ASPCA Supports Ban of Compound 1080 and Sodium CyanideAwesome news! Last week, as we marked the 50th anniversary of National Poison Prevention Week (March 18-24), the ASPCA also congratulated Representatives John Campbell (R-California) and Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) for introducing H.R. 4214—legislation that will protect pets and wildlife from Compound 1080 and sodium cyanide.
Already banned in several states, these deadly chemicals are still used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services agency to kill wildlife considered nuisances by ranchers and landowners. However, unattended traps often expose serious risks to pets and humans.
- Compound 1080 is an extremely lethal poison with no antidote. After its misuse led to many human deaths in the 1950s and 1960s, the Environmental Protection Agency banned it. Unfortunately, after intensive lobbying from the livestock industry, the poison was re-approved in the 1980s for use in "Livestock Protection Collars," devices worn by sheep and other livestock that release the poison when punctured by wild predators.
- M-44 devices are traps that release a deadly dose of sodium cyanide when an animal makes contact with the device. Often left unmarked, these devices endanger roaming pets. Just last year in Texas, a pet dog named Bella was killed by an M-44 device containing sodium cyanide set by Wildlife Services less than a mile from her family’s home.
If your dog or cat accidentally ingests a potentially toxic substance, please contact your local veterinarian or the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
ASPCA Guide to Pet-Safe Gardening
"Keeping animals safe from accidental poisonings should not end once you've stepped outside," says Dana Farbman, APCC pet poison prevention expert. "Protecting your pet from potential hazards in your yard is just as critical."
While gardens and yards are lovely for relaxing, they can also prove dangerous for our animal companions.
Our experts recommend you watch out for the following:
Poisonous Plants When designing and planting your green space, it's a good idea to keep in mind that many popular outdoor plants—including sago palm, rhododendron and azalea—are toxic to cats and dogs. Sago palm and other members of the Cycad family as well as mushrooms can cause liver failure, while rhododendron, azalea, lily of the valley, oleander, rosebay, foxglove and kalanchoe all affect the heart. Please visit our full list—and pics!—of toxic and non-toxic plants for your garden.
Just like you, plants need food. But pet parents, take care—the fertilizer that keeps our plants healthy and green can wreak havoc on the digestive tracts of our furry friends. Ingesting large amounts of fertilizer can give your pet a good case of stomach upset and may result in life-threatening gastrointestinal obstruction. Be sure to follow instructions carefully and observe the appropriate waiting period before letting your pet run wild outside.
Cocoa Mulch Many gardeners use cocoa bean shells—a by-product of chocolate production—in landscaping. Popular for its attractive odor and color, cocoa mulch also attracts dogs with its sweet smell, and like chocolate, it can pose problems for our canine companions. Depending on the amount involved, ingestion of cocoa mulch can cause a range of clinical signs, from vomiting, diarrhea and muscle tremors to elevated heart rate, hyperactivity and even seizures. Consider using a less-toxic alternative, such as shredded pine, cedar or hemlock bark, but always supervise curious canines in yards where mulch is spread.
Insecticides Like fertilizer, herbicides, insecticide baits, sprays and granules are often necessary to keep our gardens healthy, but their ingredients aren't meant for four-legged consumption. The most dangerous forms of pesticides include snail bait with metaldehyde, fly bait with methomyl, systemic insecticides with the ingredients disyston or disulfoton, mole or gopher bait with zinc phosphide and most forms of rat poisons. Always store pesticides in inaccessible areas—and read the manufacturer's label carefully for proper usage and storage.
You're doing the right thing for your garden and Mother Earth—you're composting! Food and garden waste make excellent additions to garden soil, but depending on what you're tossing in the compost bin, they can also pose problems for our pets. Coffee, moldy food and certain types of fruit and vegetables are toxic to dogs and cats, so read up on people foods to avoid feeding your pet.
Fleas and Ticks Since fleas and ticks lurk in tall brush and grasses, it's important to keep those lawns mowed and trim. Fleas can cause excessive scratching, hair loss, scabs, hot spots and tapeworms as well as anemia from blood loss in both cats and dogs. Ticks can cause similar effects and lead to a variety of complications from tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Babesia.
Garden Tools Unattended garden tools may seem like no big deal, but rakes, tillers, hoes and trowels can be hazardous to pets and cause trauma to paws, noses or other parts of a curious pet's body. Rusty, sharp tools caked in dirt may also pose a risk for tetanus if they puncture skin. While cats don't appear to be as susceptible as dogs to tetanus, care should be taken by storing all unused tools in a safe area, not haphazardly strewn on the ground.
Ah-choo! Like their sneezy human counterparts, pets have allergies to foods, dust and even plants. Allergic reactions in dogs and cats can even cause life-threatening anaphylactic shock if the reaction is severe. If you do suspect your pet has an allergy, please don't give him any medication that isn't prescribed by a veterinarian. It's also smart to keep your pet out of other people's yards, especially if you're unsure of what kinds of plants or flowers lurk there. Keeping your pet off the lawn of others will make for healthy pets and happy neighbors.
Ten ways you can make a difference for animals in your community.
Make a Difference at Your Local Shelter
You don't have to be an animal expert to help out at your community's shelter.
Top Ways to Support the ASPCA
Looking for ways to help the ASPCA and our furry friends? Here are some great ideas!
Become an ASPCA Ambassador
Become an ASPCA Ambassador and be a lifesaver for animals in need.
The easiest way to help animals is by making a mobile donation—simply text ASPCA to 25383 to donate $5 to ASPCA rescue efforts.