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Recognizing Summer Toxins and Gastrointestinal Emergencies

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reminds pet parents to be aware of gastrointestinal emergencies and toxins this summer. Recognizing them can save your pet’s life. It can even help you create a safe haven for your pet during the hot months. Here are the details:

Summer Toxins


Pets can be curious, especially during the summer months because heat activates many odors. The scents excite any pet’s sense of smell enough to get them into trouble. You must always keep an eye on your pets when they explore. Doing so can keep them away from summer toxins, such as the following:

  • Garden and yard products can be toxic to pets. Fertilizers with iron can cause iron poisoning upon ingestion. Cocoa mulch has cocoa bean husks that can cause chocolate poisoning. Snail and slug baits have toxic metaldehyde. Compost piles may have toxic mold. Insecticides, weed killers, and herbicides can cause problems like rashes, diarrhea, or death. Organic fertilizers may cause issues like pancreatitis.

  • Some plants and flowers can upset your pet’s gastrointestinal system. Sago palms cause liver failure. Foxgloves and rhododendrons can cause heart arrhythmias. Tulips can cause heart abnormalities and seizures. Onions and other members of the Allium family can damage red blood cells.

  • Pool chemicals in high concentrations can cause burns in the mouth, skin, and throat. Very low or no concentrations of chlorine can lead to the growth of bacteria, algae, and parasites that can cause problems for your pet.

  • Saltwater can lead to poisoning if your pet takes in too much. Symptoms include seizures, diarrhea, and vomiting.

  • Wild mushrooms can upset your pet’s stomach or cause neurologic issues, such as seizures.

  • Human foods like chocolate, xylitol, and marijuana edibles are highly toxic to pets.

  • Rodenticides are often used in storage areas, garages, or sheds. If your pet wanders into these areas, there is a chance that your pet might get curious enough to eat rodenticides. If this happens, it can cause spinal cord swelling, bleeding, and organ failure.

Summer Gastrointestinal (GI) Emergencies


GI emergencies can happen to pets at any time. Knowing the symptoms of these problems, you can provide the help your pet needs. GI emergencies can be simple or complex. Here are a few that are common during the summer months:

  • Stomach torsion is also called bloat or volvulus. This can happen when pets take in huge amounts of water, air, and food. This action can lead to an extremely full stomach, which can rotate in your pet’s body. When this happens, it can cut off its own blood supply. Bring your pet to the veterinarian's emergency clinic right away.

  • Vomiting can be a result of either infection, poisoning, or GI obstruction. Bring your pet to an emergency veterinarian as fast as you can.

  • Diarrhea can be a result of stress, fear, bowel obstruction, or infection. Seeing the veterinarian right away is necessary, especially if the diarrhea is frequent, black, or bloody.

  • Constipation happens when your pet is dehydrated or has taken in too much or too little fiber. Enlarged prostate glands or blockage from foreign objects can also cause an obstruction that can lead to constipation. Excessive self-grooming can cause constipation as well.

Toxin exposure and gastrointestinal emergencies need urgent veterinary medical attention. At Animal Emergency Dallas, we prioritize the health and safety of every patient we handle. You can go to our facility in Dallas, Texas, for any pet emergency issue. Please call 214-520-2222 to call ahead about an emergency or ask about our emergency treatment packages.

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