Household toxins (Proceedings)

Aug 01, 2010

Pets' eating and grooming habits, species inherent sensitivities to certain chemical/foods, and owners' attitudes are helpful in preventing accidental exposures. Similar hand-to-mouth behavior observed in children is the expected with pets. All precautions – properly store all hazardous chemicals, personal human medication, read medication labels, and know the need for, and seek immediate veterinary care - should be taken in preventing access of pet to hazardous substances.

Household Toxins Under the kitchen sink


Disinfectants, deodorizers, water purifiers

Sodium hypochloride (main component) of varying concentrations (3%, 6% and sometimes 50%).

Sodium peroxide/perporate (non-chlorine bleach).

Low oral toxicity (vomiting and diarrhea).


Non-ionic (hand washing detergents, shampoos)

Anionic (laundry detergents)

Both of low oral toxicity

Cationic detergents (quaternary ammonium compounds)

High oral toxicity:

Muscle fasciculation, CNS depression and at times, seizures are manifested.

Corrosive at high concentrations

Emesis and/or gastric lavage are contraindicated.


Contain either naphthalene (more toxic) or para-dichlorobenzene. Cats are very sensitive.

Naphthalene: Vomiting, met-hemoglobinemia, Heinz body anemia, CNS stimulation, and rarely hepatic signs.

Paradichlorobenzene: No met-hemoglobinemia and/or Heinz body anemia. Could be hepato-toxic (phenol metabolites)

Easily diagnosed – history of ingestion and/or mothball odor in breath and vomitus.

Treat symptomatically.

Pine Oils

Mixture of terpene alcohols. LD50 of 1-2.5 ml/kg body weight (cats - more sensitive).Vomiting, hyper salivation, ataxia, weakness, CNS depression, renal failure, shock, and death. Emetics are contraindicated (aspiration pneumonia).Modeling dough and De-icing salt (Na ion) toxicity

Prevalence – Occurs infrequently but when do so, the dog is mainly affected.

Lethal dose (dogs) approximately 3.7 g/kg body weight.

High mortality (renal/gastrointestinal congestion and gastrointestinal inflammation).

Ice-melt exposure

Product ingredients: Sodium chloride (4g/kg), potassium chloride, magnesium chloride, calcium carbonate, and calcium magnesium acetate (some may contain urea).

Clinical signs

Vomiting (30% of cases), hypersalivation, diarrhea, lethargy, tremor, thirst polydipsia/polyuria, and dehydration, muscular rigidity, convulsions, coma, renal failure, shock, hyperchloremia, mixed metabolic and respiratory acidosis.


Vomiting (perfuse) is common therefore emesis is not recommended. Anti-emetics recommended instead. Gastric lavage may enhance absorption (dissolution). Surgical removal – animal unable to withstand anesthesia. Adsorbents – not useful

Lower sodium concentration slowly (Rapid reduction may lead to cerebral edema). Small amounts of water at frequent intervals. Perenteral fluid if required – 5% dextrose or 2.5% dextrose in 0.45 % saline – recovery may take several days. Monitor sodium and chloride concentrations; renal function.

Aspirin (Acetylsalicylic acid)

Anti-inflammatory: Dogs - (25 mg/kg 3X daily); Anti-thrombic: - (0.5 mg/kg 2X daily)

Analgesic: – (10-20 mg/kg 2X daily); Antipyretic; Causes emesis in dogs @50 mg/kg q12h

Its use in cats – severe caution (possible toxicity. 10 mg/kg q48h for pain and fever. Cats are glucuronosyl-transferase deficient, thus reduced aspirin metabolism and toxicity results.

Clinical signs (Dogs)

Vomiting, restlessness progressing to CNS depression, seizure, and coma. Respiratory alkalosis >> metabolic acidosis.

Clinical signs (cats)

CNS depression, anorexia, vomiting, gastric hemorrhage. Toxic hepatitis, anemia, bone marrow hypoplasia, hyperpyrexia and Heinz body anemia.

Treatment: Emetic activated charcoal, osmotic cathartic (GI decontamination).

Correct acid base balance. Slow IV bicarbonate for metabolic acidosis. Alkaline urine – increased excretion "ion trapping"