Dogs are nature's vacuum cleaners. They slurp down anything that hits the floor, then look to see what's next. This can be a big problem if the latest snack is not only inedible, but toxic. Here are four unlikely things that can harm, or even kill, your dog.
Button batteries. These tiny batteries are used in small devices such as glucose monitors, hearing aids, remote controls, and even that silly musical greeting card you got for your birthday. They contain metals and other elements that can harm your pet.
To keep your pet from consuming a button battery, keep greeting cards or talking children's books out of reach. When you need to change the battery in any device, do it at the table. Place a dishtowel under the device to catch the battery if it slips out of your hand. This will keep it off the floor and out of the dog's stomach.
Pennies. You probably know that your dog shouldn't eat chocolate or lick giant toads, but did you know that money can kill your pup? Newer US pennies are made of zinc, which can cause kidney and liver failure. Treatment includes surgery to remove the pennies as well as blood transfusions and medication.
To prevent zinc poisoning, keep loose change in a bowl or other container.
Sugar-free gums and candies. These usually contain Xylitol, a sugar substitute that is safe for humans, but not for dogs. Even a single stick of gum can result in dangerously low blood sugar for your pet. Larger amounts can cause liver failure. Xylitol can affect a dog in as little as 30 minutes.
Keep all sugar-free products away from pets. If you keep gum or candies in a purse, bag, or jacket, be sure to put it where your dog can't get to it.
E-Cigarettes. Nicotine has been used as a pesticide for years. It's as bad for dogs as it is for beetles. Symptoms include seizures, vomiting, and muscle spasms. Nicotine also causes heart problems and difficulty breathing. E-cigarettes are devices that vaporize a tiny portion of liquid nicotine, which the user then inhales. This liquid comes in small plastic vials, which a dog can easily bite into. Even a small amount of this liquid can kill a dog.
Keep tobacco and nicotine products in a cabinet that your dog can't reach. Some dogs are attracted to the smell of tobacco, so be careful where you keep that pack of smokes. If you believe that your dog has eaten something it shouldn't, contact a veterinarian immediately, such as After Hours Veterinary Emergency Clinic Inc.