Protecting Pets From Poisons – And How We Are Exposed To More Toxins Than You Humans

on January 30, 2010
Posted in Cats


Ahem. Excuse me. I’ve just come back from a howl-iffic visit with my pal, and his human was cleaning the house. We were running around, playing with his doggie kong, when all of a sudden I felt like I couldn’t breathe – tears were burning in my eyes, and my skin was all hot and itchy. My human grabbed me and got me outta there, just in the knick of time. Dog bless her.

Turns out, our human host was cleaning with chemical household cleaners – totally toxic and not pet-friendly! In fact, not anyone friendly, but this post isn’t just about anyone. It’s about you and me. Pet pals.

Pets Exposed To More Toxins Than Humans

We, naturally, live in a natural world. But unfortunately our natural world is infused with chemicals – all around us! Humans are obsessed with detoxifying themselves, but often don’t think about the toxins that we pets are exposed to. Well guess what people, we ARE exposed to chemicals, lots of them, and most of the time even more than you humans! Why? Primawily because we are so much smaller, and lower to the ground. Think about it: who spends time running through and munching on pesticidy grass? We do. Who eats tasty, stinky, rotting morsels off the ground? We do. Who loves to hunt around in moldy, asbestos and fiberglass filled crawl spaces? We do. We pets are exposed to more than just household cleaners: chemicals are in our flea sprays and collars, our non-organic foods, our plastic toys, your pesticides, your cigarette smoke, and your furniture.

The point is: we crawlers are constantly exposed to toxic substances, which can seriously harm our tiny bodies and potentially cause illness – and even death.

Herbicides And Bladder Cancer In Pets

Lets take, for example, a recent study at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., which revealed that the risk of bladder cancer was significantly increased among Scotties exposed to lawns or gardens treated with both herbicides and insecticides or with herbicides only. According to the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, “The prevalence of bladder cancer in dogs examined at veterinary teaching hospitals in North America increased by more than 600 percent between 1975 and 1995” (from the Environmental Working Group) When chemicals are sprayed on a lawn, it’s recommended that people and pets stay off the ground for 24 hours. Fine enough, but aren’t the chemicals released into the air? We’re still breathing the stuff in – and don’t tell me that after 24 hours the grass we roll around in has NO chemical residue left. I mean, where the ruff does it go? Pu-leeze. My suggestion: use natural alternatives to lawn care, and eliminate the problem. Is a perfectly green, moss-free lawn that necessary, anyhowl?

Poisonous Chemicals and Death

Most peeps know not to use household cleaners around their kids. More and more families aren’t using them, and are looking for natural alternatives. But many “single” pet “owners” don’t think twice about using chemicals around their pets (which is crazy, because they’re also exposing THEMSELVES to chemicals! Yapyapyap.). They clean out toilet bowls with bleach, then their pet pals come along and take a long drink. They clean their floors, then their beloved furry friend comes to eat lunch – probably dropping tidbits onto the floor, which is now swathed in a chemical. The result: liver and kidney damage, and/ or respiratory problems.

A Sad, Sad Story – A Poisoned Parrot

Lest you think that toxins are as obvious as pesticides and household cleansers, read this:

Teflon Tragedy Reminds Us That It Is Best to Not Keep These Pans in Homes with Birds

“On Dec 23rd, 2004 I was using an old pot that had most of the teflon worn off of it to boil water to put a little moisture in the air. I was doing this for the people in the house as well as for my 9 year old Soloman Island Eclectus, Ruby. I do not like it when the air is real dry in the house. It was about 11:00 pm when I fell asleep. At 2:30 in the morning on Christmas eve, Ruby started screaming for me. I ran to the cage and pulled of the cover. She was on the bottom of the cage, shaking like she was freezing. I picked her up and held her to my chest. She uddered a few tiny sounds, then she was gone. I walked into the kitchen, still holding her. To my horror, I saw the empty pot on the red hot coils.

I feel tremendous guilt over killing my baby. Please, everyone who reads this and is a parent to a parrot, believe with every ounce of your being, the dangers of teflon. The pot I was using was old and worn out, but still had enough teflon left to kill my baby from 30 feet away. I was playing with her the night before, and she cried for me like usual when I put her to bed. She was gone in an instant, don’t let it happen to you.” Jim in Tennessee

From Parrot Parrot (amazing bird advice, thanks guys!)

Symptoms Your Pet Has Been Poisoned

Here are some symptoms that your pet has inhaled or ingested something toxic:

  • panting
  • drooling
  • vomiting
  • voiding green or black urine
  • muscle tremors

Take your pet to the vet or emergency, immediately!

Protecting Pets From Poisons

It’s true, many chemicals can kill a very large amount of bacteria and viruses. But they can also kill us. Isn’t that insane? Especially considering that many natural ingredients have the potential to kill the same amount of germs, without the toxic side-effects. Here’s a great link on how to protect us. And check out Green Paws, for info on pet products and how to avoid the chemicals in them.

As, always, I am your devoted health-servant for life, Buster

Photo Credit: dwipal

Read also: Pups and Parvovirus – A Lethal Combination

Our Expert

Dr. Janice Huntingford
Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan

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