Toxic & Dangerous Pet Products

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Mary Ellen, Tips 'n' Tales Newspaper Columnist with Myster E.
Mary Ellen's 5-year-old Shaded Silver Persian, (Miss Wings' son),
knows first-hand that common household products can be life-threatening toxins!


In the hopes of saving pets lives, and their guardians the sorrow of losing their pets along with expensive medical bills, here is Myster E.'s tale.

We have 5 spoiled cats, and it is a strict house rule that they are not allowed up on the kitchen counters. 
One morning, I found the small citronella essential oil bottle tipped over.  I picked it up, and noticed wetness.  A tiny bit of oil had leaked out, "It is a good thing that my cats never get up here, this might be dangerous if it got on them, and they washed it off their fur," I thought.  All the time wondering how the isolated bottle fell over?

The next morning, to my horror, there was Myster E. sleeping on the counter, I lifted him off it, and discovered the little citronella bottle, and it was tipped over again, under his tail!

I rushed him to the sink, and bathed him to remove the residue.  Too late, in the next few weeks all his beautiful fur fell out like a chemotherapy patient. He was very ill, and a year later we still work hard to keep him healthy. 
We can always tell when he does not feel well, as he naturally eats the activated charcoal from the health food store, and canned tuna fish along with the water it comes packed in.  

Photo by Mary Ellen
Myster E.'s new winter coat keeps him warm in the snow!
This winter it is a blessing to see him gaining weight and fur!  His personality remains ever sweet.  If a cupboard, dishwasher, or drawer is open, he automatically runs into the room to investigate the hidden treasures. He has so much fur this winter, even between the pads of his feet, they resemble furry-snow-shoes.
WARNING - Potpourri
If you see your pets "playing" in potpourri, it may be a deadly game.  Most pet guardians are unaware of the potential hazards of these popular Christmas gifts. Veterinarian Dr. Lisa Picconi DVM shared the news of the dangers of potpourri and pets. Apparently, shortly after ingesting some potpourri a dog began vomiting, convulsing, developed body rigidity and shock. Sadly, the dog died.

In a quest for answers, I researched the Internet and discovered that the symptoms resembles strychnine poisoning. Because potpourris contain odd hard shapes of bark, leaves, seeds, (things easy to dye and add fragrance) they also pose the potential for intestinal obstruction if ingested.  
An English botany organization did a study on several dry potpourris. "Only a few items have had to be withdrawn, most notably the fruits of Strychnos nux-vomica (the commercial source of strychnine)."

It seems cats are more attracted to liquid potpourri, and dogs to dry potpourri. 

Dr. Jill A. Richardson, DVM, says that, "In most cases received by the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), cats are often exposed to potpourri oils by rubbing against leaky bottles or pots containing the oil, or from spilling the oil containing pots over themselves." (Just like Myster E.!)

"The major share of our cases have involved cats," says Dr. Steven Hansen, veterinary toxicologist and senior vice president of the APCC."  Most likely because cats have greater access to the simmer pots which are usually kept on counter tops or other high-level surfaces."
The New Jersey ASPCA reports that since 2001, out of the 330 liquid potpourri cases, 87 percent involved felines, and 13 percent involved dogs.

Pet guardians know that most of our pets will still find a way to investigate both dry and liquid potpourris that are placed up high...just like Myster E. did!

Myster E. relaxes on his scratching post.

WARNING - Winter Danger
Heat Lamps
Janetta Overholser, President of Humane Society of Cottage Grove says, "In this cold weather, be careful about how you keep your outside animals warm.  A family who had previously used heat lamps used them again, and something went deadly wrong.  Their shed caught on fire, and several of their dogs did not survive. 
Another family with baby chicks were using a heat lamp.  Their shed caught on fire, and the side of their home was singed.  A fire detector is a necessity when using heat lamps. 
Kennel quality heating pads are available through pet supply resources, or the Snugglesafe microwaveable heatpads."
RECALL - Chicken Jerky

The FDA has issued an alert on chicken jerky (chicken tenders, strips, or treats) made in China for dogs. Heads up from Cottage Grove to Australia!
The FDA is receiving complaints of sick dogs that  veterinarians associate with eating chicken jerky products. 
Symptoms may occur within hours to days:  decreased appetite and activity, vomiting, diarrhea, increased water drinking or increased urination.  Contact your Veterinarian if your pet exhibits any symptoms.
ALERT - Antifreeze
Be aware of Antifreeze!  The sweet smell of it attracts pets. Do not leave empty containers of Antifreeze around, and clean up all drips.  Even a small amount is deadly.

Jeani at Forest Valley Veterinary Clinic informs us, "Antifreeze attracts pets, and the simple act of walking through antifreeze and cleaning their paws can be lethal."
Additional Household Poisons and their symptoms:

If you suspect that your pet may have ingested a potentially
dangerous substance, call your veterinarian, or the
ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888) 426-4435.

Warning - Dangerous Dog Toy

Janetta Overholser, President of Humane Society of Cottage Society reports, "Apparently there is a danger to dogs playing with the  Four Paws Pimple Ball, it has a bell inside. This is an important lesson on monitoring our pets, while playing with toys, so the unexpected doesn't happen." 
The ball only has one hole.  While chewing the toy, a vacuum is created that sucks the dog's tongue into the hole. Once the tongue is inside the ball,  it swells and has to be surgically removed from the toy.
The dog at the following weblink had to have his tongue amputated.
Photo of the dangerous toy, and upsetting photos of the potential injury.

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