National Poison Prevention Week is March 17-23, 2013. Much of the effort of this week is usually dedicated to raising awareness to parents of small children, but we’d like to remind you that pets are also vulnerable to accidental ingestion of potentially life threatening items in the home. Taking some simple steps to keep potential hazards away from your pets will significantly reduce the chances of your pets coming in contact with a toxic substance.
The ASPCA reports that of the 167,000 poisoning cases handled in 2010 the number one culprit was human medications. Other hazards around the home include foods, plants, insecticides and rodenticides, and products containing xylitol (sugar-free gums and candies).
Keep your home safe by:
- Knowing your houseplants. Some common houseplants are toxic to cats and dogs. A list of potentially toxic plants can be found here
- Some human foods that are poisonous include raisins, grapes, onions, garlic, and chocolate. Keep garbage cans in a place where your pets cannot reach them.
- Keep all medications and dietary supplements in secure cabinets. Never medicate your pets at home with human products unless directed by a veterinarian.
- Birds are especially sensitive to airborne products. If you are spraying aerosols or heavily fragranced products remove the bird cage from the area.
Outside the Home
- Antifreeze products are extremely dangerous and have a sweet taste that is appealing to pets. Keep bottles out of reach and always be sure any spills are cleaned up immediately.
- Fertilizers, yard insecticides, and rodenticides all pose a real threat to pets. Keep all products tightly sealed and out of reach. Use products according to label instructions and keep your pets away until the products used are completely dry.
In case of an accidental poisoning be prepared with an emergency first aid kit at home. Some items to include are:
- A bottle of hydrogen peroxide
- A medicine syringe or dropper
- Saline eye solution
- Grease-cutting dish detergent (i.e. Dawn)
- A muzzle
- Your Veterinarians phone number, as well as the ASPCA Poison Control number.
Know the Signs
If you think your pet may have been poisoned contact your veterinarian immediately. With any type of poison ingestion, the sooner treatment is started the better prognosis for your beloved pet. While the signs of poisoning can vary greatly depending on the substance ingested, there are some symptoms to watch for.
- Loss of appetite
- Coughing and/or vomiting blood