Revealed – common household substances which are Poisonous for your pooch

Common household substances can be hazardous for your canine. Stack them away and make your home pooch-friendly.


Household products for specific uses may be hazardous to pets with accidental exposure. Exposure of the household substances may be dermal, oral, ocular or inhalational. Some of the important indoor substances with higher toxic potentiality are described.

Dr. Vijay Kumar M

Dr. Vijay Kumar M

Soaps and detergents

Products: This class includes soaps, shampoos, spray cleaners, dishwash liquids, powders, laundry products, disinfectants, fabric softeners and sanitisers. Bath soaps and bar soaps usually have low toxic potential, causing mild gastroenteritis with vomition on ingestion. In case your pet accidentally ingests such products, use demulcents and diluents like milk, rinsing with water for dermal and ocular/eye exposure and induction of emesis if soap is non-alkaline (non-corrosive). If there is no spontaneous vomition within thirty minutes of ingestion, then give fluid and electrolyte therapy with assistance of your local veterinarian.
Symptoms: Toxicity related clinical signs are vomition, diarrhoea, gastrointestinal discomfort, intravascular haemolysis in impaired liver condition, dermal irritation, corneal damage; oral-corrosive damage, salivation, muscle weakness, respiratory and CNS depression, seizures, collapse, coma predominantly seen with cationic detergents.


Products: Product examples are toilet bowl cleaners, automobile batteries, gun barrel cleaning fluid and swimming pool cleaning agents. Other examples are drain cleaners, washing products, liquid cleansers, etc.
Symptoms: On dermal and ocular/eye exposure: serious burns, extremely painful, corneal/conjuctival necrosis, perforation and opacity. On ingestion: corrosive burns of mucosal membranes (milky white/grey, turning to wrinkled black). Vocalisation, depression, panting, inability to swallow, vomition with blood, abdominal pain, polydypsia, respiratory distress, shock, secondary pneumonia from aspiration of vapours, gastrointestinal bleeding, perforation and fistula are the other signs observed depending on the severity.


Phenols: Sources of phenolic compounds include flooring materials, coal tar, creosote, tar paper, etc.
Symptoms: It results in intense pain and skin of exposed area of pet becomes black. Also may cause corrosive burns of mouth, oropharynx, and oesophagus. Vomition, salivation, ataxia, panting, weakness, tremour, coma, seizures, methhaemoglobinaemia, respiratory alkalosis, severe liver and kidney damage. Ocular exposure is treated by sterile saline wash.


Symptoms: Generally, the toxicity of bleaches is of lower degree, resulting in irritation of ropharynx, salivation, vomition and abdominal pain. Bleaching of hairs, pulmonary irritation- coughing, dyspnoea and retching on inhalation may also be seen. Non-chlorine bleach products (sodium perborate, sodium peroxide) are alkaline and severe gastric irritants cause renal damage and CNS (Central Nervous System) excitation, depending on the amount ingested.


They are composed of aluminium chloride and aluminium chlorohydrate which have moderate toxicity potential.
Symptoms: Ingestion can cause oral irritation, necrosis, gastroenteritis (diarrhoea) and nephrosis (urine voiding problems).

Solvents and alcohols
Products: The most commonly encountered solvent (acetone: sources: nail polish remover, varnishes, glues) and alcohols include isopropanol        (perfumes, cologne, grooming products), methanol (antifreeze products, automotive wind shield cleanser, consumer products) and alcohol (alcoholic beverages, cosmetics, mouthwashes, common baker’s and brewer’s yeast).
Symptoms: Clinical signs noticed are CNS and respiratory depression acidosis, ataxia, hypothermia, cardiac arrest, coma, etc.

Petroleum distillates

Sources: Gasoline (petrol), kerosene, motor fuels, solvent paints and vehicles for pesticides. Because of low surface tension, chance of aspiration is most common.
Symptoms: Dermal exposure may result in dermatitis. Oral exposure results in aspiration pneumonia, cough, hyperthermia, cyanosis, CNS depression and pulmonary oedema.
Note: Do not make the pet to vomit using Emetics (saline solution) and oily purgatives (liquid paraffin) are contraindicated, as they increase the risk of aspiration.


Products: Automotive or dry cell batteries contain sulfuric acid that can be irritating on contact with eyes, skin and gastrointestinal tract, which is treated accordingly as with acid exposure. The sources of small disc/button batteries include batteries used in calculators, cameras, hearing aids, watches, the content being mainly mercuric oxide. The dry cell batteries commonly used in toy flash lights, may contain alkaline (NaOH, KOH; alkaline batteries) or acidic compounds (ammonium chloride, manganese dioxide, heavy metals- Li, Ni, Zn, Ag, Cd) in them.
Symptoms: On ingestion, most of the intact batteries pass through digestive tract within 24 to 36 hours without producing any major adverse effects, except for mechanical obstruction occasionally. Gastrointestinal distress (off feed, dull and depressed) may occur resulting from retention and obstruction, which has to be diagnosed by radiography and has to be corrected by endoscopy and surgery. If battery is chewed and split apart, it may cause corrosive damage depending on the chemical content in it. Timely surgical intervention together with the administration of saline cathartics, enemas and appropriate chelation therapy with specific chelating agents if any (e.g. DMSA or D-Penicillamine as for Pb), can minimise the corrosive damage caused. Lead is the major source of toxicity among the metals, resulting in acute or chronic toxicity upon ingestion. The sources of lead are paints, batteries, solder, plumbing supplies, lubricating material, ceramic containers, Pb pipes, toys, inks, dyes, used oil from vehicles that burn leaded gasoline. The clinical signs noticed are: acute-CNS excitability signs, convulsions, behavioural changes, ataxia, tremour, blindness; chronic-gastrointestinal disturbance signs, vomition, pica, diarrhoea and abdominal pain.


Cyanoacrylate adhesives (superglue)
Uncured cyanoacrylate adhesives form an almost instantaneous bond on contact with hair/skin resulting in annoyance and frustration of the animal. Cured ones are nontoxic upon ingestion. Dermal exposed areas are soaked with warm soapy water as quickly as possible and with acetone for several minutes, if area is away from face or eye. The hair may be clipped to reduce the tension on skin. The surfaces should not be pulled apart, with direct opposing actions. Ocular: Eyelid/eyeball is thoroughly washed with warm water and Elizabethan Collar is applied to prevent self trauma. The animal will be able to open eyes on his own with no residual tissue damage within 2-3 days and hence forceful manipulation should not be done.


Products:  Coffee, tea, chocolates, cola/soft drinks, asthma, analgesic and cold medications. Caffeine, oxicoses and theobromine are the primary toxic agents.
Symptoms: Clinical signs manifested by vomition, diarrhoea, polyuria, weakness, hyperexcitability, tremours, seizures, coma and death resulting from cardiac tachyarrhythmias.
Symptoms: Dirty brown coloured gums, dyspnoea (difficulty in respiration), haematuria (blood in urine), jaundice, facial and paw edema, cyanosis, hypothermia and vomiting. Less common signs include coma, generalised weakness and death.


Products: It is a sweetener used in sugar-free products/chewing gums.
Symptoms: It induces hypoglycaemia by stimulating insulin secretion, resulting in weakness, ataxia, seizures and collapse.


Poisoning occurs commonly from ingestion of a tick collar.
Symptoms: Clinical signs include ataxia (unable to walk), bradycardia (dull and depressed), CNS depression, vomition, diarrhoea, and seizures.
Caution: All the pet parents are requested to ensure that poisonous substances mentioned above should be used carefully in presence of pets. Kindly contact the nearest local veterinarian for assistance at the earliest as the condition of your pet could
be extremely critical.
*The best first aid during any of the above mentioned poisonous conditions for your pet is to give/use concentrated salt solution (more salt and less water to give orally to your pet) to induce vomition within two hours after  ingestion of suspected poison.
(Dr Vijay Kumar M is assistant professor at Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Veterinary College, Bidar).


Secrets Revealed

-to bond with your groomer

Grooming is essential, make it a great experience. Here are a few tips to prepare your puppy for a great grooming experience.

Pet grooming is a visible expression of your love for your pet. Starting early and establishing a lifelong routine will contribute to the future health and welfare of your puppy.

Start ASAP! It’s never too early to get your puppy ready for the grooming experience. Bring her to the groomer as often as you can to get her used to the place and environment.

Groom at home: Practice in small sessions at home by putting your puppy on a table to get her used to holding still and combing with a steel comb. Your puppy should be able to trust you and let you maneuver her body without a lot of struggle. Teaching your puppy good manners will help her and her groomer have a pleasant grooming experience.

Train: Teach your puppy “bite inhibition,” meaning that she can nibble but must learn not to bite hard and to stop when the playtime is over. Puppies need to learn they are not always the ones in control and how to trust others who are.

Follow good mannerisms at your groomer’s place: As natural pack animals, dogs will look to their pet parents as pack leaders for cues about new situations. It is important to know that they watch every move of yours and can detect your hints of fear, anxiety and nervousness. Walk tall, smile, and be friendly. Say “Follow me, Sarah!” Don’t feel bad for your dog! Realise that grooming is not a punishment, but can be more like an indulgent trip to the spa. If you feel clean and happy after a refreshing shower, your dog will most likely feel that way too. Say “My dog is going to love this.” Avoid negative phrases like, “I’m so sorry you have to go to the groomer, baby, but you’ll feel better and you’ll get lots of treats when you’re done.” Think calm, happy thoughts when stepping into the grooming shop to let your pet know that you’ve arrived at a welcoming place. “You are going to look great.”

Let the groomer get comfortable with your pooch: Most groomers pet down a new dog before admission to check the condition of the coat. Let the groomer know if your dog doesn’t like her head scratched or if she prefers to sniff first. “Sarah, this is Shweta. Shweta, Sarah prefers to sniff and lick your hand first.”

In safe hands: Lastly, when it’s time for you to leave, firmly hand the leash over and walk away calmly. Don’t try to sneak out or stay on because it can give your dog an impression that something bad is going to happen to her. Do remember that most groomers are also pet parents and dog lovers who will treat your dog like their own. Saying this last phrase out loud as you hand off the leash will boost your dog’s confidence: “I know you’ll be fine”.

(Shweta Munjal is professional pet groomer at Prince of Tails – pet grooming salon, Bengaluru).

dog Training

Wagging secrets revealed!

Do you know why your pooch wags his tail? The most obvious reply would be that dog wags when he’s excited or happy about something. But that’s not all… the way your pooch wags his tail shows how he is feeling… sometimes happy, sometimes sad and sometimes even angry. Here’s more on wagging tails.

As per Darwin’s Theory of Existence… all living organisms have to struggle for their existence. So, quest fordog Training food was the paramount issue for all organisms. And our pooches’ ancestors being pack animals developed this habit of tail wagging as a silent signal to express their feelings. Actually wagging tail is body’s physiological response for dissipating excess energy. Over the years, this habit became intimately intertwined with expressions, be it happiness, excitement, fear or anger.

The balancing act…

Centuries ago, tail movement played a crucial role in the dog’s ability to balance. When the weight of dog’s body was shifted to one side, the tail moves to other to counterbalance. To support this fact… let us take example of new born puppies. They never wag their tails until they are six or seven weeks old. Once they start interacting with the outer world… they start using their tails as a means of communication and social interaction.

A wag speaks louder than words

While we interpret what our pooch actually tries to say, we have to keep many other aspects in mind as well. The speed of the wag, the height of his tail and the stance of the rest of the dog’s body together helps to actually sum up what he’s communicating… is it happiness, anger, fear or anxiety?

I’m happy! When your pooch comes wagging his tail fast, he’s actually too happy to see you. He is sharing his inner delight with you.

I’m confident! And hey watch out for tail–wagging wide… our pooch means ‘I’m confident, happy and interested’.

I’m interested! While doggie’s relaxed horizontal tail, wagging slowly means he’s actually interested in you and wants to know more about you. If your pooch wags like this… just pat on his back and share a few words.

Grrrr… Stay away! And sometimes when we find a tail held high, stiff, possibly quivering or no movement, this clearly means that our furry chap is not in a very good mood… he’s agitated. Bow! Be careful. ‘Hey man I’m not in best of my moods, don’t mess with me,’ this is when the tail is held high.

Beware! A full tail wag can be a greeting, but if the tail stiffens to where only the tip is moving, then there is a greater chance that the dog is feeling challenged and may attack. The raising of the hackles, lowering of the ears, and sometimes a warning growl will accompany this tail behaviour.

Bow… I’m scared! Besides conveying ‘I’m happy’ or ‘Beware of me’ tail wag also indicates pooches’ fear and nervousness.

A tail tucked between the legs is evident of this emotion.

It’s me! Dogs wag their tail for identification purposes as well. While wagging anal glands are squeezed, this is an identification odour for distinct dogs, these pheromones help in identifying dog.

Thus, tail wagging is a far deep phenomenon than it appears… so next time your dog wags his tail, don’t just think that our pooch is too happy. Different wags have different messages to convey!