Teak Oil Poisonous to Dogs
Teak oil is used for protecting wooden garden furniture.
It is an easy way to protect and spruce up benches and tables, and is a normal part of garden maintenance.
It sounds like a natural safe harmless product to use - we eat oil in cooking, it comes from plants and so on.
Unfortunately it is an extremely dangerous poison.
This is what happened to our dog when we oiled our new garden seat.
Available from all Garden Stores
Teak oil is easily available from any gardening outlet.
It is stored where you might expect, along with other products for varnishing, polishing, etc.
We all know paints and varnishes can be dangerous - but teak oil? It just treats garden wood - wipe on, wipe off, job done.
The bottle has no warning on the front. It does have a "harmful" sign on the back and some hard to read writing - but nowhere does it say "Warning:This product can kill pets and fish"
The First Sign of a Problem
A few moments after applying the oil to the bench I noticed my dog exhibiting strange behaviour.
She was walking slowly around the garden, with her tail right up between her legs, looking for a place to be sick. Then she was sick, violently so.
She started shaking, more so than in previous bouts of illness or distress.
My wife and I discussed this and realised it had to be that she had eaten some of the teak oil.
I checked the internet for teak oil and dogs and found very little useful information. But I started digging into details of the ingredients - naphtha being a key poisonous component.
The problem with the internet, as I quickly discovered, is that it can take you down a path of complete despair.
Naphtha is a deadly poison. It can destroy stomach and lung tissue. There is no solution, certainly not a "take a pill and rest" type.
This kind of product should be sold with a serious warning. It can be fatal to pets, aquatic life and I guess children - although we weren't researching them. Even adults need to take sensible precautions - gloves, use outside, do not ingest.
Meanwhile my wife was speaking to the vet.
They probably were Googling the same pages. But they did offer some advice.
Drink, monitor and if she fails to recover she'll have to come in for a chest x-ray.
All very disturbing.
Treating our Dog
Dogs are fantastically resilient. They eat bad things, they are sick, they recover.
This man made poison is different though.
First I tried to persuade the dog to drink water. Dilution of the poison is good. That is commonsense.
She drank a little.
Then I used a large syringe to gently force water into her mouth. More water, as much as I could reasonably persuade her to drink.
I put some milk in a bowl - she likes milk - and she drank a little.
Then she was sick again.
She was still trembling, but less violently than at first. A hint of recovery.
More water, more syringe and sick again.
And then the ears started to prick up again, she took interest in her surroundings and we said our own private thanks to someone out there.
This whole period took about two hours - a very long time when you are watching a loved one and wondering.
I'm not saying our dogs experience would be the same in another dog. It could be worse or better, but it may help someone if they have the same thing happen.
It also might make people very cautious about using teak oil, or any chemical product where pets are around - even in the garden.
My wife took the bottle back to the store and pointed out what had happened, the lack of warning and they have withdrawn it from sale and informed their head office.
This may be a temporary thing or maybe they will not relaunch it until they have improved the warnings for people like us - who just wanted to protect some garden furniture and nearly ended up losing one of our precious ones.