The Hazards You Carry Every Day

A couple of weeks ago my client left me a note saying that Murphy had had a bad day yesterday. He broke into her purse and ate the heck out of her asthma inhaler! This caused some serious issues like a drop in potassium which caused muscle spasms and a spike in his heart rate. The main ingredient causing this; albuterol. Albuterol inhalers are sometimes prescribed for humans and pets with asthma, but they are to be administered in small doses. One canister which is covered in plastic and gives off an appealing smell to our pets can contain up to 200 doses! Murphy experienced most of these symptoms and found himself at the emergency vet. His prognosis was good but only because his owners acted quickly and his own veterinarian knew to send him to a facility that was better equipped for the supportive care he needed to get his potassium levels back to where they were healthy and his heart to a normal beat.

Murphy, survivor of an albuterol poisoning

Now not everyone will have an inhaler in their purse but pain meds or even anti-depressant medication is certainly a common conundrum for our furred-friends that like to chew. Just one Advil can cause chaos in their kidneys and a Tylenol will kill your cat and leave your dog with liver damage. Dogs and cats do not experience the same effects of non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) designed for human consumption that we do. First and foremost never give these medications to your pets, secondly if you feel that they need a pain reliever, contact your veterinarian for advice and/or a script for a pet safe pain reliever. Do not chance giving them an over-the-counter pain med and certainly do not let them have access to it or any other meds in your purse.

Many people have a little treat in their purse, some carry gum, some carry little chocolates. They even have supplements buried into little bits of chocolate delights. You like them and so does Max, only while that little protein stuffed chocolate chunk helps you stave off hunger and keep your figure, it will have a much different effect on your dog or cat. Chocolate contains theobromine, a stimulant that can cause; restlessness, excitement, hyperactivity, nervousness, trembling, vomiting, diarrhea, increased drinking and increased urination, increased heart rate, muscle tremors, seizures and possibly death. It is based on the amount ingested so keep in mind the darker the chocolate and the less sugar, the higher the likely dose of theobromine.

If you’re not into chocolate you most likely have gum or breath savers in your purse. Almost all of these claim to be sugar free and instead of sugar they carry something far more dangerous; xylitol. My friend Aimee was lucky to piece together that her vomiting lethargic, wobbly, dazed and confused Boxer had gotten into a packet of gum that her daughter’s friend had in her bag. With Kobe’s liver values crashing she raced off to the ER vet and after several days of treatment, Kobe came home safe and sound. Xylitol is showing up everywhere as a low calorie sugar substitute, it has now entered the peanut butter market, a favorite kong stuffer for many people with pups.

Kobe, xylitol survivor

For the OCD crowd out there like me who likes to carry hand sanitizer everywhere with them, you have to realize you are walking around with an alcoholic nip for your pet! These hand sanitizers are frequently “flavored” with yummy smelling scents like cookies, vanilla, strawberry, grape etc. While they smell yummy to ingest, they are equivalent to taking a couple shots of liquor for your pets. This will cause symptoms like a severe drop in your pet’s blood sugar, loss of coordination, loss of body temperature, nervous system depression, coma, and death.

The moral of the story is keep your purse zippered, latched and out of Fluffy and Fido’s reach. Everyday items that we forget we have on us can be deadly hazards to our loved ones. For a more complete list of hazards we have on us, in our home as well as their effects on our pets, take a pet first aid and CPR course, you pet would appreciate it.