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Felix Adamo/ The Californian

Columnist Sherry Davis.

Recently, as I chastised Frank for the zillionth time about eating the mulberries that fall into my yard every year, it brought to mind my first Newfoundland, who likewise would suck up and swallow anything in his path. Or, as I call them: "Shop-Vac dogs."

And because of this habit for ingesting anything he considered remotely edible, Grizzly ate rat bait that had been set out (without notice!) overnight in an office where he accompanied me daily.

Although he survived a lengthy and expensive course of treatment, the experience made me very paranoid about common poison hazards to our pets and how important it is to be alert and not take lightly early signs of distress.

And believe me, quick action in a poisoning can make the difference in whether your dog lives or dies.

1. Chocolate

2. Insect bait stations

3. Rodenticides (mouse and rat poison)

4. Fertilizers

5. Xylitol-containing products (sugar-free gums and candies)

6. Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin in brand name or generic form)

7. Acetaminophen (Tylenol in brand name or generic form)

8. Silica gel packs

9. Amphetamines such as ADD and ADHD drugs

10. Household cleaners

Common signs of poisoning include, but are not limited to:

* Vomiting

* Coughing or vomiting blood

* Diarrhea

* Pale gums

* Drooling

* Racing heartbeat

* Lack of appetite

* Weakness or lethargy

* Nausea

* Collapse

Dogs can go into kidney or liver failure very quickly, so it is important to act swiftly if any of these symptoms are present or you suspect that your dog has ingested a poisonous substance.

* DO NOT give any home antidotes.

* DO NOT induce vomiting without consulting a veterinarian.

* Collect a sample of whatever the dog has ingested and its packaging or container to take with you to the vet's office.

* Contact your veterinarian or an emergency veterinary clinic immediately. (Program these numbers into your cell phone!)

If you're the not-so-proud owner of a "Shop-Vac dog," the good news is: They're easy keepers; they'll eat anything,

The bad news: They'll eat anything.

So don't use or leave poisonous substances in areas where your dog spends time. His life may depend on it.

-- Sherry Davis is a dog trainer/owner of CSI 4 K9s. Email her at csi4k9s These are her opinions, not necessarily The Californian's.