Pet Poison Control Hotline Will Cost you $35-$65 for the Call

I am not kidding you. Animal Poison Control Hotlines charge money just for information, a lot of money and it’s sad. Ok, now I understand it cost money to run these things but we are talking about information that people need within a short time frame that doesn’t allow for credit card transactions. I mean give me a break, this is beyond stupid, I really thought we had come further than this.
Today I had set out to do an animal post and remind you all of Poison Prevention Week March 14-24.  I wanted to raise awareness on Household Dangers to pets/animals. I found some really great information out there but then at the bottom of all the info I read about these charges we need to know about, on that particular site it was $35 for the call. So I thought heck with these guys I am going to head over to the SPCA where they actually care about the animals….well…disappointed cannot even describe how I felt when I found out that they charge $65 a call on their hotline. WOW!

Pissed off is a better description.

Maybe they have always charged for this service, you know, I am not even sure because I just assumed that calling a hotline for help when your animal could be poisoned, would be a free call. Silly me.

I have to say here that I am in no way a political kind of girl, maybe I was years ago but not these days. Don’t get me wrong, I love my country, I am an American girl and proud to be her BUT when I see tax payer dollars being spent by politicians riding around in private jets with personal staff members by the dozens yet something as important, TO US  as our animals safety is being over looked it pisses me off. Sorry for the language but it does. I think these politicians should put on their walking shoes or buy a bus pass because honestly I don’t care how they get to where they are going….what I do care about is picking up the phone in my animals hour of need and knowing I will get help.  Don’t ask me for money, tell me what to do to save my friend, that is the right thing to do and when it is a person we do just that.

How many of you out there consider your animal’s lives a priority? How many of you would give just about anything to keep your animal from suffering?  How about love, let’s go there, how many of you can say that you have loved or still do love your animal friend the same as you would a human friend?

If these animals are this important to us and we are the people, why are they always being shafted? Many animals are the children of many human beings across this world, there are a great number of us that treat the little furry buggers like they are people and to us they are. Putting a price tag on their lives is insulting.
Now I don’t think we should get it all for free, we don’t get things for us for free. Just make it comparable because right now it is not at all.
The Pet Care Industry has been taking us for a ride for too long now, what is wrong with society? Don’t answer that. LOL
Veterinary Care Costs are just crazy and I spend more at the store now a days on animal needs than I do people needs. People are getting rich because our babies have fur. It’s not fair. We can’t even have a free hotline from an animal organization that is suppose to be saving animals.

It’s about time to change the way things are done and only we can change it but that is another post entirely. (but trust me it will be posted) :o)

So tonight, with all of this frustration, I set out on a mission to see if I could find real people that realize that our animals health is at the top of our priority list and just because they don’t look like real little kids doesn’t mean they are not our kids. Someone who in that moment of shear panic when you discover your animal has ingested something poisonous won’t ask you for your credit card number before giving you the info that can save your furbaby.

All I wanted to do was a post on poison prevention, you know with links that go back to a site that I could feel good about linking you to…that’s all

Well, I found them and some of my faith in this world has returned but not all of it by a long shot.

The place to call if you suspect poisoning in your child OR pet (I love that) is the    
Children’s Hospital Regional Poison Control Center at (800) 222-1222.
There are more I am sure…maybe. If you know of any please leave the information in the comment section so others can see it too.

And now my little Rant is over…LOL

I will now get back to what I set out to do tonight in the first place and that is offer you some info that could help you prevent the poisoning of your animals.

So if you are still with me here we go….

Know the Signs of Poisoning in Dogs and Cats

If you think your dog or cat has been poisoned, call your veterinarian or call the Poison Control Center at (800) 222-1222.

When it comes to poisoning, the sooner you treat your dog or cat, the better the outcome.
While this list is not exhaustive or complete, some common signs of poisoning generally include:

Gastrointestinal signs

·         Vomiting
·         Diarrhea
·         Drooling/hypersalivating
·         Inappetance
·         Nausea

Internal bleeding

·         Coughing of blood
·         Vomiting blood
·         Pale gums
·         A racing heart rate
·         Weakness or lethargy
·         Collapse

Kidney failure

·         Halitosis (“uremic” breath)
·         Inappetance
·         Vomiting
·         Diarrhea
·         Excessive thirst or urination
·         Absence or decreased urination

Liver failure

·         Jaundice/icterus/yellow discoloration to the gums
·         Weakness or collapse secondary to a low blood sugar
·         Dull mentation, acting abnormally
·         Vomiting
·         Diarrhea
·         Black-tarry stool (melena)

What to do if your dog or cat is poisoned:

·         Remove your pet from the area.
·         Check to make sure your pet is safe: breathing and acting normally.
·         Do NOT give any home antidotes.
·         Do NOT induce vomiting without consulting a vet or Poison Control Center Helpline.
·          Call the Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222
·         If veterinary attention is necessary, contact your veterinarian or emergency veterinary clinic immediately.

When you call the Center, be ready to provide:
·         Your name, address and telephone number
·         Information concerning the exposure (the amount of agent, the time since exposure, etc.). For various reasons, it is important to know exactly what poison the animal was exposed to.
·         The species, breed, age, sex, weight and number of animals involved
·         The agent your animal(s) has been exposed to, if known
·         The problems your animal(s) is experiencing.

Be Prepared: 

Your animal may become poisoned in spite of your best efforts to prevent it. Because of this, you should be prepared. Your animal companions regularly should be seen by a local veterinarian to maintain overall health. You should know the veterinarian's procedures for emergency situations, especially ones that occur after usual business hours. You should keep the telephone numbers for the veterinarian, and a local emergency veterinary service in a convenient location.
You may benefit by keeping a pet safety kit on hand for emergencies. Such a kit should contain:
·         A fresh bottle of hydrogen peroxide 3% (USP)
·         Can of soft dog or cat food, as appropriate
·         Turkey baster, bulb syringe or large medicine syringe
·         Saline eye solution to flush out eye contaminants
·         Artificial tear gel to lubricate eyes after flushing
·         Mild grease-cutting dishwashing liquid in order to bathe an animal after skin contamination
·         Rubber gloves to prevent you from being exposed while you bathe the animal
·         Forceps to remove stingers
·         Muzzle to keep the animal from hurting you while it is excited or in pain
·         Pet carrier to help carry the animal to your local veterinarian

Top 10 Pet Poisons

 Dog Poisons:

1.      Chocolate
2.      Insect bait stations
3.      Rodenticides (i.e., mouse and rat poison)
4.      Fertilizers
5.      Xylitol-containing products (i.e., sugar-free gums and candies)
6.      Ibuprofen (Advil® or Motrin® in brand name or generic form)
7.      Acetaminophen (Tylenol® in brand name or generic form)
8.      Silica gel packs
9.      Amphetamines, such as ADD/ADHD drugs
10.  Household cleaners

Cat Poisons:

1.      Lilies
2.      Canine pyrethroid insecticides (topical flea and tick medicine designed for dogs but erroneously placed on cats)
3.      Household cleaners
4.      Rodenticides
5.      Paints and varnishes
6.      Veterinary non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (Rimadyl®, Deramaxx®)
7.      Glow sticks/glow jewelry
8.      Amphetamines (such as ADD/ADHD drugs)
9.      Acetaminophen (Tylenol® in brand name or generic form)
10.  Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin® in brand name or generic form)

Things in your yard that are poisonous to dogs & cats!

Blood meal:

This is dried, ground, and flash-frozen blood and contains 12% nitrogen. While it’s a great organic fertilizer, if ingested, it can cause vomiting (of some other poor animal’s blood) and diarrhea. More importantly, it can result in severe pancreatitis, which is inflammation of the pancreas. Some types of blood meal are also fortified with iron, resulting in iron toxicity, so make sure to know what’s in your bag of blood!

Blue–green algae or Cyanobacteria:

Growth of toxic algae can be found in both fresh and salt water throughout the warm regions of the world. Blue-green algae becomes concerning when algae accumulates on the surface of the water during hot, dry weather with wind that can shift concentrated algae mats along the shorelines. Affected water may have the appearance of pea soup with thick layers of algae on the surface. Blooms of blue-green algae can contain hepatoxins and/or neurotoxins, depending on the species. Exposures occur when dogs ingest or swim in water that contains the cyanobateria. Clinical signs with the hepatoxin variety are vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, weakness, shock, icterus (yellow gums), and potentially death within 24 hours to several days. Clinical signs seen with ingestion of the neurotoxin species occur acutely with onset of tremors, lethargy, seizures, difficult breathing, and death within a hour.

Bone Meal:

This is made up of defatted, dried, and flash-frozen animal bones that are ground to a powder. This “bone” is also what makes it so palatable to your dog, so make sure to keep your pet from digging in it and ingesting the soil. While this also makes a great organic fertilizer, it can become a problem when consumed as the bone meal forms a large cement-like bone ball in the stomach – which can cause an obstruction in the gastrointestinal tract – resulting in possible surgery to remove it!

Compost bins or piles:

While we applaud you for composting, make sure to do so appropriately – your compost shouldn’t contain any dairy or meat products, and should always be fenced off for the sake of your pets and wildlife. These piles of decomposing and decaying organic matter and molding food products have the potential to contain tremorgenic mycotoxins, which are toxic to both pets and wildlife. Even small amounts ingested can result in clinical signs within 30 minutes to several hours. Clinical signs include agitation, hyperthermia, hyper-responsiveness, panting, drooling, and vomiting, and can progress to serious CNS signs (including incoordination, tremors, and seizures!). Ruleouts for this include toxins that cause “shake and bake,” such as metaldehydes (snail bait), strychnine, organophosphates, and methylxanthines. Prompt decontamination is the key if the patient isn’t demonstrating clinical signs yet – this includes inducing vomiting and giving activated charcoal. Once the patient is symptomatic, aggressive supportive care includes the use of IV fluids, temperature regulation, cooling methods (cooling down to a temperature of 103.5 F/39.7 C), IV muscle relaxants (methocarbamol), and anticonvulsants (i.e., diazepam, phenobarbital).


This is commonly added to fertilizers, and can result in iron toxicity (from ingestion of elemental iron). This is different from “total” iron ingestion, and can be confusing to differentiate. When in doubt, have a medical professional at Pet Poison Helpline assist you with finding out if the amount ingested was toxic or not. Large ingestions can result in vomiting, bloody diarrhea, and potential cardiac and liver effects.

Mulch Products:

Cocoa bean mulch, a byproduct of chocolate production, is the discarded hulls or shells of the cocoa bean. This mulch is frequently used for home landscaping and is often very fragrant, especially when first placed in the yard and warmed by the sun. This tempting smell of warm chocolate often attracts and encourages dogs (Labradors!) to ingest the mulch. Through the processing procedure of creating cocoa bean mulch, much of the methylxanthine poison is removed, but still potentially contains 0.19% to 2.98% theobromine and 0.5% to 0.85% caffeine. All animals can be affected by methyxanthylates, but dogs tend to have more frequent exposure opportunities to the chocolates, coffee beans and cocoa mulch that contain them. Clinical signs include vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, tremors, tachycardia, tachypnea, and potential seizures. Symptoms are dose-dependent and an accurate dose is very difficult to determine because of the variation of the concentration of methyxanthylates from one mulch product to next.
There have been anecdotal reports of a dog dying after ingesting cocoa bean shell mulch, and this has been rapidly circulating on the Internet. That said, how toxic is this stuff, really? The first report of this poisoning was actually reported by Pet Poison Helpline’s Drs. Lynn Hovda and R. Kingston at the 1993 International Congress of Clinical Toxicology. Dr. Steve Hansen published this again 10 years later (Clin Tox 2003;41:5). Recently, Dr. Hansen stated that the cause of the one fatality ( a young Labrador) was “highly suspect.” While theobromine and caffeine (methylxanthines) can be toxic, clinical signs are usually more PROGRESSIVE – such as vomiting, diarrhea, more vomiting, trembling, a racing heart rate, and then seizures in very high doses. Cocoa bean mulch is very unlikely to result in sudden death without showing other signs. Nevertheless, play it safe and don’t allow pets to ingest this product! Typically, after a first rain, the smell dissipates, making the mulch less attractive to pets.


There are various types of mushrooms located throughout the United States that may be non-toxic; however, other types of mushrooms may be very dangerous and include general groups that are gastric irritants, hallucinogenic, or hepatotoxic (from cyclopeptides, hydrazine toxins, isoxazoles, or psilocybin compounds). The latter group includes Amanita mushrooms, which can result in acute hepatic necrosis (i.e., liver failure).
While the frequency of dangerous mushroom toxicity is likely very low, the lack of readily available identification of mushrooms lands all ingestions in the category of toxic until proven otherwise. With ingestion of any mushroom, immediate emesis is recommended, provided the animal is alert, asymptomatic, and able to adequately protect his or her upper airway. Gastric lavage may be necessary for animals already exhibiting clinical signs. Clinical symptoms are dependent on the species of mushroom ingested, the specific toxin within that mushroom, and the individual’s own susceptibility. Early clinical signs include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, ataxia, depression, tremors, and seizures, with liver and renal damage occurring later. One can collect all the pieces of the mushroom in a paper towel, place them in a labeled (DO NOT EAT! POISONOUS) paper bag, and refrigerate the sample for future possible identification. If you see your dog eat a mushroom, contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately! Better yet, make sure to scour your yard frequently and get rid of any mushrooms growing out there!

Mouse and rat poisons (rodenticides):

As we prepare to winterize our garage, cabin, or house, keep in mind that there are some more dangerous rat poisons to pick from than others. Always make sure to place these poisonous baits in areas where your pet can’t reach them (i.e., high up on shelves, hidden behind work spaces, etc.). Currently there are four separate categories of rodenticides available for general use. Each has a different and unique mechanism of action. This results in four different sets of clinical signs in both the target rodent population and our curious pets who might consume them. All of these rodenticides also pose the potential for “relay toxicity”– in other words, if your dog eats a whole bunch of dead mice poisoned by rodenticides, they can get the secondary effects from this. This is most commonly seen in birds of prey (i.e., raptors), so we generally recommend avoiding them in the first place!
·         Long-acting anticoagulants (LAACs): By far the most well-known and perhaps most widely used rodenticides are the LAACS. This family of rodenticides works by causing internal bleeding and preventing the body from clotting normally. Common signs include coughing (blood in the lungs), large and soft lumps under the skin, vomiting, nose bleeds, bruised skin, exercise intolerance, weakness, bloody urine, bleeding from the gums, and inappetance. With LAACS, it takes 2-5 days before the poison actually takes effect and before clinical signs of bleeding, but chronic ingestion shortens the time period. If there is any suspicion of ingestion, a prothrombin test, usually referred to as a PT test, supports the diagnosis (it takes 48 hours after ingestion before this PT test will be abnormal). Fortunately, prescription-strength Vitamin K1, the antidote, is routinely found in most veterinary offices.
·         Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3): One of the most dangerous rat poisons out there is a Vitamin D3-based rodenticide. This type basically increases calcium blood levels so high that it causes a secondary kidney failure. With this type of rat poison, only a tiny amount needs to be ingested before it causes a problem, and long-term, expensive treatment is usually necessary. This is the type to avoid in your garage, as it has no antidote!
·         Bromethalin: This rarer type of rat poison doesn’t have an antidote and results in brain swelling. If toxic amounts are ingested, we see clinical signs of walking drunk, tremoring, and seizuring. Treatment is symptomatic and may require an extended amount of time in the veterinary hospital due to long-lasting effects (days up to a week).
·         Phosphides: This type of poison is more commonly seen in mole and gopher poison, and typically doesn’t come in the classic blue-green or yellow blocks or pellets. Phosphide rodenticides typically come in a poisoned “gummy worm” form that you put in the dirt. These types of phosphide poisons result in phosphine gas in the stomach, resulting in severe bloat, profuse vomiting, abdominal pain, and potential lung and heart complications. Like cholecalciferol poisons, it only takes a small amount of poison to cause a big problem! Make sure to keep these toxins away from your pets, as this type can be poisonous to you too (if you inhale the phosphine gas if your dog vomits!).

Rose and plant fertilizers:

Some of these fertilizers contain disulfoton or other types of organophosphates (OP). As little as 1 teaspoon of 1% disulfoton can kill a 55 lb dog, so be careful! Organophosphates, while less commonly used, can result in severe symptoms [including SLUD signs (which abbreviate for salivation, lacrimation, urination, and defecation), seizures, difficulty breathing, hyperthermia, etc. In some cases, it can be fatal!


Most pesticides or insecticides (typically those that come in a spray can) are basic irritants to the pet and are usually not a huge concern unless a pet’s symptoms become persistent. Some may contain an organophosphate which can be life threatening when consumed in large quantities. It is always best to speak to a trained medical professional if there are any questions.

Slug and Snail Baits:

Slug and snail baits are commonly used on the West coast and in warm-weather conditions, and are available in a variety of forms (pellets, granular, powder, and liquid). The active ingredient is typically metaldehyde, which is toxic to all species (particularly dogs).
When ingested, metaldehyde results in clinical signs that resulted in the nickname “shake and bake.” Within 1 to 2 hours of ingestion, clinical signs of salivation, restlessness, vomiting, and incoordination are seen, which then progress to tremors, seizures, and secondary severe hyperthermia. Treatment consists of early decontamination, supportive care, temperature regulation (cooling down to a temperature of 103.5 F/39.7 C), anticonvulsants, and muscle relaxants. Generally, the prognosis is favorable if treatment is quickly and aggressively implemented.

Click here for Poisonous Plants List

If you suspect your pet has ingested any of these items or any other questionable substance, call the Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222 or your veterinarian for assistance. Accurate and timely identification of the suspected substance is very important. Having the container, package, or label in hand will save valuable time and may save the life of your pet.

And I would like to give a big huge Thank you to the Children’s Hospital of Michigan. 

You people are real human beings. 

Thank you

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