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Back to School Part I: Pet Safety

Posted August 29, 2017 @ 12:16pm | by Erin Bequette, DVM

“My dog ate my homework.”

We’ve all heard that famous excuse. But is it just an excuse? I’ve learned, through both personal and professional experiences, it’s actually legitimate! When I was a kid, my Aussie ate my big brother’s math homework right off his desk. Professionally, I have seen dogs eat several types of projects.

So, what are the back-to-school dangers for pets?

  1. Sugar-free gum containing xylitol (a sugar substitute). Sure, gum helps with fresh breath, and maybe even concentration. However, xylitol is uniquely toxic to dogs, causing both low blood sugar and/or liver failure. Do NOT keep gum in your backpack or within your dog’s reach! 
  2. Homemade playdough. It’s cheap, it’s easy, and it’s so smooshy! Unfortunately, it also smells good, and many dogs will try to eat it. Homemade playdough is made with extreme amounts of salt. This can cause changes in sodium that can lead to seizures or brain swelling. Keep it well away from your dog. 
  3. Fidget spinners and other toys. While most toys and small objects may not be specifically toxic, they may be very interesting for curious pups to chew on. When non-digestible objects are swallowed, they could cause a blockage in the stomach or intestines. Certain toys may even cause anemia. Keep toys stowed away where pets cannot access them.
  4. Lunch. Grapes and raisins may be great healthy lunch options, and chocolate is a nice snack. However, these items, along with some other foods, are toxic to your pets. Make sure that lunchboxes gets cleaned up and put away as soon as you get home to prevent your pets from helping themselves.

If your pet gets into any of these items, please come in right away! The sooner we know, the more we can help avoid a crisis!

To learn about separation anxiety in pets during the school year, click here for Part II!

 
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