From craft glue to heavy duty polyurethane adhesives, there are many types and brands of adhesives found in Australia. Some adhesives dry hard, others stay flexible and some even expand. For example, ingestion of isocyanate polyurethane adhesives (Sika, Selleys, Gorilla glue and others) can result in a serious gastric complications in dogs. If swallowed, this glue can expand to a size that may cause an obstruction of your dog’s stomach, emergency surgery may be necessary.
Alcohol affects dogs in the same way it affects humans. Apart from alcoholic beverages, alcohol can be found in some cleaners, disinfectants, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and many other products. High levels of alcohol consumption can cause intoxication, gastrointestinal irritation coma and even death.
Ant baits such as Mortein, Combat or Amdro are very common in Australian homes. They can contain boric acid or many other insecticides which can all be toxic to dogs if enough has been ingested. Ant baits typically have a sweet smell and taste to attract ants, which unfortunately also appears to attract dogs.
Antihistamines are commonly used in both human and veterinary medicine for allergies, hay fever and skin rashes. Examples include dexchlorpheniramine, diphenhydramine, promethazine, loratadine and cetirizine. When accidentally ingested by dogs and cats, antihistamine poisoning can result in severe agitation, lethargy, sedation, seizures, respiratory depression, and even death.
Examples include ibuprofen, diclofenac and naproxen. NSAIDs are commonly available “over-the counter” for pain management. Ibuprofen is particularly toxic to dogs and can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, gastric ulceration and kidney failure.
Contains persin which is in all parts of the avocado. Unripe avocados contain a much higher concentration of persin than ripe avocados. Ingestion can result in gastrointestinal irritation, vomiting and diarrhoea. Whilst serious dog poisoning is rare, some animals seem to be more susceptible to toxicity.
Batteries come in all different sizes, voltages and chemical composition. From button batteries to AA and 9V batteries. When swallowed, the left-over electrical current in a button battery reacts with moisture to produce a strong alkali chemical. The chemical can cause serious internal burns and bleeding. The batteries can also leak chemicals which can cause serious burns. Button batteries are easily caught in the oesophagus, and when stuck can start to cause damage very quickly.
Bees and Wasps
These flying insects can cause a painful sting, which is associated with local redness and swelling. As our pets are covered in a thick layer of hair, the mouth is actually the most common sting site which often occurs when our pets are trying to eat them.
Bees only sting once, and typically leave a sting behind in the skin. Wasps may sting multiple times and do not leave a sting behind. In some cases, bee and wasp stings can cause a severe and life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.
This is a disinfecting surfactant that is found is many household cleaners such as Pine-O-Cleen, Dettol and Powerforce in varying strengths. Cats can develop drooling, fever and tongue and oral ulceration after ingesting liquid preparations or even after licking treated surfaces. Signs typically develop hours after exposure. These products are commonly found in most households and benzalkonium chloride is one of the most common cat poisons we receive calls about.
Australians are one of the highest consumers of coffee. Caffeine is contained in coffee, energy drinks, tea and pharmaceuticals. In large enough doses, caffeine can be fatal for a dog. Symptoms of caffeine poisoning include restlessness, rapid breathing, muscle tremors and seizures.
Contains theobromine which is toxic to dogs. Chocolate toxicity in dogs is dependent on the type of chocolate, the amount ingested and the size of your dog. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning in dogs include restlessness, excitement, hyperactivity, nervousness, trembling, vomiting, diarrhoea, increased drinking and urination, increased heart rate and seizures. Darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate. White chocolate has minimal levels of methylxanthines, while baking chocolate contains the highest amounts. Chocolate poisoning in dogs can be life threatening so always call the Animal Poisons Centre or a vet if you suspect your dog has ingested any.
Antifreeze or radiator coolants typically contain varied concentrations of ethylene glycol or other toxic glycols. Dogs or other animals may be attracted to ethylene glycol by its sweet taste. Many animals will voluntarily drink ethylene glycol if antifreeze is spilled or leaks onto garage floors or driveways. Even small ingestions in animals can result in severe or fatal poisoning.
Fertiliser products such as Osmocote, Yates Thrive, Brunnings and many others generally contain varying amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium compounds. They may be in liquid, granular or solid form and contain additives such as selective herbicides, insecticides and fungicides. Since fertilisers are usually a combination of ingredients, the effects of ingestion may vary.
Grapes, Sultanas, Currants and Raisins
These can cause kidney failure in dogs. The cause is unclear, however signs of poisoning in dogs include repeated vomiting and lethargy. If your dog has a habit of stealing food off the table, be sure to put dried fruit out of reach (including, fruit cakes, hot cross buns and raisin toast).
Lead poisoning in animals is uncommon but it may occur from ingestion of fishing sinkers when connected to bait or by ingestion of lead-containing dust or paint when grooming their contaminated coat.
When two or more magnets are ingested, they can cause serious gastrointestinal complications such as obstruction and even perforation which can be fatal. Popular rare-earth magnets have much higher attraction and as such are even a greater risk.
Found in many slug and snail killer products used around the garden, they usually come in the form of blue or green pellets such as in Defender, Yates Blitzem or Richgro. These pellets are often eaten by inquisitive dogs and can cause rapid-onset convulsions which can last many hours. Metaldehyde poisoning often results in hospitalisation for several days.
Poisonous wild mushrooms can cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain/cramps, diarrhoea and hallucinations. Australia is home to a huge variety of wild mushrooms and identification reliable cannot be made. Some mushrooms can cause liver/kidney failure and death, Others can result in agitation and seizures. Symptoms may occur within 30 minutes to 24 hours after ingestion depending on the type and amount of poisonous mushroom consumed.
Onions contain a substance that can cause gastrointestinal irritation and lead to red blood cell damage, resulting in anemia. Garlic and chives contain the same substance but at a lower concentration.
Organophosphate and Carbamate Insecticides
Organophosphates such as Chlorpyrifos, Malathion and Diazinon are now very rarely used domestically, these and other Organophosphate and Carbamate Insecticides are highly toxic to dogs. Signs of ingestion include vomiting, diarrhoea, hypersalivation, muscle tremors and seizures.
A pesticide is a substance used to kill insects, fungi, plants or even feral mammals. There are thousands of different pesticides in use today and they come in many different forms. They come in many different concentrations from highly concentrated to diluted ready to use formulations. Toxicity also varies significantly.
Whilst most small ingestions of plants may be benign. A number of plants are poisonous to pets, resulting in serious illness and even death in some cases. Lillies and cats do not mix, and even brushing up against them can make cats very unwell. There are many of plants which can result in varying degrees of toxicity, it is therefore important to check the safety of any plant before place them around pets.
Pyrethrins and Pyrethroids
Pyrethrins and pyrethroids are used as insecticides and can be found in many domestic aerosol sprays such as Baygon, Mortein and Hovex. Flea treatments available for dogs including “spot-on” treatments and can be very concentrated. Cats are particularly sensitive to these insecticides and even a standard dose for a small dog can be fatal to cats. Cat poisoning symptoms include drooling, tremor and restlessness which can progress to convulsions. Call the Animal Poisons Centre if you suspect your pet has been exposed to a pyrethrin or pyrethroid insecticide.
Rat and Mouse Rodenticides
Rodenticides are a very common cause of poisoning in dogs. Most rodenticides use anti-coagulants that work by causing uncontrollable bleeding. Unfortunately they have a similar effect on our pets. When a dog eats rat poison, signs of bleeding can be delayed by 1-7 days. Symptoms of rat poisoning in dogs include lethargy, bleeding from gums, black tarry stools, pale gums and nose bleeds. Rat poison in dogs can cause problems with blood clotting which can last for many weeks or months. Brands such as Ratsak, Talon and Big Cheese are available in pellets or wax blocks. If you suspect that your dog may have eaten rat poison, please contact the Animal Poisons Centre or your vet immediately.
Australia has the most venomous snakes in the world, all bites or suspected bites should be treated as potentially life-threatening. Try to keep your pet calm, if the bite has occurred on a leg, apply a pressure immobilization bandage from the paw up to the base of the limb. Your pet should be kept still as venom travels through the lymphatic system and movement can encourage more venom to enter the bloodstream. Your pet should then be carried to a car and immediately transported to a veterinarian practice.
All spider bites can be associated with local pain, redness and swelling. Spider bites can also become infected if they are not adequately cleaned. There are two spiders in Australia that can result in systemic envenoming, these are the Redback spider and the Funnel-web spider. Redback spiders can cause severe regional and generalized pain, vomiting and elevations to the heart rate. Whilst they are not typically life-threatening, they can make your pet very sick for up to a few days. Funnel-web spider bites are potentially rapidly lethal. They should be managed with a pressure bandage if the bite occurs on a limb, and transported to a vet.
Ticks bite and feed on your dog’s blood. As they feed, they cause irritation and discomfort. The most dangerous tick is the paralysis tick, which injects a powerful neurotoxin that can be deadly to dogs. All ticks need to be removed correctly.
Xylitol is particularly toxic to dogs, causing insulin release resulting in dangerous low blood sugar levels. There is also risk of delayed liver injury. Initial dog poisoning symptoms include vomiting, lethargy and loss of coordination. This sweetener is used in lollies, chewing gum, toothpaste, and some diet foods.