These tips from APCC veterinarians can help you deal with seasonal toxicity cases from July 4 and all summer long.
(And grab this free handout to print or share on social media!)
Fireworks are divided into two categories, personal use and professional. Personal fireworks can be purchased by the general public while professional fireworks are restricted. Fireworks generally contain fuel, oxidizers, color producing compounds (often heavy metals), binders and reducing agents.
Chemicals that can be found in fireworks include:
While fireworks have the potential to cause serious toxicity, most exposures to personal fireworks do not result in life-threatening signs. Common concerns with exposure to fireworks include gastrointestinal upset, corrosive injury, dermal burns and possible foreign body obstruction.
Heavy metal toxicity is more likely with larger exposures or exposures to professional fireworks.
Pool chemicals can include chlorine tablets, muriatic acid and brominating tablets.
Exposure to pool products – once they have been diluted appropriately in the pool or spa – is generally not a serious concern. However, it is very different when pets get into the products directly.
Most often there is concern for gastrointestinal signs as well as potential for corrosive injury. Respiratory signs may be a problem if the exposure is in a confined area or the owner has been mixing chemicals inappropriately in a small, enclosed space.
Generally lawn products fall into three categories: herbicides, fertilizers and insecticides.
Casual exposures to yard products generally result in mild and self-limiting gastrointestinal upset. But what you want to watch out for is exposure to agricultural products (especially older ones), larger exposures to insecticides (particularly granular products) or exposures to older or foreign products.
You are more likely to run in to a nasty organophosphate or carbamate toxicity with older (particularly agricultural) or foreign products.
Grapes/raisins, onions and garlic, xylitol, macadamia nuts, chocolate, moldy food, avocados, cherry pits, alcohol: Summer festivities include a plethora of foods pets should not get into.
While there is not much new to share in this category, xylitol keeps popping up in unexpected places – the newest one is peanut butter. Make sure to have owners check those labels!