Source: IOL (Extract)
September 2, 2021

Cape Town – Pets owners have been advised to steer clear of giving their dogs cooked bones because these can prove fatal.

The Animal Welfare Society of SA said dog owners placing their dog on a “financial diet” that includes bones may find it to be costly.

“Cooked bones should always be off-limits as they become brittle and can splinter into sharp shards that cause a lot of damage. All bones (raw or cooked) can get stuck in your dog’s throat with devastating consequences, so dogs should always be monitored when chewing on bones,” the organisation said.

“Raw bones are generally safer than cooked, but the devil is in the details, so to prevent accidents we would caution against feeding bones of any sort.”

The organisation said chicken bones are particularly dangerous and should never be fed to your dog.

“If you notice your dog chewing on a bone, never try to snatch it away as that may cause them to swallow it with potentially fatal consequences.

“So before you succumb to those droopy eyes and drooling smiles at the dinner table and ’give a dog a bone’, please consider the potential dangers.”

Tarryn Dent, diagnostic and technical manager for Companion Animals at Zoetis South Africa, also has advice for pet owners on how to protect their pets from accidental and deliberate poisonings.

“Unfortunately pets across the country are poisoned by criminals attempting to enter properties, so this is the first thing most pet owners worry about.

“Where possible, we advise that owners keep their dogs inside at night, or at the very least, in an area inaccessible from the road or a boundary wall.

“It’s also a good idea to regularly inspect your yard for anything out of place, that if poisoned food is tossed over your wall, you can find it and dispose of it before your dog sniffs it out,” Dent said.

Pet owners are reminded that while deliberate poisonings are a reality, there are many accidental ways pets can be exposed to toxins.

Recently, Springwatch presenter Michaela Strachan shared her ordeal, nursing her beloved dogs through a rough night after they ingested what was believed to be crystal meth-laced faeces while on a walk.

“Almost every home has products in it that can cause problems in dogs and cats, including vomiting and diarrhoea, or even more serious issues like seizures, liver or kidney failure,” said Dent.

“Unfortunately, many of these conditions can lead to death if they aren’t treated quickly. Prevention is the best cure. Once you know what you’re looking out for, you can keep your fur-babies safe.”

The toxins and poisons commonly found in most households should be kept away from your pet at all costs:

  • Antifreeze
  • Bleach or bleach-based cleaners
  • Carpet or rug cleaner/shampoo/deodoriser
  • Essential oils
  • Plant fertiliser
  • Glue, other adhesives
  • Laundry or dishwasher detergent
  • Paint, solvents, spackle
  • Rat/mouse/slug bait or other insecticides
  • Vinegar (plain or mixed with water)
  • Window cleaner

“There are also a few surprising things that are extremely bad for animals, including grapes, raisins and chocolate,” Dent said.

“Garlic and onions also aren’t good for dogs. In general, we would suggest avoiding all table scraps.”

What’s important to remember is that pets can be exposed to toxic household products in several ways, from ingestion to inhalation.

Dogs – and even cats – have a tendency to lick first and think later.

“Puppy training is an excellent way to train animals not to lick or eat anything that hasn’t been given to them by their owner,” said Dent.

“It’s also a good idea to always check labels, particularly for chlorine bleach, ammonia and benzalkonium chloride, commonly found in household disinfectants.

“Pet owners also shouldn’t assume that a ‘natural’ label means something is safe for animals. It’s best to consult a trusted resource or vet to confirm that a product is safe.”

Dent advises pet owners to keep household products stored securely in cupboards that are too high for pets to reach, and where possible, secured with a lock, especially if the storage location is within reach, such as under a sink.

“Vets also recommend that pet owners never leave their pets alone in the garage,” said Dent. “Consider storing potentially hazardous products in a locked cabinet even if they are in the garage – you never know what will pique a pet’s interest.”

If pet owners realise that their pet has ingested something toxic, the first question they should ask is how quickly they can reach their vet.

“If an owner can get there in a few minutes, that’s the obvious choice,” said Dent.

“It’s not a good idea to try to induce vomiting unless specifically advised to do so.”