Many common items our homes can be toxic to dogs and cats. It is not surprising that our pets come in contact with hazardous materials when you consider all of the places where your pet walks, sniffs, and licks. The most common poisons that your pets will encounter include household plants, medications (especially human), insecticides and fertilizers, cleaning products, and some human foods.


Unfortunately, some of the most common toxins in dogs and cats come from owners who accidentally overdose or give unsafe medications when they are simply trying to help. If you are unsure whether or not something is safe for your pet, please contact our staff at the Animal Hospital of Waynesboro. You may also find the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control page helpful. Store medications and cleaners safely in a cabinet beyond the pets reach. Also, always make sure to keep a secured lid on your garbage.


Acorn Ingestion

Acorns, oak leaves, and water run-off from acorns/leaves can cause symptoms of oak poisoning. The toxic agent is unknown, but symptoms include digestive tract upset such as vomiting, diarrhea and loss of appetite. In rare cases, kidney failure can develop. Be sure to remove acorns from your yard, if possible, or keep your dog out of areas that contain acorns.


Bread Dough Ingestion

Some dogs will eat anything … including uncooked bread dough. The dough will rise when it hits the warm contents of the stomach, producing ethanol, a central nervous system toxin. The dough also can obstruct the digestive tract, necessitating surgery. The signs of ingestion may include severe abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting, incoordination and depression. Usually, treatment is necessary, so call our office immediately if this is an issue.


Chocolate Toxicity

Chocolate contains problematic ingredients, including caffeine and a compound called theobromine. Dark chocolate (eg. baking chocolate, bittersweet chocolate) contains the highest percentage of those compounds. Symptoms of chocolate toxicity include vomiting and diarrhea, hyperactivity, tremors/seizures, cardiac arrhythmias, and death in severe cases.


A ten-pound dog can suffer problems after eating 4 ounces of milk chocolate, 1 1/2 ounces of dark chocolate, or just 1/2 ounce of baking chocolate. Please call us immediately if you find that your pet has eaten a dangerous amount of chocolate so that we can advise you of what to do next. It takes almost four days for the toxin to clear from your pet’s system, so severe cases may require several days of hospitalization.


Eating Rich, Fatty Foods

Especially around many of the holidays, we eat rich, fatty foods. When our pets eat these yummy foods, they may experience digestive tract upset like diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Ingesting these foods also may lead to a serious inflammatory disease of the pancreas called pancreatitis. When it comes to feeding our pets, it’s best to stick to pet food only.


Grapes & Raisins

Grapes and raisins are highly toxic to dogs of all breeds, ages and genders. Dogs should not eat grapes and raisins because even small amounts can prove to be fatally toxic for a dog. Ingested grapes and raisins can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactive or jittery behavior, anorexia, lethargy, possible a painful abdomen and, ultimately, kidney failure.


If your dog has eaten even a small amount of grapes or raisins, seek medical attention immediately. If the fruit was ingested 2 hours or less, we will most likely induce vomiting to rid the body of the toxin and then administer activated charcoal to absorb any remaining toxin. If it has been more than 2 hours, intravenous fluid therapy may be required to assist the kidneys. Additional kidney medications may be required, depending on the patient.


Poultry Bones

Turkey and chicken bones never should be fed to animals. The bones can splinter and lacerate the mouth or the digestive tract. Bone fragments can even perforate the intestines. The safest modes of poultry bone disposal are to toss them into the trash can or to use them for a yummy soup recipe!


Xylitol Toxicity

Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is used widely in sugarless gum, mints and candy. It also is an ingredient in some commercial low-calorie baked goods. Even a small amount of xylitol (the amount found in one or two sticks of gum) can be toxic to your pet. Xylitol can cause dangerous hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and fatal liver failure. Please check the ingredients on any human treat before sharing it with your pet. If you think your pet has ingested xylitol, please contact our office and bring your pet in immediately for treatment.


Animal Hospital of Waynesboro

2637 W Main Street

Waynesboro, VA 22980

Phone: 540.943.3081

Fax: 540.949.7771

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Office Hours

Monday          7:30 am - 7:30 pm

Tuesday          7:30 am - 7:30 pm

Wednesday    7:30 am - 5:30 pm

Thursday        7:30 am - 7:30 pm

Friday             7:30 am - 5:30 pm

Saturday        8:00 am - 12:00 pm

Sunday*                   Closed

*Special boarder pick-up time: 5:30 pm - 6:00 pm