Thursday, October 2, 2008

Close-to-the-Ground Toxins Your Pet Needs to Avoid

Dogs and cats are low to the ground. Their noses are always at ground level, sniffing, tasting, eating, licking and drinking. They can find and consume human-made toxins which we often don't think about. Run-off water from farmland or suburban lawns may have high concentrations of toxins including pesticides and herbicides. These chemicals can be neurotoxic (poisonous to the nervous system, including the brain) and can cause cancer. This is not what you want your pet to drink.

Certain lawn chemicals and carpet cleaners are dangerous to dogs and cats. Our pets absorb some of the chemicals through their pads. Read the fine print on all labels of chemicals and cleaners.

Pressure-treated wood decks contain arsenic that may be absorbed by dogs through their pads. We do not know the long-term effects of dogs absorbing the arsenic through their pads. It is most important to prevent dogs from chewing on pressure treated wood decks and picnic tables.

Flame retardants (polybrominated diphenyl ether - PBDE) are used in products that range from kid's pajamas, carpets, fabrics (couches and curtains), pet beds, pet costumes, to computers. A flame retardant may be especially dangerous to fetuses. Products containing PBDE may release or outgas these chemicals. If your pet is pregnant, keep her away from products containing flame retardants. Be careful of the fabric used in the pen when the puppies are born.

Other toxins to watch out for include many plastic pet toys, bug bait, bug sprays, certain fertilizers, oil, snail bait, antifreeze, sidewalk and road salts, certain soaps, fabric and pot/pan coatings, burnt trash, flame retardants found in electrical appliances, building materials and household products and many more.

Some of the human-synthesized preservatives --ethoxyquin, BHA, BHT and others are known to be poisons. (Used in pet foods and treats).

The dangers from many toxins are cumulative; every exposure weakens your pet. We have to watch close to the ground for human-made toxins and help our pets avoid them.