The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) has advised that homeowners tackling do-it-yourself home improvement projects may be exposing their pets to polyurethane glue: a water-resistant adhesive and favourite of woodworkers that is highly toxic if ingested by cats and dogs.
According to data from the APCC, pet poisonings from wood glues-and other adhesives containing the substance diphenylmethane diisocyanate (MDI)-are on the rise. In the past 12 months, the APCC handled more than 170 cases of pets who ingested expanding glues. Of those incidents, the majority involved dogs and were evaluated at high or medium risk for developing severe, life-threatening problems.
Polyurethane glue-also known by brand names like Gorilla Glue and Elmer’s ProBond-is prized for its ability to bond to wood. If eaten, however, the glue expands in the stomach’s warm, moist environment and forms a softball-sized lump. A dog who eats even a small amount of MDI-based adhesive can experience severe gastrointestinal problems resulting in blockages and requiring emergency surgery to remove the mass.
Pet owners should treat any expanding adhesive as a potential hazard, since the offending chemical MDI is not always listed on product labels. Like all toxic household products, wood glue should be stored in a secure cabinet to prevent pets from coming into contact with it.