We read about cases of accidental dog poisoning all too often; fatal accidents that could have been avoided if only a little more care and attention had been taken.
We can't turn back the clock, so as responsible pet owners, we need to be vigilant to prevent our Cockers from coming into contact with poisonous chemicals and foodstuffs.
The problem is, Spaniels are naturally curious about their surroundings and are forever exploring, and sniffing out new smells and tastes.
Unfortunately, accidental poisoning happens all too often!
There are many unsuspecting places, both indoors and out, where poisons may lurk.
In the countryside, for example, your pet may find a dead animal, decomposing fragrantly, or he may unwittingly nibble on poisonous plants and berries, or poisonous mushrooms.
Even closer to home there are many substances that can harm our pets, for example, ordinary household products such as cleaning sprays, insecticides, pesticides, fertilizers, antifreeze, and highly toxic rat and rodent poisons.
Some poisons are more toxic than others; the less toxic resulting in nothing more than a mild irritation and/or sickness and diarrhoea, but the more toxic, can cause seizures, heart or kidney failure, coma, or even death.
Toxins can be inhaled, ingested by swallowing or licking, and can be absorbed by the skin, or the pads of the feet.
If small amounts are regularly ingested, it's possible for some toxins to build up in the system, which could slowly poison your Cocker Spaniel.
Some poisons may be toxic only if ingested and may not cause harm on contact with the skin; however, if your pet tries to clean himself by licking off the poison, he may well ingest it and become sick.
If your Spaniel is prone to epileptic seizures he may be more sensitive to poisons than he would otherwise be.
Food poisoning is normally associated with humans, but it's also fairly common in dogs too, particularly as they love to sniff about and forage for anything that they deem edible!
If our pets come into contact with decomposing animals and foodstuffs, they can can easily pick up harmful bacteria, such as salmonella and e-coli, and end up with food poisoning.
Typical symptoms of dog poisoning are vomiting and painful stomachs, followed by diarrhoea.
These symptoms usually last a couple of days unless they develop a bacterial infection, in which case they may go into shock.
Keep your pet safe from dog poisoning - don't feed him anything you wouldn't eat yourself, ie food past its sell-by date.
If it's not good enough for human consumption, it's not good enough for your Spaniel!
In addition to bacterial food poisoning, there are certain human foods that are harmful to dogs, some of which can be extremely dangerous and have potentially lethal consequences for your Cocker Spaniel.
Believe it or not, these are normal, everyday foods that you and I eat, such as onions, grapes, raisins, and chocolate.
As responsible pet owners, we should be aware of those foods and to be certain that we don't feed them to our Cockers.
Imagine how you'd feel if you accidentally killed your best friend with kindness! (I know, it's a bit extreme, but it gets the message across).
Although bones are not generally poisonous, they can be dangerous, so I feel they're worth mentioning here.
Bones can become dry and brittle when they're cooked and, when eaten, can break off and cause blockages in your Cocker's gut.
Many bones, particularly chicken and turkey, splinter very easily and can cause your pet to choke.
The sharp, brittle points can also cause damage to your dog's mouth and throat, or worse, can pierce his insides.
Cooked bones also absorb liquid when inside of his stomach which can cause constipation.
So if you want to give your pet a bone, always give him raw bones, preferably beef or lamb. Pop along to your local butcher, I'm sure he'll have a couple of bones going begging!
First of all, I recommend you make a note of your veterinarian's emergency telephone number, as well as the normal surgery number, and keep them both handy so that if there is an emergency, you can make contact quickly and without fuss.
If you think your Spaniel has accidentally swallowed a poisonous substance, don't panic - stay calm, but move quickly.
Telephone your veterinary immediately and give the following information - it will save time and your swift, controlled, action could save your Cocker's life.
Your vet may ask you to bring your Spaniel to the surgery immediately, or he may instruct you not to move him if he feels it would be safer for him to come directly to you.
Either way, your vet will let you know.
If you suspect your pet has been poisoned, never induce vomiting where caustic substances, such as bleach or oven cleaner, have been ingested as this will cause even more damage to your pet as the chemicals come back up.
Where caustic substances have been swallowed, your vet may recommend giving him vinegar or lemon juice, diluted in equal amounts of water, to help reduce the burning in his stomach.
You may need to use a turkey baster to get the liquid down his throat.
If your Cocker hasn't swallowed a caustic poison, your vet may advise you to induce vomiting to help remove the poison from his stomach.
Either way, your vet will explain what to do.
If the poison your pet has swallowed contains acid, your vet may recommend Milk of Magnesia to counteract the affects of the acid. When you arrive at the surgery, your vet may administer activated charcoal to your Spaniel to help soak up the poisons before they are absorbed into his bloodstream.
If your pet has been sick, collect a sample of his vomit - a plastic bag will suffice - and if you know what he's has swallowed, collect that too, together with any packaging listing the ingredients.
This information may help your vet to determine what toxic substance your Spaniel has swallowed and decide what treatment needs to be given - it could also save your Cocker's life!
Don't worry if your vet cannot diagnose what 'poisons' have made your Cocker ill, he should still be able to provide suitable treatment for your Cocker Spaniel.
Dog poisoning can happen all too easily - there will always be accidents waiting to happen and, as I mentioned earlier, you can't turn back the clock!
Take another look around your Cocker's environment - this time from your dog's viewpoint.
Do you see any potential hazards or dog poisons?
Are there any of the above-mentioned foods, chemicals or toxins easily accessible to your dog?
If there's any risk of dog poisoning to your pet, lock the offending items away, or move them out of sight and reach - above all, keep your dog safe!
Photo Credits - In order of viewing:
1. Sweetron1982 at Flickr.com
2. Bludgeoner86 at Flickr.com
3. Mark Hillary at Flickr.com
4. P Kirsch at Flickr.com