who stop by after school place their backpacks out of your pet’s reach, maybe in a room with the door shut.

If you have any other questions or concerns about your pet’s safety, especially around your family’s backpacks, purses, or briefcases, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.