Poison Prevention

The third week in March (funny timing, this, considering all the people getting bombed today for St. Patty’s) is Poison Prevention Week. This is for humans, and animals alike.

Since my dogs always find a way to be topical (today is Dublin’s adoption day after all), little three-month-old Mercury decided to remind me last week about the upcoming Poison Prevention week by sticking his nose in the mop bucket and getting Pine Sol smell on his muzzle.

The second he came up and gave me a wet kiss on the face I was momentarily transported to a high mountain meadow on a crisp spring morning, a meadow that had been polluted by toxic nasty smelling waste. I am not fond of strong smells, especially artificial fragrances. Pine Sol is among the worst of them.

So I immediately freaked out, ran Merc into the bathroom and washed off his muzzle, then stuck my nose deep down his throat and tried to smell if he had ingested any of it. Signs were good, but I called my local 24/7 Vet clinic anyway, since it was 11:30 PM, and they gave me the number for the ASPCA’s Poison Control Center.

ASPCA Poison Control Center for Dogs, Cats, and All Pets: 888-426-4435

I googled Pine Sol while the recording on the ASPCA site rambled on (explaining the $70 consultation fee), and found that the stuff can actually be quite toxic to pets, especially cats. Ugh. I know that dogs and cats have kidneys that are the weak organ like hearts are in humans, and that even a taste of certain chemicals (like anti-freeze) can create kidney ruining crystals in mere minutes, dooming the pet to death.

So when the nice Doctor finally picked up and asked exactly what happened, clicked on her computer for a second to access the list of ingredients in my Pine Sol and breathed a sigh of relief, the $70 for 3 minutes was worth it. It turns out that the foul smelling toxic waste evoking fake pine smell that Pine Sol uses in the product Merc had stuck his nose in was mostly harmless. Sure the surfactants in any cleaner will wipe the mucus off the lining of the stomach and intestines (a little milk, ice cream, and yogurt took care of that) and the good Doc didn’t suggest that we make this a daily supplement, but Merc wasn’t likely to go into kidney or any other organ failure.

Whew. Turns out that natural pine oil is what is so deadly. The fake stuff not so much. So the next time you wax poetic on how natural foods are so much more wonderful and organics are just peachy, remember that no one ever got salmonella from chemical fertilizers, it was the organic infected poop that got them, and sometimes, just sometimes, we can have great living through chemistry.

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About Christopher

Christopher Landauer is a fifth generation Colorado native and second generation Border Collie enthusiast. Border Collies have been the Landauer family dogs since the 1960s and Christopher got his first one as a toddler. He began his own modest breeding program with the purchase of Dublin and Celeste in 2006 and currently shares his home with their children Mercury and Gemma as well. His interest in genetics began in AP Chemistry and AP Biology and was honed at Stanford University.