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The Pet Doctor, Your Pet Health Matters on PetLifeRadio.comBernadine D. Cruz, DVM, host of The Pet Doctor

Bernadine D. Cruz, DVM
Veterinary Media Consultant

Pets Have a Real Taste for Danger

Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant

Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant

Like small children, pets explore their environment by touching, smelling and putting virtually everything in their mouths. We have all heard of baby proofing a house, but have you ever thought of pet proofing your home?

Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant, the Vice President of the ASPCA’s Poison Control Center located in Urbana, Ill. will give you pointers for ways in which you can safeguard your pet in the house, garage, and even in your yard.


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Announcer:  Is your pet stressed out?  Does your pet need annual vaccines?  Which pet is best for a child?  Would you know if your dog was in pain?

Pet Life Radio presents The Pet Doctor, where you will learn everything about keeping your pet healthy and happy from pet care, pet meds and grooming to pet foods, pet insurance and dental care.

This is the place to find out everything there is to know about pet wellness, whether you have a dog, cat, reptile or rabbit, you'll find answers to your pets straight from the vets because your pet's health matters.

Please welcome your pet doctor host, veterinary media consultant and veterinarian Dr. Bernadine Cruz.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz:  Pets can have a real taste for danger.  Like small children, pets explore their environment by touching, smelling and virtually putting everything in their mouths.

We've all heard of baby proofing a house but have you ever thought of pet proofing your home?  My name is Dr. Bernadine Cruz.  You're listening to and The Pet Doctor show.

My guest today is Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant and she is the Vice President of the ASPCA Poison Control Center, located in Urbana Illinois.  Today we are going to learn about ways to safeguard your pet in the house, garage and even in your yard.

We'll be right back after this short break.

Announcer: Please have a seat in the waiting room.  The doctor will be with you shortly right after these messages.


Announcer:  Let's talk pets on

Announcer: Welcome back to The Pet Doctor on PetLifeRadio with Dr. Bernadine Cruz.  The doctor is in and will see you now.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz:  Dr.Gwaltney-Brant thank you so much for being with us today.  I know that you sometimes have to man those hotlines there at the Poison Control Center.

Can you give us a little bit of background about who you are and how you got into this position at the ASPCA?

Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant:  Okay, well thank you for inviting me.  I started at the ASPCA as a veterinarian on the phone.  My background is I graduated from North Carolina State University with my DVM degree.  I practiced for three years in small animal practice and then I actually went into a pathology residency at Kansas State University.

From there I went into a postdoc at the National Animal Disease Center in Ames Iowa.  From there I got - there I was working on some toxicology issues, pathology and toxicology.  And at that point I spoke with folks down at the Poison Control Center and since I had used their services while I was in practice, I thought it would be an interesting place to go.

It was very interesting and they had just been separated from the University of Illinois and acquired by the ASPCA and the growth potential seemed incredible.  So I ended up there and am now on the Medical Director and Vice President of the organization.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz:  Now how long has this Poison Control Center been in existence?

Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant: The actual hotline has been in existence - actually next year will be our 30th year.  The first few years, the Poison Control Center started at the University of Illinois under Dr. Bill Buck.  And he basically started out with him and his graduate students just basically carrying beepers.  They would get a call from someone and they would get a beep on their pager and they would call them back.

And as word of their expertise and their knowledge spread, they became kind of a nationwide type thing.  Ultimately the University of Illinois could no longer afford the overhead of any 24-hour, seven-day a week facility for animal poison control calls.  They were in danger in 1995 of shutting down the Poison Control Center.

That's when the ASPCA stepped in and decided our Animal Poison Control Center worked well with the mission of the ASPCA and they acquired us.  We physically moved away from the University.  We are still an allied agency of the University and we have very close ties with the University but we are still in right now a department of the ASPCA.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Now are there other services like the ASPCA Poison Hotline in the United States or is this, as I believe it is, the only one of its kind in the United States?

Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant: There are a few other animal poison hotlines.  We are the only one though that is staffed 24 hours a day with veterinary toxicologists and veterinarians who, when you call in you can get a veterinarian on the phone right there.

The others have veterinarians as advisers but they may not be there, especially if it is like two in the morning.  We are the original Animal Poison Control Center in the United States.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Why would he not be advisable for - I'm like a cat owner and all of a sudden I notice that my cat has been chewing on a plant.  Why can't I just call my local poison control that I would call if it were my child that was eating something it shouldn't?

Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant: Well, the problem is that cats and dogs aren't little children and many human poison control centers are set up to handle human calls.  While they may be aware of what kinds of problems plants might have four children, they may not be aware of the unique sensitivity of cats or dogs to specific plants.

For instance we know that cats chewing on Easter lilies can have very serious problems, including kidney failure.  That does not occur in dogs.  It does not occur in people.  It is pretty much uniquely a cat thing.  A human poison control center might not be aware of that unique thing about a dog or a cat.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: That's a very good reason why not to call 911 or your local poison control.

Are there any hot zones in the house for instance, areas where pets just continuously - I'm sure you must get thousands of calls every year of what pets get into.  What are some of the common problems, most common problems?

Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant:  Our most common call that we get is regarding human medication.  The areas are most commonly either a bottle is left out or the cat tries to do in the dog by knocking a bottle off of the counter onto the floor.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz:  [laughs] They never liked that dog.

Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant:  Yeah, really.  Or animals gobble up a dropped pill.  Some owner is taking the pill themselves and they drop it on the floor and before they can reach down to pick it up the animal has swallowed it.

Depending on what the medication is, it certainly could have the potential to be something quite serious.  So medications are our number one call.

Other things in the house - there are certainly things like chocolate, which is a very common call that we get.  And we also, at this time of year especially, people are putting out mouse poisons and rat poisons because the mice and rats are coming in with the cold weather.  Pets can be very, very clever at getting these things out of places that most pet owners think is pretty much a safe spot.  “There in no way my dog could get under there and get it.”

Dr. Bernadine Cruz:  Behind the refrigerator, behind whatever - yes.

Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant:  Right.  They can be very, very clever at getting into those types of things.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Now why is it - I think this really surprises a lot of people - why is it that dogs and cats are so attracted to the bait?  What is put into the bait that makes it attractive to a dog or cat?

Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant:  Well we don't see much of a problem with cats with the bait because the bait is actually a grain base.  It's designed to attract rodents.  It's grain-based.  Cats are true carnivores.  They are not all that interested.  They may go over and nibble on a tiny piece of it and then they decide, “This isn't anything I want.”  Cats are much more discriminating.

Dogs on the other hand are more likely to go for it because many of our dogs are fed a grain-based dog food.  And most dogs, even those that are fed all meat in their diet are still not averse to going out and eating grains because dogs are more, have a little more of an omnivorous nature than cats do.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz:  They eat first and think later.

Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant:  Right.  When we have problems with cats and mouse poisons it's usually actually often due to the cat eating a mouse that has been poisoned by the mouse poison.  And these poisons are very potent and we can get what they call a relay toxicosis, meaning that the mouse died from the bait and there is enough of the residue of the bait in the mouse’s tissues.  And if the cat eats the mouse we could potentially see a problem.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: I know many households have dogs and cats.  I had a situation where a client came in who had applied a dog flea product to the cat and the cat started having toxic reactions.  I actually did call the ASPCA Hotline and they gave me some fantastic information on how to treat it.

Do you see that very often?

Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant:  Yeah.  That's a - people are trying to save a little bit of money.  They don't want to buy a box of the dog stuff and a box of the cat stuff.  And again, just like dogs and cats aren't little kids, cats are not little dogs.  And while there are some things we can use on dogs and cats or give to dogs and cats medicinally that are, you know not a problem between species, there certainly are things that cats are more sensitive to.

We talk about cats being particularly sensitive to a lot of things.  And insecticides happen to be one of the things to which cats have a unique sensitivity.  The same product that would cause no problems for a 10-pound dog could cause serious problems for a 10-pound cat.  So it's always advisable to read the label and make sure the product is labeled for the species you put it on because putting a dog product on a cat has the potential to cause some very serious problems.

Cats have died from that.  It's a very common scenario that we see during the summer months when people are using a lot of flea control product.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: You had mentioned in fact insect control.  I was in Southern California in an area that I think was built on just a huge anthill.  And ants are a constant problem.  And I want to kill the ants because there are certain things I hate in the world and ants are one.  But I have two indoor cats.  I am very concerned what I use around them for fear of them stepping on it, getting exposed to it.  What great ideas do you have for ant control for people that have the huge problem?

Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant:  Well I will say that the newer insecticides that have been used in the past 15 years have really become a lot safer than they used to be.  25 years ago they were using things like organophosphates, which were very toxic not only to the insects but also to mammals at appropriate doses and certainly the cats who were particularly sensitive to that.

Nowadays we are using pesticides that have even much milder toxicity to mammals or have very little toxicity against mammals because they have been developed against biochemical mechanisms that exist only in insects and don't really exist so much in us mammals or somehow they are sequestered in of mammals so that we are not really exposed to it.

So I would say stick with the modern ones.  Don't use Uncle Harry's 40-year-old pesticides that are sitting in his barn.  Buy something new.  And especially if you have cats, stick with a pyrethrin.  Now, again we know that cats are very sensitive to concentrated pyrethrins, which are in the spot on products.  And they will be 65 or 87% pyrethrin and cats can be sensitive to that.

But the flea sprays that we use on cats and dogs are 1% or less and the flea sprays and the ant/roach killers that you use around your house are usually less than 1%.  Sometimes they are as low as .05% and it’s very unlikely you're going to see any toxicosis from that.  So I would stick with the more recently developed products.  Read the label and follow the label exactly and you shouldn't have too much of a problem.

If you have ants outside and you're putting the granular bait out, remember that those granules are pieces of corncob or clay or something like that that are coated with the insecticide.  You're supposed to water those granules and that washes the insecticide into the soil.  That way, once that has dried, if your cat or dog should walk across it, they are not really going to be exposed to significant amounts of pesticides.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz:  Some great ideas.  We have been talking with Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.  She has been giving us some great information on how to safeguard your pets in the house.  We will be right back after this sponsor message.

Announcer: Please have a seat in the waiting room.  The doctor will be with you shortly right after these messages.


Announcer:  Let's talk pets on

Announcer: Welcome back to The Pet Doctor on PetLifeRadio with Dr. Bernadine Cruz.  The doctor is in and will see you now.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz:  Dr. Sharon, thank you so much.  You have given us some great ideas of things that I need to be concerned, like for my own cat with the insecticides and the ant problem.

Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant:  You’re welcome.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz:  I was very interested - a couple of years ago I had to do a television program segment about garden safety and those plants that could be toxic.  So the camera crew came over.  We went outside into my own backyard, and much to my surprise I was going,  “That plant is toxic.  That plant’s toxic.”

Oftentimes we don't think about, when we are putting plants in the ground or we have houseplants that these can be sources of problems for our pets.  What are some of the common landscaping plants that we should try to avoid?

Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant:  Well if you have pets, and especially if you have pets that like to chew plants, and definitely again this may be different.  There are some species differences.  But let's say you have cats.

We talked about lilies being dangerous for cats.  That includes daylilies too.  So you might not want to be planting daylilies outside if you have a cat that goes outside and likes to chew on plants.  For both the species plants like lily of the valley and foxglove can be very dangerous.

Indoor plants can be a problem.  There is a plant called kalanchoe that is becoming very, very popular as an indoor plant and it can be very, very dangerous if dogs or cats were to chew on it.  Oleander - that's an outdoor plant very common say in the California area.  They really love it out there and it contains products in it that can cause serious heart abnormalities.  And for some reason dogs and cats tend to like to nibble on the leaves.
And a little bit can cause just a mild upset but if they ingest a significant amount then we can have some pretty serious heart problems.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: So what would be some of the common signs?  Is it going to be a GI upset - vomiting, diarrhea, or does it really depend on which plants the pet ingested?

Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant:  It depends on the plant the animal ingested.  One thing we have to remember is that even plants that are “safe” like grass and you know other plants considered non-toxic, if a dog or cat should eat them it can cause some mild vomiting.  Oftentimes dogs and cats will have upset stomachs and in order to make themselves throw up they will actually chew on plant material and if they can't go outside and get the grass that might be when they go over and start chewing on the houseplants that they have ignored for years.

There are other plants out there.  People in the South who have big cycad palms - they are gorgeous plants but if your dog gets into those and eats the little berries or chews on the bark or digs up the roots and eats those, it can cause severe liver problems.

I'm trying to go through the list here.  Bulb plants like tulips, daffodils can cause anything from mild digestive upset to very, very severe vomiting, diarrhea and including some neurological signs.  And then the bottom blooming crocus can cause life-threatening problems.  It can cause very, very profuse - it's what we call radiomimetic.  It actually acts as if you have been irradiated.  It kills the rapidly dividing cells of the body so we see severe vomiting, diarrhea, bone marrow suppression and that kind of thing.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: So how can somebody know that what plants I have outside or if I want to buy a plant, when you look at you know, the little sticker that comes with the plant that says, oh this is the kind of watering it needs and the kind of sun that it needs.  How can a person know what is safe to put in the yard or if what you have out there is safe to have around pets?

Is there some type of source you can go to?

Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant: Sure.  What I would recommend is that they make a list of the plants that they want.  Then there are a lot of websites on the Internet that are sponsored by universities or organizations that will list you toxic and non-toxic plants.

As a matter of fact, our website, the Animal Poison Control website does indeed have a list of not only toxic plants, but we have a list of plants that are considered non-toxic, that would be safe to plant around pets and if they were ingested they might cause a mild tummy upset.  But they're not going to cause a problem.

People can get that on a link off of our main website at

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Great information.  And one thing, just kind of as an aside, I have two cats and I have a black thumb instead of a green thumb.  So I only have silk plants in the house and I was thinking this is going to be safe.  I have silk plants.  It's not going to be a problem.

And then, some of them are kind of long and are kind of stringy. 

Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant:  Right.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz:  All of a sudden I realized, “Oh look, my cat has been chewing it and now he has thrown it up.”  So yes, even silk plants, artificial plants can still be problematic for cats and dogs.

Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant:  Right.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: As we are getting into the holiday season a lot of people will want to put out candles, put out potpourri.  Are there certain seasonal precautions they should take for things that could be toxic for their pets?

Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant: Well certainly we are coming up on Halloween and Thanksgiving and on the December holidays.  The big one for us is of course chocolate.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Why is chocolate a problem?

Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant: Well, chocolate contains two ingredients, caffeine and theobromine that dogs are very sensitive to.  I'm sure cats would be too but cats are usually smarter not to eat enough to be a problem.

But you know dogs will get into the chocolate.  And it's like you know no one can eat just one.  They'll eat an entire box of chocolates so we will have a 50-pound dog that will eat a whole 5-pound box of chocolates and we will see serious problems.

Dogs are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine and theobromine, both of which cause stimulation to the nervous system and the heart.  If you can think about it it's like someone taking a massive overdose of caffeine.  The heart goes into abnormal rhythms.  We can also actually see tremors and seizures.

Other things around the holiday time that we see a lot of, as you said potpourri.  Most potpourris, the solid potpourris are not going to pose a toxicity hazard very much.  But certainly if a dog or a cat ate a lot of them, especially the ones made out of the plant material, they could end up with foreign body problems.  Plus we also want to know where the plants came from.  What kinds of plants are in that potpourri?  Are there toxic plants in there because even though they are dried they still may retain their toxicity?

And liquid potpourri is a problem especially for cats.  What we will have is the cat will walk across the counter, spill the liquid potpourri, walk through it, groom it off itself and the potpourri can cause very severe ulcers and swelling of the tongue and damage to the digestive tract.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz:  Speaking of spilling things and walking, especially cats walking through and grooming themselves, pine cleaners - a lot of people don't realize that pine scented cleaners can cause problems especially for cats.  Why so?

Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant: Yeah.  Pine cleaners contain pine oil and pine oil has a lot of phenol in it.  And phenol is a product that cats cannot break down in their body very well.  And it ultimately can cause very severe liver problems.

Now the good news is the newer pine products tend to have a much smaller concentration of pine oil than when I was a kid where they could be up to 25% pine oil, at which point they were very, very potent.  So depending on the product, the pine oil product might not be anything more than a mild digestive upset or other more concentrated professional strength products might be concentrated enough to cause more severe problems such as liver problems we talked about.

Remember the dose makes the poison.  Just because it has pine oil in it, if it is really dilute pine oil it's not going to be as much of a problem as it is very concentrated.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz:  Dr. Sharon, as we are going into the colder months and we are putting antifreeze into the cars and sometimes it spills over or you just have a puddle of it around, why is anti-freeze a problem for pets?  Why do we need to be so careful?

Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant:  Well there are two primary forms of antifreeze out on the market now for cars, car radiators.  The first is the most - is the old-fashioned and the most common one and it is composed of ethylene glycol.  Ethylene glycol is a product that can cause serious kidney problems in dogs and cats if they ingest it.  It does not take very much at all.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Why would they ingest it?

Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant:  Well it is supposed to have a sweet flavor, which might attract dogs.  My gut feeling with cats is it is probably one of these; they walked through a puddle of it and groomed it off themselves.  That doesn't sound like they get much exposure but cats are so exquisitely sensitive to ethylene glycol it does not take much at all.  Less than one quarter of a teaspoon can kill a cat.

You can conceive of a cat walking through a puddle and getting more than a quarter of a teaspoon on his coat, especially a long-haired cat and grooming it off itself.  But dogs may be attracted to the sweeter taste of the antifreeze.

There is a second type of antifreeze that has come on the market and they call it a safer antifreeze, which it is.  It's composed of propylene glycol.  Propylene glycol, unlike the ethylene glycol will not cause the serious kidney damage that we see.  And so if pets are an issue, it might not be a bad idea to switch over to those brands of antifreeze that contain propylene glycol.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: So the propylene glycol is safe if a kitty walks through it and grooms its paws?

Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant:  Yeah.  What we see is both ethylene glycol and propylene glycol act like alcohols in the body.  So if you drink enough of it you can get drunk.  You can get a buzz; it will leave you a little drunk and so can dogs and cats. 

It's not the drunkenness though that kills them.  It's primarily the breakdown products of the ethylene glycol that cause the kidney damage.  We do not get that breakdown of propylene glycol.  We don't see the kidney damage.  But it would take even a pretty hefty dose of propylene glycol to actually even give the kitty or the doggy a little buzz.  So yes, it is much safer.

But again, if you have got a dog that got into the propylene glycol and chugalugged a lot of it, we could see a drunk doggy.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: Speaking of getting buzzes, I had a client that called the other day who was on vacation in San Francisco.  They very sheepishly called and wanted to know if it was a problem that the dog got into some special cookies and what is going to be problematic.  I was like, “Yes.  Go see an emergency veterinarian now.”

So getting into things like marijuana, getting into things like alcohol - I know people think it's kind of fun, an aw, let's get the dog drunk.  Why is that a problem again?

Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant:  Well again, people don't stop and realize that dogs’ and cats’ body sizes are so much different than ours.  In addition, dogs and cats tend to be much more sensitive to these products.  So little bit of alcohol that might not even give you or me a buzz can cause serious drunkenness and cause even a coma in a dog or cat.

They are very, very sensitive to alcohol.  As a matter of fact if an alcohol-based flea spray applied too heavily on a cat, the cat can absorb that through its skin to the degree that it can actually have an alcohol toxicosis just from being oversaturated with an alcohol-based flea spray.  That's how sensitive dogs and cats to these things.

Same deal with marijuana.  The nice thing about marijuana is that if an animal gets the marijuana and gets prompt veterinary treatment, the prognosis is usually excellent.  Most animals make full recoveries.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz:  Veterinarians really don't care what your pet has gotten into.  They are not going to report you.

Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant:  Right.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz:  So if your kitty or your dog gets into your stash, buck up.  Go in.  You may be upset that they ate your stash but your veterinarian is not going to cause you any legal problems.  We just want to take care of your pet.

Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant:  Right.  The more potent illicit drugs such as cocaine or amphetamines are extremely dangerous again because of the high sensitivity of these species to them.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz:  A lot of people don't realize and with the holidays coming in particular, many times we're doing much more cooking.  And especially after we have had the recall of pet food earlier in the year, many people are trying to make food for their pets or their pets should happen to get into the tray of food.  What foods are out there that pets should not get?

Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant:  The types of foods that we don't want pets to get - dogs and cats, first and foremost, which might surprise a lot of people are grapes and raisins.  I know there are a lot of people out there saying, “I feed my dog grapes all the time.”

We understand that but we also understand that there are situations where dogs and cats had eaten grapes or raisins and have ended up with fatal kidney failure.  And because we can't tell you is this exposure going to be one that causes serious problems, we just generally recommend that grapes and raisins be kept away from pets.

Another food - we have already talked about chocolate, but another food is, well it's not a food but a beverage but coffee.  Coffee contains a lot of caffeine and we just talked about how sensitive dogs and cats are to caffeine.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz: How about garlic?  I know people want to use garlic for flea control, which doesn't work.  But why is garlic a problem?

Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant:  Well onions and garlic contain a compound that in the digestive tract of dogs and cats is converted into another compound that actually can damage the red blood cells and causes very severe anemia.  While, you know if you give your dog a tablespoonful of beef stew and there is one little sliver of onion in there, that's not really going to be enough to be a problem.

Large amounts of onion and garlic can certainly be a problem.  And any dose, any amount of onion and garlic is going to produce that compound and cause some damage to the red blood cells.  It's just that you have to eat enough of it to damage enough red blood cells before you see a problem.

If you are chronically giving your cat say a product that has onion powder in it, even though the onion powder is a very small amount, over time your cat can develop anemia from it.  So it's best not to give it.  And as you say, it really doesn't work for the fleas anyway.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz:  How about raw yeast dough?  I thought of dogs getting into it, you know, you're making this bread for the holidays and then poof, it's gone and your dog ate it.

Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant:  We have two issues with that.  First, the stomach makes a beautiful vat for that yeast to thrive.  You know how you put the bread out to rise?  Well that bread rises in the stomach and it can distend the stomach to the point where we can have some compromise to the respiratory tract because the stomach is so big that they are having trouble breathing.

And also it can cause some damage to the walls of the stomach due to the blanching out of the blood due to the pressure.  But more importantly, as that yeast is replicating, they are actually producing alcohol.  And what we end up with, with yeast dough ingestion are dogs with severe alcohol toxicosis.

And again, I blame it on dogs because it is the most common call we get.  But what we have is a drunken dog with a distended abdomen that's having difficulty breathing and that's never a fun thing to deal with.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz:  Definitely not, especially at the holiday season or at any time.

Well, we have been talking with Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant, Vice President of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center in Urbana Illinois.

Dr. Brant, is there someplace where people, if they need some more information again where can they go?  If they have concerns about a poisoning or - where can they go?

Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant:  Well they can go to our website.  We have a nice website.  It has pages on it on how to poison proof your home.  We have a little game you can play on there.  It has got the little dog Cooper and you can go through the house and you can identify the toxic things and clean them up and clean up your home.  It's a little interactive game.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz:  Great idea for kids to do it.

Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant:  Yeah.  It would be fun for the kids to do and it would be very educational.

We also have in there a list on our website.  We have a poisonous plant list and also a non-poisonous plant list to give you an idea of the types of plants you can use in your house.

We also have an Ask ASPCA area where if you have a specific toxicology question, you can e-mail that into us.  We will answer it.  But you might want to look through the archives first because many, many questions have been submitted and there are tons of answers.  You can search the archives and see if your question already has been answered there.

So our website has a wealth of information on animal poisonings.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz:  And the web address again?

Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant:  It's and then on the left you take the link to the Animal Poison Control Center.

Dr. Bernadine Cruz:  I think people have a question about poisoning.  They saw their pet swallow something.  Call your emergency clinic.  Call the ASPCA.  There is a fee associated with it.  But as you said it is manned 24/7 by board-certified veterinary toxicologists that know animals and know the toxic principles of all this.

I really appreciate you being with us today.  Hopefully we have saved many an animal from getting into trouble.  If you have any questions regarding your pet's health, remember the best person to ask is always going to be your primary care veterinarian.

If you want to e-mail me, if you have some questions, please feel free to do so at  I promise to answer your questions either during a future telecast or by personal e-mail.  My name is Dr. Bernadine Cruz.  And you have been listening to and The Pet Doctor.

The goal of this program is to entertain, educate and increase the pleasures you and your pet share in life.  And why is this important to me?  Because it's your pet health matters.  Thanks for listening.

Announcer:  Pets can be a wonderful addition to your life.  Because they are a member of the family, keeping them healthy and happy is important.  Pet Life Radio presents The Pet Doctor with veterinary media consultant and veterinarian Dr. Bernadine Cruz.

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