All About Marie

Animal Files columnist of the Orange County Register from 1992-2016; Emmy Award winning producer of Educational Television Programming; Host of "The Pet Place Radio Show" heard world-wide at; click the player below to listen. Producer/Director/Editor/Co-host of "The Pet Place TV Show" during the 19 years it ran on KDOC TV in Los Angeles and Orange Counties; Wife, Mother of five kids, Grandmother of two baby boys and one baby girl, and pet parent of two cats, one dog, many fish, and a cockatoo.

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Friday, March 25, 2016

Puppy and Poison

Dear Marie:
My puppy is turning me into a nervous wreck!!  He is constantly getting into things that are potentially dangerous and eating them.  I keep thinking I’ve puppy proofed enough; but almost as soon as I start feeling comfortable about it, I find him into something else.  So far, we've been lucky and he hasn’t eaten anything toxic.  But what should we do if he does?  He is incredibly sneaky about getting things that I thought were out of his reach.  I  can’t be with him every waking moment and I’m afraid that his behavior is a disaster waiting to happen.  I really need help here!


Dear Patty:
I think you should immediately invest in a dog crate for the times when you can’t be with your dog.  If you are absolutely sure you’ve locked up cleansers and other dangerous chemicals (i.e. with baby proof cabinet locks, baby gates, etc.) and he is still, somehow getting to them, you really don’t have many other alternatives.  Besides, as I have mentioned in previous posts, dogs rather like crates because they give them the feeling of being in a den.  It’s a comfortable, safe feeling for them.

Even after taking these extra steps, your pet may still ingest poison when you least expect it. Consequently, you should always be prepared for this possibility.

Ask your veterinarian about his procedures for handling emergency situations, especially those that occur after normal business hours. You may find that you will need to take your pet to a special emergency veterinary hospital. If this is the case, keep the telephone numbers for your veterinarian as well as the emergency veterinary service in an obvious location.  (I keep mine posted on the refrigerator with magnets.) Check out the ASPCA webpage on poison control and emergencies:

If your pet has been exposed to a toxic chemical, stay calm. Though you will need to get immediate veterinary care, panicking will prohibit you from taking the right steps to save your pet’s life.

Take a minute to collect the poison (and the container, if there is one) that your pet has ingested. Your veterinarian will need to know exactly what toxins are  involved.   You should also collect and bring in a zip-lock plastic bag any material your pet may have vomited or chewed.

If your animal is seizuring, losing consciousness, unconscious or having difficulty breathing,  call your veterinarian and be prepared to transport your pet immediately. 

Remember, toxins are not just found in cleansers and insecticides.  Most antifreeze products, unless labeled otherwise, are extremely dangerous.  Furthermore, this fluid actually tastes good to animals.  Frequently, unthinking individuals will drain their radiators out into the street gutters (which you're not supposed to do), and your pet may try and take a drink from these puddles while you are out walking together.  Keep on your guard for this potential hazard.  Also, many houseplants are extremely toxic if they are ingested.  Dogs will mouth just about anything, especially young dogs, because that is how they explore and experience their world.   For a great list of poisonous houseplants, click on this link provided by the Humane Society of the United States:

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