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Toxicity & Your Dog


Chocolate contains theobromine – a substance toxic to dogs. Baking chocolate contains more theobromine per ounce than semisweet chocolate, which, in turn, contains more theobromine than milk chocolate. While most lethal cases of chocolate poisoning occur when small dogs eat large quantities of baking chocolate, owners should nonetheless keep their dogs and chocolates well-separated.

If you witness your dog eating chocolate or if it shows any signs of chocolate toxicity (anxiety, pacing, hyper-excitability, excessive thirst and urination, vomiting, or seizures): call your vet immediately and tell him or her what type of chocolate your dog ate, how much you think it ate, how long ago it indulged itself, and how much your dog weighs.

If you find your dog within a couple of hours of ingesting the chocolate you can administer peroxide to the animal by mouth to induce vomiting. Hydrogen peroxide 3% is the emetic of choice for dogs and can be dosed at 15 ml in dogs up to 40 pounds and 30 ml in dogs less than 40 pounds. If you can reach your vet he will either instruct you on how to do administer the peroxide or ask you to bring your dog to the clinic to have its stomach pumped.

If more than a couple of hours have passed the toxin will already be circulating in your dog´s system so your vet will provide supportive therapy (such as intravenous fluids and drugs to control hyper-excitability) while your dog´s body works to detoxify itself.


ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center
1717 S. Philo Road Suite 36 Urbana, IL 61802

Date: March 26, 1999

To: Whom It May Concern

there have been comments and discussions posted on the Internet suggesting that the use of FebrezeTM Fabric Refresher in households is dangerous to animals. We have issued the following statement in order to help disseminate accurate information:

“Veterinary toxicologists at the ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center are conducting an on- going investigation into claims that use of FebrezeTM in the home caused the death of several pets. All information reviewed to date suggests that there is no evidence that FebrezeTM represents any risk to pets when used according to label instructions. Presently, the center considers the product safe to use in households with pets.

As with any cleaning product, the center recommends that birds be removed from the room until the product application has dried and the area has been ventilated.

Please call 1-800- 345-4735 if you have any questions or have a pet that you suspect is experiencing problems or visit us at”


Pets may be exposed to ice melts that have been spilled, applied to sidewalks, or improperly stored. The most common clinical signs are vomiting. Other effects include diarrhea, salivation, depression, and loss of appetite, disorientation, increased thirst, seizures and even death.

Before initiating treatment for ice melt products, it is critical to know the ingredients and the animal´s health status. Electrolyte levels should be taken to determine the possible toxin.

Inducing vomiting is controversial if the product contains large amounts of potassium chloride. Activated charcoal does not absorb the salts in ice melts.

If an animal walks on or rolls through the product, etc. bathe the pet and monitor it for skin irritation. Also monitor and correct abnormalities in hydration status, electrolyte concentrations, and heart muscle activity.

There are many brands of de-icing products on the market. The most common ingredients in these ice melts are sodium chloride, calcium carbonate, and calcium magnesium acetate. A few ice melts contain urea.

Sodium Chloride

Sodium toxicosis is possible after large ingestion of ice melts, salt, or rock salt. A dose of 4grams per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of sodium chloride can be lethal in dogs. Ingesting large amounts of sodium levels can be lethal in dogs. Ingesting large amounts of sodium can lead to increased urination. Large amounts of ingested sodium can also lead to swelling of the brain. Also, the digestive upset along with the increased urination may lead to dehydration, further worsening the patient´s condition.

The clinical signs of sodium toxicity are primarily neuroligic. The severity of the signs is related more to the suddenness of onset rather than the magnitude of signs.

Diagnosis of sodium toxicosis is based on serum concentrations and a history of sodium ingestion.

Treatment goals are to replace water and electrolytes. Diuretics may also be of some use. The fluid of choice is 5% dextrose IV. The diuretic recommended is furosamide.

Potassium Chloride

Signs associated with elevated potassium levels include muscle weakness, GI disturbances, and cardiac conduction disturbances. Ingestion of potassium chloride tablets has caused bowel strictures and ulceration.

Treatment includes administration of lactated ringers and furosamide. Due to the irritating nature of potassium chloride-induction of vomiting is controversial. Activated charcoal does not bind potassium.

Magnesium Chloride

Elevated magnesium concentrations can cause low blood pressure and cardiac abnormalities, weakness, and neurological signs.

Treatment is symptomatic and supportive. Vomiting may reduce the amount of absorption if induced with in two hours of ingestion.

Calcium Carbonate and Calcium Magnesium Acetate

These products may cause vomiting and eye irritation. Treat gastric upset symptomatically.


This product is more toxic to ruminants (cows) than monogastric animals (dogs, cats, people). Ingestion of urea by dogs usually results in local irritant signs such as hyper salivation, GI signs of vomiting, and abdominal pain.

Treatment includes inducing vomiting and monitoring the animal.

According to National Animal Poison Control (800 548 2423) an alternative to the salts is sand or kitty litter.  Also, of the ice melts available-those containing sodium chloride are the least toxic.

Again-most of the danger comes from ingestion of the products


LAWN CARE PRODUCTS Lawn care products have been a concern to pet owners for many years. The public is under the impression that these products are primarily pesticides, and that they are very toxic or pose a significant health threat. Here are some common questions and the answers about lawn care products.

HOW CAN YOUR PET BECOME EXPOSED TO LAWN CARE PRODUCTS? The two most common routes of exposure are orally and dermal. Exposure to liquid concentrates and granules are possible with homeowner storage. Exposure to the diluted liquids is possible during application or before foliage drying. Exposure to applied granular material usually is the result of spills during loading equipment´s, spreader equipment failure, or spreading granules on non-lawn surfaces such as driveways and sidewalks.

DOES EXPOSURE RESULT IN TOXICOSIS? Intoxication from these products is dose related. In most cases, exposure will not result in any adverse effects, there are some exposures that could. Consumption of liquid concentrates while mixing or granules in storage in more likely to result in toxicosis than any
other common exposure. This is because of the higher chemical concentration and total amount of product available to the animal. Consumption to excessive amounts of granules such as in driveways or from spills may result in mild clinical signs. Oral or skin exposure to lawns where diluted liquids or granules are properly applied generally are of negligible risk. This statement is made when considering (1) the low chemical concentration of the liquid application, (2) the large area of application, (3) low liquid volume applied per unit area of lawn, (4) low percentage of dislodgeable chemical residue from foliage, (5) granular deposition in the thatch layer, and (6) less the exposed dose. The exposed dose is then often compared to the no observable effect level (NOEL) determined in the chronic experimental studies and other experimental forensic data.

DO LAWN CARE CHEMICALS CAUSE CANCER IN ANIMALS? Long-term chronic experimental studies in dogs do not support the conclusion that the chemicals identified in table 1 are carcinogenic. The only scientific data that are in conflict with that conclusion is the much publicized work of Hayes et al. (1992). It is the author´s opinion that serious flaws in this epidemiological study have negated the conclusions of this study. Unfortunately, there are no other epidemiological studies.

WHAT INFORMATION DO I NEED TO STRONGLY SUSPECT LAWN CARE CHEMICAL TOXICITY? The clinical signs and clinical history must be compatible with specific chemical exposure . In the case of death, a post-mortem examination should reveal the appropriate chemically related target tissues, and gross and histopathologic findings. The amount of chemical in the exposure must be sufficient to cause adverse effects. Any clinical pathologic findings should be compatible also. An example would be an alleged acute organophosphate-related death depression of brain cholinesterase. Exposure alone is not sufficient evidence to diagnose intoxication. Currently, in most cases, there is not enough information available for these chemicals to determine an expected lethal or toxic concentration in tissues or body fluids. Therefore, the analytical findings of a chemical in animal tissue or body fluids is evidence of exposure but not necessarily intoxication

IS THERE A TOXICOLOGICAL CONCERN ABOUT INERT INGREDIENTS? Since the majority of the applied liquid products are soluble in water and are diluted when mixed with water and are diluted when mixed with water, inert ingredients in the products themselves are of little concern. In general, the inert ingredient in granular products also not of toxicological concern.

IS THERE A CONCERN ABOUT MIXTURES? There are not many good experimental studies using standard mixtures of these products. Because most of these products have different mechanisms of producing toxicity and based on current experimental work with mixtures, it does not appear that most mixtures result in toxicological potentiation or synergy.

WHY DOES POSTING OF LAWN APPLICATIONS OCCUR? In many states and localities, positing of lawn care product application is required by law. Posting serves s a notification that lawn care application occurred. It is part of the community´s right to know. Posting is not related the toxic potential of materials used.

WHY IS IT RECOMMENDED THAT ANIMALS AND HUMAN STAY OFF LAWNS UNTIL LIQUID APPLICATIONS DRY? It is recommended that animals and humans stay off the lawn until the liquid application is dry to limit exposure. As with any chemical (e.g., lawn care product, detergent), there should be an effort by the public to limit exposure. The amount of chemical that is dislodgeable decreases as the liquid dries. The overall difference between the actual exposure dose and a toxic dose is changes little by foliage drying; therefore, the risk is still negligible without drying.