What is Firestarter Logs Poisoning?
Manufactured firelogs come in many shapes and sizes. They are designed to be both easier to ignite and longer lasting than firewood and can come in handy in a number of situations. They are not meant to be chewed on or eaten. Because of the way they are compacted it is quite common for the ingested portions of the firelog to become impacted and cause blockages and damage to the gastrointestinal system. Some of the adhesives used are also toxic and additives such as metals, nutshells, and fruit pits may be crushed into the log.
Manufactured firelogs are not meant to be ingested and can cause health problems ranging from mild to severe if chewed on or eaten by our pets. Toxicity to the wood and additives, as well as risk of obstruction are just two of the dangers presented to dogs.
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Symptoms of Firestarter Logs Poisoning in Dogs
Firestarter logs can cause problems in multiple ways, leading to a variety of symptoms. If your pet has eaten any part of a firestarter log and is exhibiting any of the following symptoms an immediate call to the veterinarian should be made, and depending on the severity of symptoms and the amount ingested, an emergency visit may also be required.
- Abdominal pain
- Blood in stool or vomit
- Inability to defecate
- Loss of appetite
There are fire starter type logs on the market that are made differently than the traditional “Duraflame” type fire starter log. These fire logs have some unique properties.
Pressed wood without glue
- These logs are made of sawdust
- They are compressed strictly by pressure, with no adhesives or glues
- Made of newspaper, cardboard or other paper types
- There are numerous do-it-yourself tutorials online as well as places to purchase these commercially
- The adhesives and additives used can be quite variable in this type of fire starting log, although types of wax are common.
- This type of log is an interesting alternative, but your pet should definitely not chew on or ingest this
- Coffee beans pressed this way has the same capability to cause blockage, as well as the added danger of caffeine poisoning if it is ingested
Causes of Firestarter Logs Poisoning in Dogs
- None of these products is designed to be digested and will cause gastrointestinal blockages when eaten in large enough amounts
- The amount that will cause a problem varies based on the size of the animal, the composition of the log and the amount of time since ingestion
- Although the most common sawdust type used in these logs is pine, other woods are quite often added in
- There are several types of woods that can be quite toxic to canines
- Manufactured fire logs often have additives that can cause problems for our canines
- Metals can be added which can lead to metal toxicity, and the amount of petroleum or wax can cause gastrointestinal discomfort either with or without blockages present
- Shells of nuts and fruit pits are sometimes used in firelogs as well
- These do not cause a problem when burned, but fruit pits can be toxic and the shells are likely to be untested for molds that may be dangerous to your pet
Diagnosis of Firestarter Logs Poisoning in Dogs
If you suspect your dog has ingested all or part of a fire log it is imperative to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Depending on the amount ingested, the type of log, and the severity of the symptoms your veterinarian may be able to give you instructions over the phone, but more often than not will need to see your dog to perform a physical examination. If you have any portion of the fire log that has not been ingested bring that with you to the veterinarian’s office as well as any packaging. Urine, stools, and vomitus will probably be tested as well in order to expose underlying diseases and toxins such as tremorgenic mycotoxins from molds or toxicity from metals or woods in the log. Further testing will depend on the results of the testing and the signs that are presenting. If there are signs of blockages x-ray or ultrasound imaging may be required to locate the obstructions within the patient’s gastrointestinal system.
Treatment of Firestarter Logs Poisoning in Dogs
Treatment will depend on how the manufactured fire log has affected your pet and how long it has been since ingestion. If ingested recently enough, your veterinarian may opt to encourage your dog to vomit to avoid future blockages or absorption of any toxins. If there was only a small amount ingested or if the symptoms are not severe your veterinarian may be able to give you home treatment instructions over the phone. These are likely to include an over the counter bulk-producing laxative to be included with meals for a few days. Several low-protein, low-fat, high-fiber meals per day are often suggested to speed healing with any sort of gastrointestinal injury and may be recommended in this case as well.
Supportive treatment will be given for any crisis symptoms. This could include IV fluids for dehydration and medications may be prescribed to alleviate specific symptoms. These medications may be given either by an intramuscular injection or intravenously and could include any combination of laxatives, anti-nausea, or pain management treatments.
Recovery of Firestarter Logs Poisoning in Dogs
Keeping the recuperating patient in a calm and quiet environment and making sure that he or she completes the full measure of any recommended or prescribed medications will help encourage recovery. Medications such as laxatives, stomach protectants, and antacids may be prescribed to combat the symptoms, and your dog is likely to need more frequent trips to relieve themselves than they normally would. Your canine companion will likely need a follow-up appointment if any symptoms presented even if a visit to the vet was not initially required. This is to ensure that there are no remaining issues that may not have obvious outward signs.
Firestarter Logs Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
My 75# golden retriever apparently ingested about a half of a duraflame firestarter log about six hours ago. He is showing no signs of ill effects. He ate his dinner and was playing with the other dogs. What should I watch for?
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