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Health Hazards

Dogs are curious and they love to eat, so it's not surprising many get in trouble by eating -or chewing- the wrong thing. From electrical cords to poisonous plants and many other items in between, they all pose a serious threat. Puppy/dog owners must think ahead and make sure they put away all dangerous material that can be dangerous and even fatal for their Sheltie.

Here is a list of poisons found in every household. Remember: acting quickly can save your dog's life.

1-Antifreeze - The active chemical in antifreeze responsible for so many poisonings is ethylene glycol, which has a sweet taste that attracts a dog's attention. A small spill on the floor can go easily unnoticed, but your dog will find it! and only an ounce will kill a Sheltie.
Symptoms: Sweet breath combined with nausea and vomiting. Initially a dog will act uncoordinated, but within hours he will become more and more depressed, will drool and will be unable to stand. Take to the emergency room as fast as you can!

2- Chocolate - Hard to believe something so good can be so bad for our best friend! but dogs metabolize chocolate in different ways that humans, so a chocolate bar is NO treat for a dog. One ounce of unsweetened baker's chocolate can kill a 10 pound puppy. The main ingredient in chocolate, theobromine, is a powerful heart and nervous system stimulant, which in the right amount can kill a dog. You can rightly say: too much of a good thing.
Vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness and excessive drinking and urinating. Later, hyper-excitability, muscle tremors, seizures and abnormal heart rhythm. Dogs may die 18 hours to a couple days later of heart failure.

3- Onions - Although not a common poison, onions can be fatal, cooked or raw. One of the chemicals in onions damages red blood cells causing anemia, which over time may cause death.

4- Grapes and raisins - The toxic agent in grapes has not been identified yet, but dogs are very sensitive to it. Half a pound or less may kill a medium Sheltie.
Symptoms: Vomiting, diarrhea,  loss of appetite, depression and abdominal pain. Later, kidney functions stop.

5- Sugarless chewing gum - The artificial sweetener Xilitol is also an ingredient in toothpaste, beverages and cereals. It makes the blood sugar level drop sharply within an hour of eating any of these products. As little as a pack of gum can kill an adult Sheltie
Symptoms: Vomiting, weakness, depression, un-coordination and sometimes, seizures. Glucose in the blood stream will save the dog's life.

6- Over-the-counter drugs: Ibuprofen (Advil, etc) can produce stomach ulcers in dogs, resulting in extreme pain and loss of blood, sometimes fatal. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) can cause similar problems.

7- Common plants - Many common plants, such as poinsettia, the popular Christmas red and green plant will produce vomit and diarrhea, but will not be fatal. Many others, such as azalea and rhododendrons will cause similar symptoms and death, if left untreated. Tulips, daffodils and narcissus can produce serious poisoning. Many mushrooms are fatal.

Best way to prevent your dog from being poisoned is to make a list of all dangerous products and plants in your household and garden and make sure they are out of reach for your dog. Do not use mouse poison in or around the house. And find out what the Animal Poison Control number is in your area -keep it handy in case of emergency, same with your nearest vet phone number.

Resources: Check the Cornell University page for a more complete list of toxic plants. Upenn also has a complete study on poisonous plants, plus the ASPCA has a page on Animal Poison Control with more info.


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