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How to Distinguish Myth vs. Reality With COVID-19 and Your Pets

As members of the veterinary community, we've been monitoring the situation with the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) from the beginning. At a time when people are understandably prone to panic, it's more important than ever to separate fact from fiction. Pet owners want to know the straight truth about the possibility of pet infection and the spread of this virus, and we share the latest information on that in this blog post.

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Protecting Your Pets from Common Poisons

Most people think of bleach or rat poison when they think of household toxins. If that’s you, you’re right. Yet, there are many other less obvious items that could pose a hazard.

Take sugar-free gum for instance. Did you know that it contains xylitol, which can cause liver failure in your dog? The popular sugar substitute is also in certain brands of toothpaste and sweetener packets for coffee and tea. Yet, it can be deadly to your dog.

And that’s just one of dozens of poisonous products your pets may encounter in a typical day.

The fact is, our homes are filled with products that are not meant to be eaten, or that are okay for humans but dangerous for dogs and cats. Xylitol is a good example, as is chocolate. There are even common houseplants that can be dangerous if ingested.

The third full week of March is always recognized as National Poison Prevention Week, making this month a good time to review your home (and purse) for possible toxins. This includes considering dog or cat access to potential toxins.



5 Everyday Products Poisonous to Pets

As you can see, there are lots of common products that can be dangerous to your dog or cat. Here’s a short list of things to evaluate, especially if you have a curious pet.

  • Bleach and Other Household Cleaning Products - Many of these products can cause renal failure and even death if your pet drinks them. It’s a good idea to keep them behind a locked door to prevent prying paws.
  • Anti-freeze – Believed to have a sweet taste, this common substance is also dangerous if ingested. As with any cleaning product, it’s a good idea to keep it locked up and out of reach of curious animals.
  • Rodent or Bug Poison (or Spray) – Ant traps, bug spray, rat poison, rodents who have ingested poison: each of these poses dangers to your pet and you’ll want to keep them securely stored out of pet reach.
  • Certain Foods – Chocolate isn’t the only common food item that’s dangerous to dogs and cats. Onions, macadamia nuts, and even grapes can cause vomiting and sometimes severe gastrointestinal problems. ASPCA Animal Poison Control lists even more no-no foods here.
  • Plants – There are hundreds of common houseplants that can be toxic if eaten. Azaleas, tulips, sago palms, and more are featured on ASPCA Pet Poison Control's list of poisonous plants. Even certain types of mulch (like so-called “chocolate mulch”) can be a problem for dogs.

What Can You Do About It?

As you can see, there are many everyday items that can be problematic to your pets. The key is to pet-proof your home, especially if you’re bringing home a new animal. Store all medications, cleaning products, and chemicals in secure cabinets or other locations. And don't forget to simply keep your pets away from certain foods and plants.

In some cases, young or “new-to-you” pets may be most at risk because they’re curious and tend to taste everything. But even older animals have been known to do things like eat a pack of sugarless gum from your purse.

To play it safe, keep purses and bags away from your pets and at least once a year, re-evaluate your home and garage for safety. Has anything been left within reach of Max? If so, put it away.

puppy with toxins


If you do have a situation where your pet ingests toxins, call your veterinarian right away and they can advise you of what to do next. You can also contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC)hotline at (888) 426-4435 or the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661.

When did you last evaluate your home for potential pet dangers? If you have any questions about what you can do to protect your specific pup or kitty, please feel free to contact us!

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See Gracie's Trupanion Pet Insurance Story here

Gracie's Trupanion Story:

"I was very happy that I utilized Trupanion's free 30 day trial when my puppy, Gracie, got into an unknown substance and was experiencing toxicity symptoms. It was a comforting feeling to be able to tell the Emergency Vet to perform whatever tests or procedures were necessary because I had insurance. It was very easy to process the claim and the Trupanion staff were very caring and helpful. Needless to say, I have continued her coverage and would highly recommend it!" -Amber Wright (Gracie's mom)

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Retained Deciduous Teeth by Dr. Tiffany Cardoza, DVM

Like humans, dogs have two sets of teeth in their lives, the deciduous teeth (puppy teeth) and the permanent teeth (adult teeth). Eruption of deciduous teeth occurs in puppies at aroundfour weeks of age. These teeth remain until three to four months of age when they are replaced with adult teeth over the course of two to three months. Frequently in small breeds (Yorkies, Poodles and Chihuahuas) this process can become disorganized or disrupted. This results in both the permanent and puppy tooth being simultaneously present and crowded in the same location.

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Curious about pet insurance? Little Gracie is our patient, here is her Trupanion Story:

My name is Gracie. I am a 9 1/2 month old beagle girl.
My mom says my good looks make up for all the mischief I seem to get myself into. As with most beagles, my nose is always to the ground as I explore my world.
One time I managed to pop some wood caps off of the furniture and swallowed them. Mom had no idea what I had done until it was to late. I didn't feel well and had to go see my friends at Sylvan Vet for treatment.

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