Mercury, also known as Quicksilver due to its silver appearance, is a naturally-occurring element. It is a liquid metal at room temperature and highly toxic. Since it is present in many appliances and even in food, there is always a danger of mercury poisoning in dogs and cats.
Mercury poisoning: how are pets exposed to Mercury?
As mentioned, mercury has been present in industry and medication for decades. Knowledge about its toxicity has decreased its use. However, it is still present in some materials.
Even though its use is now more regulated, our pets can still be exposed to it through the air when mercury-containing garbage is burned as well as coal, oil or natural gas. These particles fall into the water contaminating the soil and bodies of water.
In your home, mercury is present in fluorescent light bulbs, button-cell batteries, thermostats, barometers, and electrical switches, among others.
Mercury poisoning: the real threat for dogs and cats
Remember that your pets can get poisoned if they actually absorb mercury and the easiest way for this to happen is through food and water.
Some research has found that some pet food with fish flavor contains certain levels of mercury that are beyond what is “safe” for mammals. Researchers found that cat food tends to have more mercury than dog food. Food containing salmon especially had the highest concentration of mercury.
Mercury poisoning: how to prevent in dogs and cats
Some practical tips for you to help prevent mercury poisoning in dogs and cats:
- Be careful when giving your pets containing fish. Definitively do not give your pet a fish-based diet.
- Choose alternatives to mercury-containing products.
- Do not include mercury-containing products in your trash or separate it from your regular one.
- Follow the first-aid recommendations in case your dog or cat comes in contact with mercury.
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