Thursday, 09 April 2015

Dog Owner Poison Warning: Almost 60,000 Dogs In Past Five Years Accidentally Poisoned

The UK’s largest dog welfare organisation, the Kennel Club, issues advice to dog owners after Jagger the Irish Setter’s death raises awareness of everyday dangers facing the UK’s 9 million dogs

The Kennel Club and the Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS) have released statistics that show more than 56,000 dogs have been poisoned in the last five years[1], often as a result of eating common items found in the home and garden, leading the Kennel Club to release a dedicated advice guide for dog owners to help keep their dogs safe from poisonous substances.

The figures, collected by the VPIS, show that as well as more than 56,000 dogs falling ill due to eating toxic substances between 2010 and 2014, 470 have died in this time period.

In 2014, the top five most common causes of poisoning in dogs were human painkillers (789 reported cases), rat and mouse killers (635 cases), chocolate (568 cases), grapes, sultanas and raisins (308 cases), and Xylitol, an ingredient found in chewing gum (110 cases).

Electronic cigarettes and palm oil have been identified as becoming more of a threat to dogs in the last couple of years. Reported cases of poisoning caused by electronic cigarettes increased from 17 in 2013 to 64 in 2014 (a 276 per cent increase) and cases caused by palm oil increased from 6 in 2013 to 57 in 2014 (an 850 per cent increase).

The information has been released following the tragic death of Jagger the Irish Setter, who ate beef laced with fast acting carbonate pesticides banned in the EU, aldicarb and carbofuren, in his homeland of Belgium, a day after competing at Crufts, the world’s largest dog show.

Jagger’s death shone the spotlight very firmly on the issue of poisoning, and the Kennel Club has stressed that the most common cause of poisoning in dogs is due to the accidental ingestion of everyday garden and household items that people often do not realise are poisonous.

Common foodstuffs, human medicines, cleaning and garden products that can be harmful to dogs include chocolate, raisins, grapes, onions, painkillers, slug killer, rat killer, spring bulbs and detergents.  The effects of these can range from mild stomach upset to death and the Kennel Club has released an advice guide to help reduce the number of dogs who may face sickness or death after ingesting dangerous substances.

Nick Sutton, Health Information Officer at the Kennel Club and former veterinary toxicologist, said: “There are any number of ways a dog can get access to dangerous and potentially lethal substances, whether this is by accident, deliberate feeding, or through owners mistakenly believing that certain products -particularly foods eaten by humans - are fine for a dog to eat.  Many seemingly harmless foods, such as blue cheese, raisins, onions and chocolate can be dangerous for a dog and owners need to be aware of these risks in order to protect their much loved pets.

“The Kennel Club’s new guidance includes lots of useful information on poisonous substances and we would urge any dog owner, who fears their much loved pet has eaten something it should not have, contacts a vet immediately, regardless of whether or not the dog is showing clinical signs of poisoning.

“We are particularly keen to raise awareness of this issue given that there is likely to be an abundance of chocolate left in the home after Easter, which can prove lethal if eaten by the family dog.”

The information presented in the Kennel Club’s information guide is intended to be used to prevent poisoning by raising awareness of certain poisons, rather than as a document to be used in an emergency. If it is suspected that a dog has been poisoned, or has come into contact with potentially poisonous substances, a local veterinary practice should be contacted immediately.

The list of poisons in the guide is not exhaustive and if an item is not mentioned in it, it should not be assumed that it is not poisonous.  Further advice on substances that could harm your dog could be sought from your local veterinary practice.

poisonous to dogs

To find the Kennel Club’s Poisons Guide visit www.thekennelclub.org.uk/doginformation

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