What is Potpourri Exposure?
Potpourri is meant to freshen and enhance our atmosphere, but it should be kept well out of reach of our canine companions. Potpourri and the essential oils blends that produce the fragrance may be toxic. Some of the essential oils commonly used in potpourri formulas are toxic not just if ingested, but can also be toxic when absorbed through the skin. If your pet has sampled your potpourri or has gotten into your potpourri scented oil, contact your veterinarian right away.
Potpourri is a popular way to freshen and enhance our atmosphere, particularly around the winter holidays, but it presents some dangers to our pets.
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Symptoms of Potpourri Exposure in Dogs
- Abdominal pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Fragrance on coat or on breath
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of coordination
- Muscle tremors
- Pawing at mouth and face
- Redness and burning on lips, gums, tongue, or skin
- Dry potpourri - Although the concentration of essential oils is diluted somewhat in dry mixtures, they come with their own unique hazards; hard pinecones and large pieces of bark may become hazards to your pet, and not all of the botanical ingredients in potpourris are pet safe
- Liquid potpourri - Liquid potpourri is often made with essential oils such as tea tree oil, citrus scents, and pine which can be toxic both when ingested or when absorbed through the skin
- Sachet bag- Sachet bags are an often overlooked risk, but they also contain potpourri, although is smaller form; they may also contain essential oils and various chemical perfumes
Causes of Potpourri Exposure in Dogs
- Toxic fragrances and oils - The fragrances in potpourri can be made up of either essential oils or chemical fragrances or both; several commonly used essential oils, such as citrus scents, clove, and pine, can be toxic to canines and chemicals used in the manufacture of potpourri can include detergents that can cause serious illness if ingested
- Pinecones and hard barks - Pinecones and large chunks of bark not only present choking hazards but can also break off and lodge up into the roof of the mouth; when these are successfully swallowed, they can sometimes lead to blockages in the intestine
- Toxic plants - Not all of the plants used in potpourri blends are pet safe
Diagnosis of Potpourri Exposure in Dogs
If you suspect your dog has ingested any amount of potpourri it is imperative to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Depending on the amount consumed, the type of potpourri, and the severity of the symptoms your veterinarian may give you some instructions over the phone, such as instructions on how to safely induce vomiting, but more often than not will need to see your dog to perform a physical examination. Do not induce vomiting without the say so of a veterinary professional as large chunks of wood or pinecone could cause damage coming back up and some essential oils and chemicals may be caustic when regurgitated.
If you have any amount of the potpourri that has not been consumed, bring it and the packaging with you to the veterinarian’s office. Urine, stools, and vomitus will probably be tested in an effort to expose any underlying diseases or any applicable toxins. Further analysis will depend on the results of these tests and the signs that are presenting. If there are indications of a blockage x-ray or ultrasound imaging may be required to locate the obstructions within the patient’s gastrointestinal system, and signs of toxins may result in further testing to determine the health of the liver and kidneys.
Treatment of Potpourri Exposure in Dogs
Treatment will be dependent on what symptoms are showing and how long it has been since consumption. If consumed recently enough, your veterinarian may opt to encourage your dog to vomit to avoid future blockages or absorption of any toxins, but due to the physical size of some types of potpourri and the corrosive nature of some of the essential oils and chemicals used in making potpourri this may not be feasible and gastric lavage may be required. If only small quantities were consumed or if the indicators of poisoning are not severe your dog’s doctor may be able to give you a home treatment plan over the phone.
These instructions may include adding an over the counter bulk-producing laxative to daily meals for several days. Several low-protein, high-fiber, low-fat meals per day are often suggested to speed healing with any sort of insult to the gastrointestinal system and may be suggested in this case as well. Supportive treatment will be given for any symptoms of crisis, which could include IV fluids for dehydration as well as prescription medications to alleviate specific symptoms. These medications may be given either by an intramuscular injection or intravenously, and could include any combination of anti-nausea drugs, laxatives, or pain management treatments.
Recovery of Potpourri Exposure in Dogs
Keeping the recovering patient in a calm, quiet environment during convalescence will help to encourage a full recovery, as will making sure that your pet completes the full measure of any recommended or prescribed medications. Medical support such as laxatives, antacids, and stomach protectants may be prescribed to oppose the symptoms, and your pet is likely to need more trips to relieve himself than he normally would. Your canine companion might require a follow-up appointment if any new symptoms are raised, even if a visit to the veterinarian was not initially needed. This is to ensure that there are no remaining issues that may not have obvious outward signs.
Potpourri Exposure Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
A friend of mine's dog ate some potpourri on Tuesday. He's been at an emergency vet ever since. They're really not giving her any answers as to if he's out of the woods. They said they wanted to keep him on fluids, and to monitor is intestines. They said that the potpourri chemically burned, and they are some cases where it's untreatable and the damage irreparable.
What questions should my friend as the ER vet? It's been two days, with little information on their little guy.
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Hey my dog ate some dried but potpourri that we got from a friend, it was pretty old and we don’t know what brand it was or what isn’t in it, what should we do? ( he threw up about 12 times in the past two days)
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