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The Case of the Perilous Purse

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purse open with contents spilling out

Ladies, have you ever set down your purse without closing it completely and caught your dog checking it to see what’s inside?  Believe it or not, there are items we often carry in our purses that can be deadly to dogs.  Here are some of the items to keep out of your dog’s reach:

Hand sanitizer.  Many of us carry small containers of it in our purse, but if ingested by dogs, it can lead to alcohol poisoning.  Signs to watch for are gastrointestinal upset or drunken type movements.  If your dog has ingested sanitizer, call your vet immediately for advice.  If the amount ingested is small, feeding bland foods for a few days may correct the problem, but check with your vet or the ASPCA Pet Poison Hotline to be safe.

Asthma inhaler.  I had a golden retriever client that actually did ingest medicine from an inhaler, and she came very close to perishing.  The albuterol in the inhaler speeds up dog’s heart rate and causes electrolytes to change.  In this instance, it’s best to get your dog to the vet as soon as possible for treatment.

Sugar-free chewing gum.  Many sugar-free products contain xylitol, which is extremely dangerous for dogs.  If ingested, xylitol triggers a high level of insulin to be released, leading to a rapid drop in blood sugar.  The sudden drop in blood sugar leads to the dog going into shock and may result in liver failure.

If your dog has ingested any of the items above, contact the ASPCA Pet Poison Hotline at 888-426-4435.  The hotline is available 24 hours a day.  There is a $65 charge associated with consultations via the hotline and can be paid via credit card.

It’s easy to get in a hurry and leave your purse within your dog’s reach, but taking a moment to secure it can be a life saver for them.


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