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Pick your poison.

There are lots of foods, plants and medications that are not safe for our furry friends. Here are just a few to think about as we turn the corner to spring.

Xylitol is a synthetic sugar, used in sugar free foods... it causes dogs glucose to drop to life-threatening levels, usually requires animal to be hospitalized with 24hr monitoring. It is seen with sugar free gums, sugar free peanut butter... make sure these products are kept out of reach of your pets.

As spring and Easter approaches, don't forget about the beautiful Lilies. All lilies in the 'true lily' or 'daylily' family are very toxic to cats. Every aspect of the plant is toxic, including the water in the vase. They can present with fatal kidney failure within days of ingestion. If you have pets, please research flowers and plants that pose a risk to your animals.

Easter is also great for chocolate everything! The methylxanthines theobromine and caffeine are the toxic components. They cause CNS stimulation, tachycardia, vomiting and diarrhea. Dry cocoa powder or baker's chocolate is most toxic, with milk chocolate being less. One ounce of milk chocolate per pound of body weight is potentially lethal to dogs. A quick online search, can find you several chocolate toxicity calculators. Merck Vet Manual ( has a reliable calculator.

Pain relievers. Dogs and cats are not humans, we have to be very careful on what human drugs we use on our pets. Acetamiophen can cause acute liver damage or methemaglobinemia (decreased ability for RBC's to carry oxygen to cells). Ibuprofen at low doses can cause severe stomach ulcerations, while higher doses can cause liver and/or kidney failure or neurological signs (seizures, tremors). Please only use medications prescribed by your veterinarian.

Try to keep foods and medications out of a pets reach, if you are concerned about possible ingestion, please contact your veterinarian. If they cannot be reached there is a 24hr pet poison helpline ( 855-764-7661. After ingestion, the sooner the medical care, the better the outcome.

Here's to healthy pets and warmer weather!

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