Chrissie 2014Today I am more aware of the toxins our pets ingest on a regular basis. Recently my sweet Chrissie was diagnosed with kidney disease. It came on sudden. I believe she could have ingested something or it could be her aging, either way the damage is done to her kidneys so she will have to be monitored the rest of her life. Because of this I have been reading articles on kidney issues which leads me to things like Dr. Karen Becker’s blog on “The “Cute” Little Habit That Can Sicken Your Pet – Or Worse”. Chrissie does not have this habit however I have known of other dogs that do have this habit (waiting for you to step out of the shower) so I thought this would be a great topic to explore.

Dogs and cats enjoy licking your legs and arms when you have lotions and other types of topical products on your  skin. With all the yummy smells products have this licking the skin is very appealing. However, what we don’t really think would be harmful can be to our pets if they lick it off you and ingest.

Some over the counter topical products that are dangerous to pets:

Personal care products such as soaps, body washes, toothpaste, moisturizing lotions, sunscreens, self tanners, shampoos, conditioners and the list continues. These products can cause GI upset if ingested by the pet.

Creams containing hydrocortisone if ingested can cause increased thirst and urination, panting, vomiting and diarrhea in your pet.

Ointments, lotions and creams containing antibiotics (commonly called “triple-antiobiotic” products) can cause stomach upset.

Products containing zinc oxide causes vomiting and diarrhea in dogs if ingested, and if it is bloody you should promptly call your veterinarian since that would be an indicator that the zinc oxide has damaged the pet’s GI tract.

Muscle rub creams can contain aspirin-like compounds that when ingested can cause vomiting with or without blood, as well as stomach ulcers.

Minoxidil, brand name Rogaine is a hair growth product. Originally it was used as a blood pressure medication. If your pet ingest the initial symptoms are vomiting and lethargy, and progressively a build up of fluid in the lungs and ultimately heart failure.

Now to prescription topical products that are dangerous to pets:

Hormone creams containing estrogen, progesterone or testosterone can be absorbed through your pet’s skin in addition to being ingested. It can cause mammary gland enlargement, and in sterilized females signs of “signs of being in heat” (estrus) and false pregnancy.

Anti-inflammatory pain medication creams typically for arthritis might contain Flurbiprofen and a tiny amount of this ingested by a cat can cause kidney failure.

Vitamin A compounds (retinoids) which is prescribed to treat acne ingestion by a pet can cause upset stomach but more seriously birth defect in developing fetuses.

Calcipotriene, brand name Dovonex used to treat psoriasis, it only takes a small amount of this ointment to be fatal in dogs and cats.

5-fluorouracil, brand names 5FU and Efudex is used to treat a condition called solar keratosis (precancerous sun damage and skin cancer in humans) If your pet was to ingest it can cause uncontrollable seizures, bloody vomiting, and diarrhea. This product is extremely dangerous to use around pets as most cannot be saved.

Dr. Karen Becker give 5 Tips for Keeping Your Pet Safe from Topical Products

1. Prevent your pet from licking after you apply a product to your skin, consistently discourage licking as this will keep your pet safe in all situations.

2. Allow all topical products to dry or soak in completely or cover the area where the product has been used before you allow your pet to be in contact with you.

3. Do not apply a product meant for a human to your pet without discussing with a veterinarian.

4. Wash your hands thoroughly after using any products before touching your pet. Store all products out of reach of your pets.

5. Contact your veterinarian or emergency veterinary clinic immediately if you suspect your pet may have ingested or come in contact with a harmful topical product.

When your pet develops any of the symptoms above and you go the vet and say nothing has changed you now have something to think about in helping to diagnose your pet. Be forever diligent on what your pet(s) comes into contact with on a daily basis. Chrissie going to vet.

Gaurdian Pet Sitters® offers taxi service for your pet to the vet, groomer, and doggie day care.