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Summer offers prime time for pet poisonings

BY BECCA SCHIMMEL rschimmel@paducahsun.com

Dogs and cats can be vacuums around the home, eating anything and everything they see. But what if they accidentally ingest something poisonous?

During this time of the year, local veterinarians see more animal poisonings from various lawn treatments. As homeowners look to landscaping coupled with frequent rains, many chemicals and treatments can flow into the water. If a cat and dog walks through that contaminated water, then licks their paws, they can make themselves sick.

With the weather warming up, pet owners have begun to worry about ticks and fleas. Even flea or tick medicine can make your pet sick if used incorrectly. It is important to pay attention to what type of medicine is being used on a dog or cat as they are not universal.

"There are a whole lot of products that we stopped using years ago because of their toxicity, but those products are still licensed," said Dr. William Cummings of Cummings Veterinary Clinic on Clark's River Road.

He warned consumers that not all medicinal products for pets sold online are cleared by the FDA and it is a good idea to check with a veterinarian before buying.

"The big thing we see is everyone wants to be their own veterinarian," Cummings said.

Pet owners must also be diligent indoors. The most common poison that can affect pets is mice and rat poison, said Dr. Daniel Everett of the Paducah Veterinary Clinic on Central Avenue.

If rat pellets have been set out in your home, "you have to assume that your pet is going to be able to get into it," he continued.

Other lesser-known dangers to pets include sugar-free gum, coffee grounds, over-the-counter medicine for people, baker's chocolate and antifreeze.

Anyone who suspects a pet has ingested poison should take it to a local veterinarian or call the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680.

For more information on potential poisons for cats and dogs, what to do if your pet is poisoned and how to pet poison proof your home, go to www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control.

Contact Becca Schimmel, a Paducah Sun staff writer at 270-575-8652.

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