October 25, 2010

Plants that are Poisonous to your Dog’s Health

Filed under: poisoned pet — Dr. Amber Reed @ 9:21 am

Whether we are talking about household plants, landscaping plants, or even human food crops, there are a wide range of plants that can be poisonous to your dogs health.  Every dog owner who is considering getting some new plants to freshen up their home or yard should carefully research safe plants to ensure they are not dangerous for your pets.  The following list describes some common plants that are poisonous to dogs but is by no means a comprehensive list.  If you are concerned about your dog’s safety, check the facts about the plants you plan to buy.

In the home, dogs sometimes chew inappropriately, and plants are no exception to the items they will chew.  Dogs are fairly flexible with what they will eat and this means household plants can cause a serious danger to your pet.

  • Aloe Vera causes vomiting, diarrhea, and tremors
  • Asparagus Ferns cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain and with prolonged exposure may lead to allergic dermatitis.
  • Azaleas cause vomiting, diarrhea, excess salivation, weakness, and in severe cases coma, cardiovascular problems, and even death
  • Chrysanthemums cause impaired coordination, diarrhea, vomiting, excess salivation, and allergic dermatitis
  • Gardenias cause vomiting and diarrhea
  • Geraniums cause vomiting, depression, anorexia, and dermatitis

In addition to standard house plants, many outdoor plants and human crops are dangerous for dogs.

  • American Holly causes diarrhea, vomiting, and depression
  • Apple stems, leaves, and seeds cause pupils to dilate as well as breathing problems and shock
  • Avocado leaves, seeds, bark, and fruit cause vomiting and diarrhea
  • Black Walnuts often carry a mold that causes tremors and seizures
  • Castor Bean plants cause mouth irritation, excessive thirst, vomiting, diarrhea, kidney failure, and in severe cases death
  • Daffodils cause vomiting, diarrhea, excess salivation, and convulsions
  • Grapes can cause kidney failure and death
  • Onions and garlic can lead to the breakdown of red blood cells as well as cause vomiting, panting, weakness, increased heart rate, and blood in the urine.

August 9, 2010

Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs

Filed under: poisoned pet — Dr. Amber Reed @ 9:05 am

We’ve probably all heard it and yet we wonder if it’s true that chocolate will kill your dog.  More importantly, you probably want to understand what you’ll need to do in the event that your dog ingests some chocolate and to that end you have several questions.  Chocolate contains a substance known as theobromine that is most certainly toxic to dogs if a large enough quantity is consumed.

Fortunately, for chocolate to be poisonous and potentially lethal to your dog, they must consume a relatively large quantity.  In fact, on average your dog must ingest somewhere around 150mg of theobromine per kilogram of body weight to cause a toxic reaction.  Every type of chocolate contains different levels of theobromine.  For example, milk chocolate contains around 44mg of theobromine per ounce of chocolate, semisweet chocolate around 150mg per ounce, and baker’s chocolate around 390 mg per ounce.  This means a dog weighing 10 kilograms would have to consume 22 ounces of milk chocolate, 11 ounces of semisweet chocolate, or around 3 ounces of baker’s chocolate.

Still, even when dogs consume smaller quantities of chocolate, some digestive problems like stomach upset, vomiting, and diarrhea are likely to occur.  Also, while these quantities are quite large, you can easily see that it’s not impossible for a dog to eat that much chocolate, especially around Easter and Christmas holidays.

The predominant symptoms of chocolate toxicity include:

  • Hyper excitability
  • Irritability
  • Increased heart rate
  • Restlessness
  • Frequent urination
  • Muscle tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate, contact your veterinarian immediately.  In most cases you will need to induce vomiting within 2 hours if you don’t know how much chocolate he has ingested.  In emergency situations, your veterinarian may want to use activated charcoal to prevent the absorption of the toxin and anticonvulsants may be prescribed if neurological symptoms are apparent.

June 2, 2010

Antifreeze Poisoning in Dogs

Filed under: pet poisoning,poisoned pet,what happens if my pet was poisoned — Dr. Amber Reed @ 4:48 pm

poisoned dogAntifreeze poisoning is a very serious threat to your dog’s health.  In fact, every year thousands of dogs die because of accidental ingestion of antifreeze and since it requires very little antifreeze to kill your dog you need to take the necessary precautions to protect your dog from antifreeze poisoning.  Obviously, prevention is the best way to keep your dog safe.  Store antifreeze on a high shelf, well out of the reach of pets, and where it cannot easily be knocked over.  In addition, be sure to clean up any antifreeze spills immediately.

There are a number of clear signs that your dog has ingested antifreeze.  In the early stages of antifreeze poisoning your dog will likely begin staggering and vomiting.  He will probably be confused or disoriented and lethargic and may even begin drinking or urinating excessively.  These symptoms will first be noticed about 30 minutes after ingestion and many owners whose dogs have consumed antifreeze describe these early symptoms as very similar to drunkenness.  Over the next several hours these symptoms will persist and eventually you will notice diarrhea, convulsions, and unconsciousness.  These second stage symptoms will appear after a period of apparent recovery but over the next day or so the toxins will cause permanent damage to the liver and kidneys as the antifreeze is metabolized.

If you suspect your dog has accidentally ingested antifreeze, visit the veterinarian immediately.  If you can collect some of your dog’s vomit, take it to the vet for analysis.  While inducing vomiting or activated charcoal will remove poison from your dog’s system, it is not a cure for antifreeze poisoning in dogs.  As such, it is much more important to take preventative actions.  Propylene-glycol based antifreeze is a much safer alternative to ethylene glycol forms.  Also, don’t let your dog roam the neighborhood without supervision as he will be more likely to suffer antifreeze poisoning.

May 2, 2010

Plants that Are Poisonous for Cats and Dogs

Filed under: pet poisoning,poisoned pet — Dr. Amber Reed @ 11:43 pm

poisonous plants for petsHome owners are often surprised to learn that many of the plants that decorate their homes are toxic for their cats and dogs.  Indeed, when ingested by dogs and cats some of the most poisonous plants can even cause death.  This article will introduce some of the most poisonous plants to dogs and cats as well as the symptoms of accidental ingestion.  If you notice any of these symptoms you need to visit your veterinarian right away.  It is also recommended that you keep a list of the plants you have in your home so that you can easily identify substances that your dog or cat may have eaten.

Cycad Palm Plants

With their large green leaves and tropical beauty, cycad palm plants are a favorite among homeowners in warmer climates but Cycad palms like the sago palm, false sago palm, and the queen sago palm are toxic to cats and dogs.  Cycad palms contain cycasin and while the entire plant is poisonous the seeds are even more dangerous.  Some of the symptoms associated with cycasin poisoning are:

  • Vomiting
  • Excessive thirst and water consumption
  • Increased salivation
  • Reduced appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Yellow coloration of the skin and gums
  • Seizures and other neurological problems


Also known as the laurel rosa, the laurel blanco, or the laurel colorado, the Oleander plant is highly toxic to both cats and dogs.  Containing a cardiac glycoside poison, oleander toxicity causes gastrointestinal irritation followed by vomiting, diarrhea, increased salivation, and loss of appetite.  feline diarrheaDogs and cats often ingest the dried leaves of the oleander plant and may also suffer from irregular heart rhythms.


Despite their beauty, lilies are poisonous for cats. Easter lilies, tiger lilies, stargazer lilies, and some species of day lilies are toxic to cats as they cause kidney damage. Some of the symptoms of lily toxicity may appear within a few hours of ingestion and include:

  • Vomiting
  • Reduced appetite
  • Sluggishness

March 17, 2010

What Should I do if I think my Pet has been Poisoned?

Filed under: pet poisoning,poisoned pet,what happens if my pet was poisoned — Dr. Amber Reed @ 1:30 pm

pet poisoningPet poisoning is a very serious issue and one that contributes to thousands of dog and cat deaths every year. The fact is, many of the products we use around the house, from cleaners to car maintenance, can be very dangerous for pets and need to be safely stored to prevent poisoning. Still, from time to time, pets may eat, inhale, or absorb poisons through their skin. While some of these poisons take effect immediately, and are recognized by various symptoms, some poisons may take days or even weeks to appear making them very difficult to diagnose.

Your first step when you suspect your dog or cat may have been poisoned is to call the veterinarian. Preventing further harm is your first priority and your vet is the most qualified person to diagnose poisoning and will suggest the appropriate solution. Because different poisons are associated with different side effects, you will most likely not be able to diagnose the problem yourself. Even if you know the exact name of the poison and how it was consumed by your cat (ingested, inhaled, or absorbed) you may not know what to do to treat it.

feline cancerTypically, your veterinarian will want to get as much information from you as possible. He or she will ask about the name of the poison, how your pet consumed it, how much of the poison was consumed, when it was consumed, the weight of your pet, and the symptoms your pet is showing.

Keep in mind, that different options for different poisons make it dangerous for you to try to self-treat your pet. Some toxins, for example, should be vomited up while for others this can be a life threatening solution. Therefore, if you suspect poisoning in your dog or cat, visit your veterinarian or emergency clinic immediately.

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Disclaimer: CritterCures is an educational resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure diseases, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet are taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.