Last night we had to take Izzie to the ER. It was totally my fault but wanted to post about it so that if one of my readers came about this post, they would heed my warning.
In my office I have a packet of paper tacked to my cork board that has little over one hundred food and plant items that are toxic to dogs. Many of these items I didn’t know were toxic before I got Isabella even though I’ve had a dog in my life for more than a decade (did they not distribute this information in the past?)
When I first brought Izzie home, I reviewed this list and tried to remember this as much as possible and I am usually very careful with what I feed her. For instance, she has a horrible allergy to wheat, and if she eats anything containing it, she breaks out in hives and won’t stop biting herself where she flares up. I don’t feed her table scraps and I scold Adam whenever he feeds her from the table.
That being said, she IS a corgi, and they are well-know for their insatiable appetite and will do anything short of killing you to get a piece of food. Last night, I was finishing up a plate of Thai fried rice and pulled out a bunch of onions that I didn’t want to eat. I had to run to the restroom and left the plate out. From the back of the house, I could hear Izzie jump on the couch and audible gulp the remaining morsels from my dinner plate. No volume of screaming from the restroom would halt her in her food reverie and a few moments later she waltz into the bedroom licking the stay food particles from her lips.
It was then a race around the house trying to find out exactly how much onions were toxic to dogs and who I should contact at 10:30 at night in case it was going to be an emergency.
My first call was to the Animal Poison Control Line run by the ASPCA. After waiting on hold for a few minutes and giving them all my information on the incident, the operator then told me that it would be a charge of $65 before they could even give me advice. This wouldn’t count any time of actual emergency intervention, just advice.
I quickly hung up and dialed my veterinarian. Unsurprisingly, they were closed but gave me numbers to two 24-hour emergency animal hospitals in Brooklyn and I gave them a call. The first hospital was already dealing with an emergency but did tell me that I needed to get her attention soon. I called the second hospital and they too confirmed that she needed to throw up the onions. I could either give her hydrogen peroxide (not the stuff you use on your hair) or bring her to the hospital. I had none of the hydrogen peroxide at home and it would take probably 20 minutes to pick some up at the local CVS and even then it wouldn’t be a sure bet that she would actually vomit.
All the while I am freaking out running around the house, Izzie had since plopped herself down on the carpet and was already ready for bed. I decided to tell her we were going for a walk and quickly shuffled her to the car so I could speed down 4th Avenue to the animal hospital.
When she was finally seen by a technician, they alerted me that onions are particularly harmful to dogs because it causes anemia, which makes them lethargic and prevent oxygen from getting into their red blood cells. If she isn’t treated, the worst that could happen to her was that she would need a full blood transfusion otherwise she would die. Soon that $200 vet bill didn’t sound too bad.
They gave her an injection of a medication that would make her nauseous, but she was still quite stubborn before she gave up those onions! The process made her pretty loopy and I had to take turns with Adam to carry her back home from the car and she spent the rest of the evening curled up in her bed.
If you have fur-children, be sure to keep a list of toxic foods/plants in your house for reference and be careful what you have laying out that your pets could possibly get into.
Also keep an emergency veterinarian number in your mobile phone. And if there isn’t a 24-hour hospital in your area to call, at least get the ASPCA number in your phone, you might be out $65 for advice but better than burying your loved-one.
A lot of people know about how chocolate is toxic to dogs, but the reality is that most chocolate has a high milk content and dogs (depending on weight) need a LOT of chocolate in order to get to toxicity. Usually, chocolate is not as bad as you may think unless they decide to gorge on a pound of 85% cacao. Onions, and other surprising food items, are actually a lot worse.
For a list of toxic food and plants for your fur-child, download a copy of this list to keep around the house. http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/plants/