Friday, January 23, 2009

Hydrogen Peroxide. Friend or Foe? Animal Poison Control.

Hydrogen Peroxide. Such an ominous sounding name, isn't it? Heck, does it explode and create a mushroom cloud? Does it eat your flesh to the bone? Well, in tsunamic proportions, I don't know. Maybe it could. But I do know that in proportionate amounts it can save your poisoned pet from dying.

At the end of 2008, the ASPCA put out a bulletin entitled, What Poisoned our Pets in 2008?. Poison? Now, there's a word that can send chills down your spine. In the ASPCA's Top 10, you will find the usual suspects---lawn fertilizers, household cleaning agents, certain fruits and plants, and also mundane items such as batteries. For our pets, our human environment can be very treacherous.

But, what about hydrogen peroxide (HP)? Well, I actually recall that name with fondness. I recall my mom lovingly wiping my wounds, usually infected wounds, with a cotton ball soaked in HP. Oh, when it fizzed, it was just heaven. It felt like a lot of good was happening, fungi/bacteria/viruses getting killed, healing taking place. You see, when I was a kid, I climbed over 5-foot walls, climbed unto neighbors' roofs, fetched fruits from the trees, played marbles on the bare ground, fell off my bike quite often, jumped into rocky rivers, and sat wherever I pleased. With short pants on, my legs were always bruised and wounded. Such was my childhood in a developing(?) country in Asia.

According to the ASPCA, as good pet owners, we should always have 3% HP as part of our first aid kit. Why? Because, in amounts proportionate to your pet's weight, HP can induce vomiting. Out with the poison, in other words. And if you are going to keep a supply of HP handy, you will also need something to administer it, like a plastic syringe or dropper. Before anything else, it is best to seek the opinion of experts like your vet. Call your vet right away or call the ASPCA poison control center at (888) 426-4435. A $60 consultation fee may be applied to your credit card. With an expert on the phone, you'll have a better chance dealing with a poisoned pet.

The question remains, how much HP should you administer? According to, it is going to be about a teaspoon per 10 pounds of weight. A teaspoon is 5ml. So, for my 8-lb chihuahua, that would be like half a teaspoon. I must stress though that not all ingested items will come out as easily as they went in. The HP way is just one of the ways you could solve the problem. So, it is very important to get in contact with your vet or a poison control center as soon as possible.

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