The Kennel Club (KC) has released new advice for pet owners after figures showed thousands of dogs have been poisoned after ingesting common household items.
Last year, 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).
KC health information officer Nick Sutton, a 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 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 to protect their much-loved pets. ”
Other household and garden items that are harmful to dogs include onions, slug killer, rat killer, spring bulbs and detergents. The effects of these can range from mild stomach upset to death.
Electronic cigarettes and palm oil have been identified as becoming more of a threat to dogs. Reported cases of poisoning caused by electronic cigarettes increased from 17 in 2013 to 64 in 2014 (up 276%) and cases caused by palm oil increased from 6 in 2013 to 57 in 2014 (850%).
The KC information has been released following the tragic death of Jagger the Irish setter that ate beef laced with fast-acting carbonate pesticides banned in the EU, aldicarb and carbofuran in his homeland of Belgium a day after competing at Crufts.
The KC hopes to help prevent poisonings by raising awareness of certain poisons and says any owner who fears their pet has eaten something it should not have should contact a vet immediately.