Home health – Protect your pets

Protect your family pets from poison and recognize the signs that it has been digested.

Safety is a topic most people care about, but often overlook or take it for granted. There are environmental chemicals available that assist in cleaning, gardening and keeping pests at bay. Take a look at the labels of your cleaning products, gardening pesticides and pest control products. Most have warning labels that you probably never even read. These labels are on these products to warn you of their hazards and provide information on how to properly use and store the product.

Michigan State University Extension encourages parents of young children normally take precautions of their hazardous products by keeping them out of reach of young children. Pet owners need to take the same precautions for their pets. Most veterinarians treat at least one pet per week for digesting some type of poison – rat or mouse poison being the most common.

Rat or mouse poisons are made with blood thinners that stop blood from clotting. Once the blood stops clotting, the blood leaks into organs and out eyes, nose and mouth. The rat or mouse dies eventually from bleeding internally or hemorrhaging. The same happens to any animal or human that digests the product.

If your pet travels with you, before letting your pet roam freely, ask if any rat or mouse poisons are in the area.

Some of the symptoms of poisoning in a pet are as follows: Pale gums, blood in saliva, low body temperature, bruising, weakness, muscle spasms and rapid breathing. Take your pet immediately to your local veterinary clinic if you suspect it may have gotten into a poison. It may take up to or more than 48 hours for symptoms to occur.

Your vet will most likely make your dog vomit and start providing it vitamin K, which acts like an antidote. A blood transfusion may be done if too much blood was lost. Vitamin K will be prescribed for about a month, and then a blood test will be given to make sure the pet is free of all poison and their blood is clotting appropriately.

If you use mouse or rat poison consider placing it in a cylinder that a pet can’t get into, or remember to tell pet owners that you have poison on your property to avoid any injuries or death.

To better understand how rat poisons affect pets read more through The Pet Health Library.