Dr. Dallas Reports on Accidental Pet Poisoning

Dr. Dallas Reports on Accidental Pet Poisoning

Allow me to set up a scenario for you:

You are just getting home from work, or grocery shopping, or picking up the kids, or working outside… In any case, when you walk through the door you are met with a scene that no pet owner ever wishes to encounter: your dog or cat has gotten into something. If you are lucky, it is just a spilled pile of mail, or maybe a torn up pillow. But what if it’s not? What if they have gotten into some medications, household cleaners, or maybe even a box of chocolates?

Do you know what to do in a situation where you pet has potentially ingested something that could do them serious harm?

Each year, thousands of pets in North America suffer accidental ingestion of potentially deadly substances that have been found in and around their home. The key to saving your pet from an unintentional poisoning is education. In this blog, we will discuss how to prevent pet poisoning incidents and what to do if you believe that your pet has ingested something toxic.

Not everyone is lucky enough to only have a few pillows destroyed…


An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

– Benjamin Franklin

The best way of saving yourself the headache (and potential heartache) of a pet accidentally ingesting something toxic is to be aware of what items within your home are poisonous to your animals and making sure that they are safely stored in a place that your dog or cat cannot get to.

Toxic Substances

A full list of substances toxic to dogs and cats can be found here, but the most common ingested items are:

  • Alcohol
  • Antifreeze
  • Chocolate
  • Fertilizer
  • Lilies
  • Mouse/Rat Poison and
  • Onions and Garlic
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Tylenol (acetaminophen)
  • Advil (ibuprofen)

Remove Temptation

Once you have familiarized yourself with what items in the home can be a potential danger to your pet(s), the next step is to do something about them. You need to eliminate your pet’s access to these items, which can be accomplished in a number of ways:

  • Crate your pet when you are not able to supervise them.
  • Make use of baby gates or other barriers to stop animals from entering areas where harmful items are kept.
  • Store dangerous items in a locked cupboard, or out of reach entirely (even from counter-surfing animals) on a high shelf.
  • Swap out the use of rodenticides and insecticides with traps but keep them far from your pet’s access. Don’t forget unwanted critters can track poisons to other locations around the home if they walk through them. Also, an avid mouser may potentially ingest mouse/rat poison if they catch the offender after it has been exposed.
  • Keep the clutter to a minimum – meaning, remove any enticing items (ie. chocolates, scented lotions, flavoured medications) from counters and side tables.
  • Invest in trashcans with a secured lid, or keep them behind closed cupboard doors or in inaccessible rooms.
  • Clean up spills immediately (ie. antifreeze or de-icers in the garage, coffee grinds or table salt in the kitchen).
  • Close toilet lids after use, especially if you use automatic toilet bowl cleaner in the tank, or stick-on pucks on the inside of the bowl.
  • Eliminate toxic flowers from any bouquets or potted plants received and displayed.
  • Hang your purse out of reach on a hook, or store in a closed closet.
  • Keep pets off of lawns that have been sprayed with commercial herbicides.

When they are not being supervised, the best place for a mischievous pup is their crate!

Be Ready

It is always recommended that you have your pet’s information on-hand. This means an accurate description of your pet and their medical history available in case you, or anyone else, need to go to the nearest veterinary clinic in an emergency situation. Keep a folder handy that is clearly labelled and indicates the following:

  • Pet’s Name, including the last name they are registered with. It is especially important to keep registered last names the same if you go to more than one clinic.
  • Age, Sex and Breed/Species
  • Up-to-date Weight
  • List of any underlying Medical Conditions
  • List of any Current Medications

It is also important to have necessary contact information readily available. This would include the name of your veterinarian and their clinic’s phone number and address, as well as an after-hours emergency clinic should you require assistance outside of regular business hours. The information for emergency services such as the Pet Poison Helpline would also be useful. Be sure to include all of your own contact information as well, in case it is a house-sitter or dog-walker that has encountered the emergency situation.



Despite your best efforts the worst has happened – you suspect your pet has ingested something that they shouldn’t have and you are concerned that it could pose a serious health risk. There are a number of steps that you need to take, and you need to act fast. Time is a factor here, even if your pet is not yet displaying symptoms of poisoning. The sooner your pet is diagnosed, the sooner they can be treated and the better chance they have of being okay.

Tend to the Area

First things first, safely remove your pet from the immediate area in order to eliminate continued exposure to (or ingestion of) the potentially toxic material. Also remove any other pets or children that could be harmed by exposure to the substance in question. If possible, quarantine the area as you may not have time to adequately clean it in the moment.

Tend to the Animal

Next, check that your pet is safe. Make sure they are breathing and acting normally. Resist the temptation to give them any type of home remedy or to induce vomiting yourself. Either of these can be very dangerous and you may inadvertently cause more harm than good.

IMG_3008 exam

Get Help

Contact your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline immediately for further instructions (if you are travelling with your pet, be sure to research while you are making travel plans where the nearest veterinary clinic and emergency animal hospital are located). It would be prudent to be prepared with as much information as possible regarding the incident. This information will be dependent on the situation and the material ingested. Here is a basic guideline on what you may be asked about the material ingested:

  • Plant – What is the name of the plant? Is it a houseplant, outdoor plant or weed? Which part of the plant was ingested (bulb, leaves, flowers, stem, fruit)? How much was consumed?
  • Medication – What is the name of the drug? What is the milligram strength? How much of medication was potentially consumed (ie. how many tablets were in the bottle and how many are remaining)?
  • Chemical – What is the brand name of the product? What are the active ingredients and concentration of those ingredients? What are the label warnings? How much was ingested (ie. what was the original weight of the product and how much remains)?

If you need to immediately go to a veterinarian and do not have time to contact them, be sure to collect up all the wrappers/packaging from the item and take them with you.

You will most likely also be asked about the scenario in which the material was consumed as well. Be prepared to answer the following questions:

  • How long ago did ingestion occur? If your pet was unattended when it happened, how long were they alone (thus how long ago could they have potentially gotten into the product)?
  • Is your pet currently displaying any abnormal behaviour, such as pawing at their mouth, pacing, whining, drooling, etc.?

While these questions may be tough to answer, it is important that you do so calmly and to the best of your ability in order to receive the best guidance and care for your pet.

We hope that you will never have to refer to this guide, but if you do, here are some names and numbers that we feel you should always have accessible:

Snelgrove Veterinary Services (That’s us!)
Tel.: 905-846-3316
11526 Hurontario Street, Brampton
Located on Hwy 10, South of Mayfield Road and North of Concervation Drive/Wanless Street

Emergency Veterinary Clinic of Brampton (After-hours clinic)
Tel.: 905-495-9907
1 Wexford Drive, Unit 10, Brampton
Located in the Wexford Square Plaza, on Highway 10 just South of Bovaird Drive

Pet Poison Helpline (Open 24 hours)
Tel.: 855-764-7661

Mississauga Oakville Veterinary Emergency Hospital (Open 24 hours)
Tel.: 905-829-9444
2285 Bristol Circle, Oakville

404 Veterinary Emergency + Referral Hospital (Open 24 hours)
Tel.: 905-953-1933
510 Harry Walker Parkway South, Newmarket

Toronto Veterinary Emergency Hospital (Open 24 hours)
Tel.: 416-247-8387
21 Rolark Drive, Scarborough

Veterinary Emergency Clinic (South) (Open 24 hours)
Tel.: 416-920-2002
920 Yonge Street, Suite 117, Toronto

My pet has been diagnosed with Diabetes. Now what happens?

My pet has been diagnosed with Diabetes. Now what happens?

Facing an unexpected diagnosis for any condition in your pet can be difficult. Diabetes is no different. But, we have some good news for you…

Good News #1: It is manageable!

Don’t panic! While diabetes is a serious condition, it can be managed with the help of your veterinarian and animal health team.

Good News #2: Your pet can still live a long and healthy life!

Through proper diet, an active lifestyle and consistent medicating, your diabetic pet can live a rich and fulfilling life by your side.

Understanding Diabetes…

Diabetes is not species specific, so it can be diagnosed in both dogs and cats. The cause of it, however, remains unknown. Although some researchers have linked diabetes in animals to obesity, that is not always the case. Diabetes can affect animals of any age, weight or size.

In simplest terms, diabetes is a condition that occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the body does not appropriately respond to the insulin provided. Insulin is a natural defense against excessive amounts of sugar in the body. Although it sounds like a simple enough solution to just cut all sugar from our diet entirely, sugar is naturally found in most (if not all) foods.


Frankie – Diagnosed November 2015


Common Signs of Diabetes…

The most common symptoms of diabetes in an animal could include, but are not limited to:

  • drinking more
  • urinating more
  • disheveled fur
  • weight loss
  • cats may walk lower on their back legs
  • increased appetite
  • depression

Diabetic Diagnosis…

Diabetes is diagnosed in animals by a veterinarian using a combination of clinical signs, blood tests and urine tests. Once your pet has been officially diagnosed as diabetic, they will be admitted into the hospital where your veterinarian will begin insulin therapy. At this time, your pet’s blood glucose levels will be closely monitored. Based on those results, your veterinarian will put together a treatment plan. Upon discharge, you will be given a lesson on how to give an insulin injection yourself at home and what important signs to watch out for. But don’t worry, giving the injection becomes easier with time, and most pets do not mind it at all (or even notice). It is a very tiny needle and very small amount. Blood glucose monitoring will be done at least weekly in the beginning stages, until your pet shows the desired results. At this point, the frequency of appointments will diminish.

Sir Duffer –
Diagnosed April 2017

Diabetic Management…

The initial costs after a diabetic diagnosis involve regular blood work, urine testing and additional physical examinations. Once your pet has been regulated, however, management of diabetes is a fairly low-cost treatment. Insulin medication and injections cost less than a coffee a day – and we mean a Tim Horton’s coffee, not a Starbucks coffee!

As we mentioned above, proper diet plays a key role in diabetic management. Your pet will need to eat regardless, but yes, they will require a specially formulated food, which will cost about the same as a good quality pet food anyway. Physical activity is also important, as is consistency when it comes to medications. More frequent examinations will be required for your pet. This is due to the associated concerns that arise when managing diabetes – we want to make sure that your pet does not develop any other health issues, and make sure we have the ability to offer quick support care, if they should occur.

Moving Forward…

Your pet will need to come in 3-4 times yearly for blood and urine testing and twice yearly for a full examination with a comprehensive ophthalmic exam.

Most pets live a long, happy and healthy life even with this condition present. Although it requires heightened attention and perseverance, a regular schedule can be developed quite quickly to make you feel that it is as normal as brushing your teeth twice a day! And, of course, the veterinarians and staff here at Snelgrove Vet are available to answer any questions that you may have. We are also here to lend an ear to listen, or a shoulder to lean on ❤

Millie – Diagnosed July 2017


Willow – Diagnosed August 2017

Gucci – Diagnosed
June 2017

Licorice – Diagnosed April 2017

Atticus – Diagnosed
October 2017

Go – Diagnosed
October 2017

Best job ever :)

It’s kitten season in Brampton, ON. and we have been seeing lots of kittens coming in from the Brampton Animal Shelter. Be sure to take a look on their website or pop on in to them to adopt you’re next fur-ever friend 🙂

Goat Yoga!

Goat Yoga!

Yep, you read that correctly! Goat yoga is actually a thing now, and it is trending all over social media. The goat yoga phenomenon started at a farm in Oregon last summer and has grown exponentially in popularity since then. It has even now made its way North of the border to us here in Canada.

So, what is goat yoga exactly?

Well, it is basically what it sounds like. A nice, relaxing yoga class, but with goats. They mill about during the class, chew on mats, snuggle up to or jump on participants – all those good things that you expect goats to do! It is certainly a unique experience, that’s for sure.

While the entire goat yoga “movement” can seem a bit far-fetched, it is a well-known fact that having animals around can help relax people and even lower blood pressure. So maybe the goat yoga enthusiasts are onto something after-all? At the very least, an hour of playing with and watching frolicking goats would have to be delightfully entertaining.

I have to admit, I would definitely sign up for a goat yoga class, purely out of curiosity. I am in no way, shape or form a “yogi,” but the idea of a yoga class with goats sounds like a lot of fun. A quick google search shows that at this time, there are classes offered within a few hours of Brampton, so maybe one day!

Would you ever (or have you ever) attended a goat yoga class? What do you think about the goat yoga trend?

Please let us know your thoughts in the comments and, of course…

Namaste 🙂

Why does my pet’s back end smell so bad?


Have you ever noticed a really disgusting or odd smell coming from your cat or dogs hind end? Or your pet has been licking back there excessively? They may be releasing or having problems with their anal glands.

What are anal glands?

Anal glands are exactly what their name implies – they are glands that sit at the side of the anus. Their scent works as a territorial marker and normally a small amount is released when an animal defecates – this is why dogs like to smell one another’s feces. Animals can also have spontaneous release of their anal glands – this usually occurs during a time of fear, stress or excitement or with cats, during grooming or extreme happiness.

These glands are perfectly normal and it’s normal for your pet to express them occasionally. The problem is though, that some pets don’t express them naturally and this can cause problems.

What happens if my pet doesn’t express them naturally?

This is actually a quite common occurrence. Anal glands can become impacted if your pet doesn’t express them naturally.  This is why during veterinary exams they are checked and why groomers express them manually at the time of a bath. If they are not released, they can become inflamed, which in turn, causes the anal gland secretions to thicken. This will then cause the sacs to become overly full and painful. Your pet will typically scoot or drag their hind end on the floor, excessively lick at their back end or growl when they are touched back there. The thickened material makes a great home for bacterial overgrowth and can rapidly lead to abscesses. These abscesses appear as red, painful, hot swellings on the side of the anus affected. They can also rupture on their own and pus and blood will drain from them. Treatment can vary from antibiotic and pain medication to flushing the anal glands. For some dogs, anal gland impactions can be a chronic problems, and in severe cases surgical removal may be indicated.


For dogs with chronic anal gland problems, Glandex chews can be considered to try as a prevention. Glandex is formulated to encourage anal gland health by helping to create firm, bulky stools that express the anal glands and also contains natural anti-inflammatories and probiotics to encourage a healthy gastrointestinal system. Glandex is available at our office in Brampton and on our webstore at http://www.myvetstore.ca/snelgrovevs


Unfortunately cancer of the anal gland can occur as well. These tumors often grow very rapidly and are malignant meaning that they will spread to other areas of the body. Since these tumors grow inwards, they are often not noticed until they are large enough to cause difficulties passing feces. Any animal that is straining to defecate, should be examined by a veterinarian

Feel free to let me know about any other topics you would like me to write about,                                   Dr. Dallas


Happy Holidays


The holidays are a wonderful time to spend with family, friends and our pets. We all know we even sneak a gift or two under the Christmas tree for that special furry friend. We all know that we give them a few extra treats from our very own Christmas dinner.

Here a few tips to a happy and safe holiday season;

Be careful to keep alcohol and food well out of reach of your pets. Keep a bowl of dog treats handy for guests to offer your pets rather than them offering food from their plates. Label it in a fun way, such as, “Fido’s Christmas Cheer!!” or use a cute saying “If you feel the need to feed me something yummy, please be careful of my tummy and use only treats put out by my Mommy” to remind your guests of appropriate pet treats. Many foods that we eat during this time of year are high in fat, which can cause pancreatitis, or even may contain ingredients that are toxic to animals. 


Don’t keep wrapped boxes of chocolates or other food items under the tree. Pets have an amazing sense of smell and can sniff right through the wrapping. Keep decorations elevated and be sure to secure your Christmas tree from potentially being knocked over. Never leave candles unsupervised. Keep your pets away from poinsettia, mistletoe, holly berries and lilies, all of these have the potential to make your pet quite sick. Lilies in particular to cats, are extremely toxic even without ingestion. Just having them in the house can be fatal to your cat.


Cold weather, slush, ice, and snow are all synonymous with winter. It is important that we remember to keep our pets warm and dry too. Sweaters and coats are a great investment for short-haired dogs and dogs that are clipped. Heavier coated dogs will develop an undercoat to help them maintain their natural heat but dogs that are groomed and short-haired dogs are lacking in this undercoat. Hypothermia can set in very quickly, having severe side effects. Watch out for ice and snow sticking to the bottom of their feet, especially between their pads. This can make it very uncomfortable for a dog to walk and can cause cracking and chaffing of the area. Older dogs benefit from wearing footwear in the winter due to arthritis. Never use a snow blower with your pet present. The loud noise will often scare them and the blades are extremely dangerous.

Dry Coats

Many pets suffer from dry skin through the winter months due to heating our homes. Omega fatty acid supplements are a great way to moisture their skin and prevent dandruff and itchiness.


Many pets gain weight through the winter months. Consider switching to a lower calorie food, decreasing the amount they get, or better yet, continue to exercise them. Reflective gear is a great idea as it gets dark earlier in the evening.

Car care

Take extra precaution when starting your car. Pets and wildlife sometimes climb into the engine area of cars for warmth and to get out of the wind and snow. Bang your hood before getting into your car or press your electronic lock button/horn to activate a sound prior to starting your car to hopefully encourage them to run out.

Ethylene glycol, a sweet-tasting, odorless liquid, is the active ingredient in antifreeze/engine coolant. Ethylene glycol can also be found, in lower concentrations, in some windshield de-icing agents, hydraulic brake fluid, motor oils, solvents, paints, film processing solutions, wood stains, inks, printer cartridges, etc. Be extra vigilant when topping up these fluids that they do not spill onto your driveway or into the snow.

While these liquids smell and taste sweet to pets they are extremely toxic and therefore require immediate attention for the best chance of survival.

If you suspect or know your pet has ingested Ethylene Glycol it is critical that you bring your pet to a veterinary clinic immediately, or if he is exhibiting any of the early symptoms. Do not wait; time is of the essence and immediate treatment is essential! Left untreated, the animal will die. Dogs must be treated within 8-12 hours of ingesting antifreeze, while cats must be treated within 3 hours of ingesting antifreeze, as the antidote only has a narrow time period to work.

Common signs to watch for:

  • Drunkenness
  • Excessive thirst or urination
  • Vomiting
  • Panting
  • Sedation
  • Halitosis
  • Lethargy
  • Coma
  • Acute kidney failure
  • Death

In case of emergency while we are out of the office; please contact The Emergency Vet Clinic in Brampton located in the Wexford Plaza at the corner of Wexford Dr. and Hurontario  905-495-9907


Honk Honk, Hack

For the past month, we have been seeing a larger than normal amount of Kennel Cough cases.

Kennel cough, also known as Infectious tracheobronchitis, is a contagious and infectious condition of the trachea (“windpipe”) and bronchial tubes where the major clinical sign is coughing. Similar to the human flu virus, this can be caused by many different viruses and bacteria.

Kennel cough is considered to be very contagious and most commonly spread by sniffing other dogs, playing with contagious dog or sharing water dishes.

Clinical signs are often described as a goose honk, hacking dry cough and owner often describe that it sounds like there is something stuck in their throat that they are trying to bring up. In most cases, when the throat is rubbed or palpated, a cough can be elicited. Clinical signs, however, can vary from very mild to very severe, but most infections resolve within one to three weeks. Most commonly, Kennel Cough is treated with cough suppressants  and antibiotics.

Annual vaccinations are highly recommended and while it does not prevent the infection, it reduces the severity of the clinical signs that are seen.

If you suspect your dog has Kennel Cough, a veterinary exam is recommended to prescribe the appropriate medications and to rule out other causes such as, heart disease or pneumonia that can present with similar clinical signs.