Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Cough Drops Can Be Toxic to Pets

Simon has always been one for foraging and eating things that he shouldn't, and he has a stomach of steel. So far the adventures have included a one pound bag of brown sugar, a box of raisins, grapes, horse manure, and dead things he finds in the pasture. (Once while he was being forced to throw up raisins he threw up some small bones, which is what clued us in to the dead things in the pasture). He will also steal anything he can in the way of cat food, and search the car for candy wrappers or the trash for anything at all.

Yesterday I came home for lunch to find that he had eaten the remainder (the bulk) of a big 80 count bag of Halls Cherry Menthol Cough Drops. It didn't strike me that those would be considered food, but after three days of ignoring them, Simon apparently decided they looked good. So he ate them, wrappers and all. I called the vet and found out that yes, they can be dangerous, and yes, he does need to throw them up.

Apparently the menthol can be toxic, and if you use sugar free drops, the xylitol can be too. These were regular, so just sucrose and menthol - but he did eat a huge volume of them. I didn't want to induce vomiting on my own and then leave him alone or take him to work, so I put him in the vet's care for the afternoon so he could vomit and then get monitored, particularly in case he needed fluids, a liver panel, or observation, since he could have ingested them anytime over a three hour period and I was not sure how far along in his tract they were.

Simon is good at looking at you in a way that makes you feel sorry for him even when he's in trouble. Those big brown eyes and the wiggly ears with the sort of 'What??" expression. He is a terribly annoying dog on many fronts, and although he is in many ways the least favorite and most trouble of any dog I've ever owned, I still love him. And I still take my obligation incurred when we adopted him to be lifelong commitment, for better or for worse. And he MEANS well, most of the time, he is just a pain - rolling in things, barking at things, defending against imagined threats, being unpredictable, and eating just about everything he can get his paws on.

So, $118 later, he has survived the cough drop incident and I have learned of yet another household item potentially toxic to dogs.

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