Know How to Reach Poison Control and other Emergency Contacts

As we bundle up in this last cool blast, we check on our cars’ fluids. Oil. Check. Windshield wiper fluid. Check. Transmission fluid. Check. Radiator fluid. Check. Wait!

If you have a pet “helping” when you are under the hood of your car, be especially attentive that you close and seal the containers. Radiator fluid has a sweet taste that lures dogs to lick it, but antifreeze made with ethylene glycol is lethal to pets! Less than 3 ounces will kill a medium-sized dog. 1 Ethylene glycol poisoning affects the brain, liver, and kidneys.

Ethylene glycol is also found in engine coolant and hydraulic brake fluids.

Some common signs of antifreeze poisoning in dogs and cats include:
Drunken behavior
Wobbly, uncoordinated movement
Excessive urination
Rapid heart beat
Seizures/Convulsions/Shaking tremors

If you pet has diarrhea or vomits, note the time and collect a sample in a zip-top bag and take the pet and the specimen to the veterinarian right away. Call ahead so they are prepared to treat immediately. If you are absolutely certain that the dog has consumed anti-freeze within the previous two hours and the dog is not vomiting and has not vomited or slipped into a coma, you may induce vomiting with one teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide per five pounds of body weight, administering no more than three teaspoons at a time. You can try this method up to three times at ten-minute intervals, but only three times. Then get the dog to the veterinarian immediately.

NEVER INDUCE VOMITING if the pet consumed a substance that is petroleum-based or strong in alkali or acid.

Other sources of poisoning

Xylitol is a common sweetener found in chewing gums, candy, and baked goods. As more foods are prepared “sugar-free,” more Xylitol is in our homes. So in the wintertime when we bake cakes, our pups are more likely to eat a dangerous piece of cake or muffin. If they nose around in our purses, they might take a pack of sugar-free gum.

We can get grapes year round and bake with raisins. These are toxic to dogs, as are chocolate, coffee, walnuts and mushrooms. Animal and human medications, vitamins and supplements are dangerous for pets, too.

Poison resources?

Know the number for your veterinarian and the local emergency vet when your veterinarian is closed. Save these numbers in your phone, along with the number for Poison Control. Both the ASPCA and the Pet Poison Hotline offer advice over the phone for a fee, but it could save your pet’s life. So have your debit or credit card number handy! The number for ASPCA Animal Poison control Hotline is 888-4ANIHELP (888-426-4435). The Pet Poison Hotline is available at 855-764-7661.

As important as the number is knowing the address and location of the veterinary hospital or emergency center so you don’t waste time getting directions or making a wrong turn.

If you need a referral to a veterinarian, ask your pet sitter. Your pet sitters are a resource for a great deal of information. Read more on our blog or call us if we can be of help.

By Beth Crosby