and Welcome to the official web site for the Heartland
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By Dr. Becker
Earlier this year, the Pet Poison Helpline released the
top 10 household items that caused pet guardians to call
for poison consultations during 2013.
According to the Helpline's Associate Director Ahna
Brutlag, DVM, the list of cat toxins didn't change from
last year, but a new item made it to the top 10 list for
dogs: canine joint supplements. These supplements have
"limited toxicity" according to Dr. Brutlag, but
a few cases of liver failure following a massive overdose
have been reported.
If you know or suspect your pet has ingested or been
exposed to a toxic substance, call your veterinarian, a
nearby emergency animal hospital, and/or the 24/7 Pet
Poison Helpline at 800-213-6680. You can also download
their Pet Poison Help iPhone app.
Top 10 Dog Toxins in 2013
1. Chocolate - Chocolate contains theobromine and
caffeine, which are both classified as methylxanthines.
These compounds can cause hyperactivity, increased heart
rate, tremors, and potentially death. The more bitter the
chocolate, the more toxic it is. Bakers and dark chocolate
are the most toxic, and milk chocolate can be dangerous if
ingested in large amounts.
2. Xylitol - Xylitol, a sugar substitute common in
sugar-free chewing gum and many other products, can cause
life-threatening hypoglycemia and liver damage in dogs.
3. NSAIDs - Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like
Advil, Motrin and Aleve, can cause GI ulcers and kidney
4. Over-the-counter cough, cold and allergy
medications -Many of these preparations contain
acetaminophen (a painkiller) and pseudoephedrine or
phenylephrine (decongestants) and are highly toxic.
5. Rodenticides -,Rat and mouse poison can contain
inactive ingredients that are attractive to dogs. Aside
from eating the poison itself, dogs can also become sick
from eating a rodent that has ingested poison. Exposure to
rat and mouse poison can cause bleeding, seizures and
6. Grapes and raisins - These foods, even in small
amounts, can cause kidney failure in dogs.
7. Insect bait stations - The danger here is primarily
bowel obstruction when a dog swallows the plastic shell
that contains the bait.
8. Prescription ADD/ADHD drugs - These drugs are
amphetamines that can cause tremors, heart problems,
seizures and death in pets.
9. Glucosamine joint supplements - These supplements
are often flavored to appeal to dogs. Overdoses usually
produce nothing more dangerous than diarrhea, but in rare
cases, liver failure can result.
10. Oxygen absorbers and silica gel packs - Oxygen
absorbers are found in packages of pet treats, beef jerky,
and other consumables, and they contain iron that can
cause iron poisoning in dogs. Silica gel packs are the
small white packs found in new shoes, purses and