As a pet guardian, you know how adept your pet can be in snarfling out hidden tasty morsels. There are no limits when it comes to a pet’s ability to find food, and generally speaking, the nose is the primary way animals explore the world. That’s why many pets often get into items we may assume are safe, like a school bag or purse.

The contents of a backpack, purse, or gym bag can be particularly interesting. Items like school lunches, medications, flavored chapstick, or any number of other items can present pet poisoning dangers to our fur friends.

To help you understand these pet toxins, the team at AIMSS has set out to tackle the tempting items often found in our bags.

Hidden Places: Pet Toxins in Purses and Bags

According to the Animal Poison Control Center, one the more common places pets access poisons are purses or duffel bags.

These toxic items include:

  • Medications – Although we may not consider these drugs to be of particular interest to pets, up to 50% of all pet poisoning calls are caused by human medications, such as antidepressants or over-the-counter pain killers.
  • Xylitol – This additive in sugar-free candies, vitamins, gums, and other treats is highly toxic and can lead to liver failure if enough is ingested.
  • Hand sanitizer – This is an item found in most purses and school bags – especially during flu season. Unfortunately, despite the taste, many pets will consume this substance, experiencing symptoms like vomiting and low blood pressure..
  • Toxic treats – From mixed nuts to raisins and chocolate, some of our lunchtime foods and snacks can be very toxic to cats and dogs.
  • Asthma inhalers – These inhalers can be easily punctured, should your dog decide to bite down on one. This can lead to a potentially lethal dose of steroids or albuterol.
  • Cigarettes and nicotine – Nicotine in any form, be it gum, patches, or e-products, are extremely dangerous to pets.
  • Office supplies and miscellany – Rubber bands, paperclips, and other small miscellaneous items can become choking hazards or cause gastrointestinal blockages if your pet decides to sneak a taste.

Preventing a Pet Emergency

Since there’s no way to curtail a pet’s desire to explore, the best way to prevent your pet from ingesting these items is to make sure they’re kept off the floor.

Ask all family members to put away bags as soon as they get home from work or school. Create a space in a closed closet in the foyer or install hooks at a height that’s out of your pet’s reach.

Familiarize yourself with pet toxins and ways to pet-proof your home. If you suspect your pet has ingested a potentially poisonous substance or item, please phone your veterinarian or seek emergency care immediately. It’s also a good idea to save the Pet Poison Helpline number in your phone, as well as in your pet’s medical records for quick access.

For more information about pet toxins, please give us a call.