Dr. Justine Lee and her rescued pit bull, JP

We just got past one of the prime pet poisoning holidays: Easter. Canine consumption of chocolate eggs raised the number of phone calls to the Pet Poison Help Line a whopping 190%, according to Dr. Justine Lee, the help line’s Director of Veterinary Services.

And then there are the cat-killing Easter lilies. The pollen alone can be deadly if it gets on a cat’s skin.

I thought I knew a lot about common home and garden hazards to pet health, but Dr. Lorie Huston’s interview with Dr. Lee was eye-opening. I never considered, for example, how pills rattling around a bottle could make them particularly appealing to a pet. Why wouldn’t a dog want to eviscerate — and eat the insides of — such a toy?

Conversely, I learned about that the “cocoa” mulch danger was overhyped. Dr. Lee explains that a dog would have to eat a vast quantity of mulch containing theobromine, the common ingredient with chocolate, for it to pose a health threat.

And pre-programming your phone with the number of the Pet Poison Helpline — that would be 800-213-6680 — because, really, who can find a number when your pet is bleeding? Great idea.

I first became acquainted with Dr. Lee through her very funny but informative book, It’s a Dog’s Life…but It’s Your Carpet: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Your Four-Legged Friend. I didn’t read the feline sequel, It’s a Cat’s World . . . You Just Live in It: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Your Furry Feline, but I’m sure it’s funny and informative too.

When I heard that one of my favorite pet authors was being interviewed for Animal Cafe, I was very excited. I didn’t think the topic would lend itself to humor but I felt certain that Dr. Lee’s take on it would be straightforward and accessible. I was right.

So listen to the interview, below: Easter may be past, but there are still dangerous bulbs to be planted and fed by scary organic fertilizers.

And then on Wednesday, May 4, at 9PM EST, head over to the Chat Cafe and talk with Dr. Lee.

6 thoughts on “Pet Danger: Common Home & Garden Poisons”

  1. I’ll have to listen to this when I get home. It’s always good to be informed about potential pet hazards.

    We’ve had a big problem with fleas in our house lately and I’ve recently found out that some plants actually help repel them. I thought it may be worth a shot. Of course, it would be important to make sure these flea-repelling plants aren’t equally repelling to my pets.

    1. Listen to it while you’re doing something else that doesn’t require attention… cleaning, in my house, for example 😉

  2. You’re right that the cocoa mulch is overhyped, However a dog in our town, a hungry lab who eats anything, was made very sick by eating lots of the yummy tasting goodies, so it is not harmless.

    1. Dr. Lee goes into that topic in detail in that interview; she doesn’t say that it’s harmless, but that the one example that is often cited is unlikely and… well, listen to the interview. It convinced me that it’s not nearly as harmful, even in lab consumption quantities, as many people think.

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