Top 4 Pet Toxicities of the summer

Dated: 06/05/2018

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Can you guess the four most common things the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center gets called about every July 4? They're fireworks, food, lawn products and pool chemicals.

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

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:

  • Aluminum
  • Antimony
  • Barium
  • Beryllium
  • Calcium
  • Cesium
  • Chlorate
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Lithium
  • Magnesium
  • Nitrates
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Rubidium
  • Strontium
  • Sulfur
  • Titanium
  • Zinc

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

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. 

Lawn Products

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.

Food

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!

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Pat Kiel

As an Associate Broker of Exit Realty Plus in Salt Lake City, Pat Kiel has enjoyed helping clients reach their real estate goals with purchasing, selling and investing for over 21 years. She has lived....

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