Good puppy owners are well-educated in the future needs of their puppies. This includes being prepared to protect puppies against the most common dog poisons located in and around every home.
Breeders are often the most knowledgeable resources puppy owners have, and they should always be prepared to answer questions about common household poisons and how to keep a new puppy safe.
Prescription and over-the-counter medications are some of the most common items that dogs get into that cause accidental poisonings. Over-the-counter medications that cause the most pet poisonings include vitamins, ibuprofen, herbal supplements, and cold medicines. Human prescriptions, such as antidepressants and heart medications, are also extremely common.
Often, puppies get into medications when they are left in lower cabinets or pills are dropped on the floor. Putting medications up high and keeping puppies out of the room when pills are being taken are good preventative steps to keep dogs from accidentally eating something they shouldn’t. Puppy owners should never give medication to their puppy without veterinarian consent and should prioritize teaching their puppy the “leave it” command.
Rodenticides and Insecticides
Many homeowners use rodenticides and insecticides in the home or around the yard to eliminate pests. These come in several forms such as sprays, baited traps, or topical products. Only use these products according to the directions on the label, and keep puppies away from treated areas for the recommended time to keep them safe. Even if you choose not to use these poisons around your home, neighbors and friends might. Keeping a close eye on puppies when they’re playing outside or during puppy playdates is important to ensure they don’t come across these toxins.
Many dogs don’t mind taking veterinarian-prescribed chewable medicine because it is flavored to be more appealing. This is great when you’re trying to administer medications as prescribed but can be fatal if a puppy locates the bottle and decides to ingest everything in it. Tell your puppy buyers to keep pet medications out of reach of curious puppies and only give the veterinarian recommended dose for that specific puppy. Giving doses of medication based on what other dogs have been prescribed in the past can be a quick way to accidentally poison a puppy.
As puppies get older, they often learn that the kitchen and dining room offer prime opportunities for begging. While experienced dog owners know better than to encourage begging by sharing human food, some new puppy owners may not. There are some safe human foods that dogs can eat as high-value treats, however, there are also dangerous foods for dogs that can cause a pup to become extremely ill. Two of the most common foods that cause pet poisonings are chocolate and xylitol.
- Chocolate – Chocolate is one of the most dangerous foods that a puppy can consume, as it contains caffeine and theobromine – both of which stimulate a dog’s nervous system. The amount and type of chocolate eaten are major factors in how sick a dog may become. If a puppy is suspected of having eaten chocolate, they should be taken to the veterinarian right away.
- Xylitol – Xylitol can be found in sugar-free gum, peanut butter, candy, and even some baked goods. When a dog consumes xylitol, the dog’s pancreas releases a massive amount of insulin, which results in a decrease in the level of blood sugar in the body, also known as hypoglycemia. Xylitol can also cause liver failure if eaten in high quantities. A trip to the vet is recommended if a puppy is suspected to have eaten an item containing xylitol and is exhibiting symptoms such as vomiting, weakness, or diarrhea.
Household products used for cleaning can contain ingredients that are not safe for dogs. It’s best to try to use non-toxic products, and always use cleaning supplies per the label’s instructions. Dishwashing detergent, fabric softener, bleach, window cleaner, and bathroom cleaners should all be stored in locked cabinets or up high out of reach of pets. When cleaning, keep puppies out of the room so they aren’t exposed to drying chemicals or vapors.
Gardens and Lawn Products
A puppy’s first trip outside is an exciting one! Introducing them to grass, sunshine, and the smells that come with the great outdoors can be so much fun, but be sure that, once they start exploring their environment, they aren’t running into any poisons or other hazards. Teaching pet owners the benefits of maintaining a dog-friendly yard can save your puppies a lot of trouble down the road, but be sure your yard is a safe place as well.
- Plants – It’s easy to forget that you’ve planted some new flowers along the fence line, but a curious puppy may stop to munch on leaves. Be sure never to use poisonous plants in the areas of your yard that dogs or puppies may come into contact with and remind your new puppy owners to do the same.
- Lawn products – Fertilizers and weed killers can include dangerous chemicals with a detrimental effect on puppies. Read the instructions of lawn products to determine how long dogs should remain off the treated areas and never leave lawn products unattended where a dog or puppy could get into them.
- Mulch – While mulch may be a nice way to keep a yard looking fresh, be sure to choose mulch that won’t be harmful if accidentally consumed by a puppy. Some mulches, such as cocoa mulch, are poisonous to dogs when eaten.
If a pet owner notices a puppy experiencing symptoms of poisoning, they should take the puppy to their veterinarian or call the Pet Poison Helpline immediately. The sooner that a puppy is treated for an accidental poisoning, the better the chances of a positive outcome.
New Puppy Owner Resources
When sending your puppies home, include AKC Pet Insurance’s complimentary Pet Safety Handbook to help educate your new puppy owners on common poisons in the home, first aid tactics and other health and safety tips. In addition, inform your new puppy owners about the 30-Day Pet Insurance Certificate which comes as a benefit of AKC registration.