Very tired dogRemember those nostalgic images of Tom and Jane walking home from school, with only a small stack of books held together by a simple, single leather strap? Pffft. Yeah, right.While there are still many similarities between modern kids and the ones of yore, the fact remains that a great deal has changed for our young students today.

If you need an example, look no further than your child’s backpack. For your inquisitive (or hungry) pet, there could be loads of hidden risks packed between those folders and inside pockets. Leave no zipper undone in the afternoon, and make sure there aren’t any potential pet poisons left behind.

Enticing Aromas

You know the old adage “the nose knows”? Well, for your pet, this is all too accurate and he or she understands the world through the all-powerful sniffer. The sensors in your pet’s nose will lead him or her to inspect and catalogue the range of scents coming from your child’s coat, backpack, or lunchbox and, while this is perfectly normal, it should be closely observed. Otherwise, your pet could be exposed to any of these potential pet poisons:

Xylitol – Although it may seem innocuous enough that your child brought home a cupcake from the back to school party, any sweet treat could have Xylitol, a sugar replacer, in it. Found in everything from gum and mints, to nasal spray and mouthwash, Xylitol is highly toxic to dogs and can result in vomiting, weakness, collapse and liver failure in high doses. Immediate attention is required to help your pet get through Xylitol poisoning.
Chocolate – Toxic for both cats and dogs, chocolate contains varying levels of Theobromine, the chemical responsible for such symptoms as vomiting, diarrhea, increased water intake, panting, incontinence, hyperactivity, tremors and seizures.
Medications – Pills for ADD/ADHD, depression, inflammation (Ibuprofen/Naproxen), or pain (Acetaminophen, such as Tylenol) can cause kidney damage, liver damage, seizures, loss of coordination, elevated heart rate and body temperature, and can be fatal if ingested by your pet.
Asthma inhalers – If an inhaler is punctured, your pet could be exposed to a sizable dose of pet poisons found in the combination of steroids and albuterol. This could cause vomiting, collapse and possible death.
Nicotine Products – Vaping is a new choice for a smokeless experience, but the liquid nicotine is extremely dangerous to your pet. Also look out for cigarette butts and chewing tobacco. If you notice increases in heart and respiratory rates, loss of bladder or bowel control, seek emergency care.

Other Pet Poisons

Beyond the above mentioned culprits, there are a handful of other possible pet poisons that surface during the school year, and they are comprised of:

Hand Sanitizer – A mainstay in kids’ backpacks, ethanol ingestion can cause vomiting, weakness, and low blood pressure.
Zinc – Loose change falling out of jacket pockets could have include pennies made with zinc. Symptoms of zinc poisoning include vomiting, anorexia, diarrhea, anemia, and even kidney or liver failure.
Leftover Foods – A sandwich brought home in a backpack might contain avocado or onion. Avocado can cause vomiting and diarrhea in cats and dogs. Onion poisoning in cats causes anemia, weight loss, lethargy and breaks down red blood cells. Please keep your child’s lunchbox clean and free of food waste.
Grapes and Raisins – On the same note, grapes and raisins should always be properly stored. Even in small amounts, dogs can get quite ill from grapes and raisins, and the end result may be kidney failure. Symptoms include lethargy and depression.

Looking Up: Bags Off Floors

Do your pet a big favor by keeping him or her away from any backpacks (that includes any visiting friends); enforce a “no floor” rule, and hang up all bags and coats out of his or her reach.

If you have any questions about additional pet poisons, the Pet Experts at Springbrook Animal Care Center are happy to assist you.