5 Poisonous & Potentially Deadly Items In Your Handbag

How often have you (or your wife / girlfriend) arrived home, plonked down an open handbag on the floor or couch (within reach of any fur-kids). It’s a perfectly normal and innocent thing to do, however there could be seemingly innocuous items in the handbag that could prove deadly to your pets.


Here are 5 items that may be enticing, but harmful to your pets:

1. Sugarless Chewing Gum

If you have sugar free chewing gum, sugar free mints or nicotine gum in your handbag, chances are it contains xylitol. Ingestion of even the smallest amount of xylitol (1 or 2 pieces of gum) can send a dog into hypoglycemic shock, which is life threatening, or worse liver failure. Symptoms include loss of coordination, depression, collapse and seizures in as little as 30 minutes.

2. Hand Sanitizer

These have become fashionable products in most handbags and are used to quickly sanitise hands when soap and a tap are not easily accessible. The alcohol level in hand sanitizers is dangerously high. Whilst that’s good for killing germs, it’s dangerous if ingested by your pet as it could cause hypoglycemic shock (a dangerous drop in your pet’s blood sugar level) which could lead to coma and death.

3. Cigarettes & Nicotine Products

We all know that smoking and nicotine is bad for us; however few people know that a small dog can die from ingesting just 3 cigarettes. This makes nicotine gum extremely dangerous as it not only contains nicotine, but also xylitol.

4. Headache Tablets & Anti-Inflammatories

Most pills come in plastic bottles / containers which when tossed around make an intriguing noise to most inquisitive dogs or cats. Once chewed open the pills inside are sometimes candy coated which makes them palatable and seemingly tasty treats. Tablets containing Ibuprofen are EXTREMELY toxic and emergency medical attention will be required. Symptoms include vomiting, loss of co-ordination and balance, stomach ulcers and liver failure.

5. Asthma Inhalers

If your dog bites into an asthma inhaler it will result in life threatening poisoning. When the inhaler is punctured it dispenses a large dose of albuterol into the dog’s mouth and nose. This massive dose causes toxicity by quickly elevating the heart rate to life-threatening levels, drops potassium levels dangerously low and leads to extreme weakness, lack of coordination. If not treated urgently by a veterinarian, death could result.

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Weighty Issues : How Much Should I Be Feeding My Pet?

The label on the bag of pet food provides a guideline on the amount of food recommended for your pet. However that is just a start, as you also need to take into account your pet’s age and activity level. For example pets that are highly active, pregnant or nursing young have higher requirements than the average couch-potato.

Puppies and kittens require food at more frequent intervals than their adult counterparts. They therefore need to be fed three or four times per day, depending on their age. Keep in mind that in winter the energy expenditure of your pets is likely to drop, especially with indoor pets, as they’re less active. This means that you would need to feed slightly less than you would during the summer months to maintain your pet’s current body weight. An outdoor pet however would be burning off more energy just to stay warm, thus requiring a slight increase in food portions.

In the PetPickings.com household we typically feed one-third of the daily ration in the morning, and the remaining two-thirds in the evening. Since pets have a tendency to sleep after meals, this technique works especially well for us as our pets sleep with us, so they are less likely to become restless during the night.

Dividing daily rations into 2 or 3 meals is especially important in dogs, more specifically large dogs (although not exclusively), as it lessens the chances of your dog developing ‘bloat’ / gastric torsion, which is a potentially fatal medical emergency.

Some people can get away with letting the dog decide when and how much she eats by constantly keeping a supply of dry pellets available (free-feeding). In our household however this would never work as Kira (our Jack Russel) would simply eat herself into a diabetic coma. Free feeding also rarely works in a multiple dog household, as it often creates competition and food issues.

Another reason not to free feed is that it becomes difficult to pick up when your pet’s eating pattern changes or appetite drops, which could be an early warning sign of illness.

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