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Ask A Vet: Here comes baby; beware pets
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Daddy’s Little Princess. Bouncing Baby Boy. Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers.

Baby’s get a lot of good press, and rightfully so. Not much can outdo a coo and smile from my little girl when it comes to brightening my day.

But do you know how dangerous babies are? They’re downright terrifying when you think about it. And I’m not even talking about that weird baby sleeper hold they put you in if you hold them on your chest while they snooze.

I’m talking about how dangerous they are to your pets.

Think about all the little trinkets, big enough so baby can’t eat them, but just right to be ingested by the family dog and possibly cause an intestinal blockage. In my experience, children’s toys are the third most common cause of a foreign body that requires surgical removal, behind only dog toys and underwear (that’s a topic for another day).

So you make a point of asking your kids to pick up after themselves. But kids that can’t speak or walk yet don’t help out. So it’s something to remember.

And speaking of baby bottoms, watch out for diaper rash ointment. Many topical diaper rash treatments have zinc oxide as their active ingredient. It’s a powerful desiccant and works well to treat the little one’s tender skin.

But if your dog or cat gets curious and eats some, bad news. High levels of zinc are readily generated in the bloodstream. And although zinc is an essential nutrient, high levels are disastrous. Red blood cells are destroyed, and multiple organs may fail. Clotting can be so compromised that the animal bleeds to death without suffering any trauma.

I told you babies are dangerous.

Other sources of zinc commonly associated with toxicity in pets include galvanized items, batteries, and the penny.

Yes, the Lincoln penny. It looks like copper, but this wouldn’t be the first time the government misled us about money. The majority of the coin is zinc, and the acid in the stomach will break it down slowly and yield toxicity.

One cent can end up costing you thousands of dollars. Beware!

Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at