It’s March 20th, which means it is officially National Poison Prevention Week!
We’re all pretty familiar with baby-proofing our homes from top to bottom to prevent accidental exposure to poisonous chemicals. But are we nearly as cautious with our pets?
According to the ASPCA’s Poison Control Center, tens of thousands of calls were received last year related to dogs and cats who accidentally ingested garden-related products like insecticides, weed killers, and toxic plants. But poison goes much further than just garden chemicals–certain foods and medications are poisonous to dogs as well. Almost everyone is aware that dark chocolate is toxic to dogs–but did you know that grapes and onions are even worse? Or that certain flowers, such as lillies, cause kidney failure in cats?
The first step in poison prevention is education and awareness–so we’ve compiled a list of the most toxic chemicals, foods, plants, and medications to watch out for, in order to keep your fur babies safe.
While Insecticides and household cleaners are the most common chemicals accidentally ingested by pets, poisonous chemicals are everywhere. Accidental ingestion can stem anywhere from loose screwtops on paint thinners, fertilizers and antifreeze to leftover Comet in the toilet. Always be sure that chemicals are stored in higher up cabinets and away from reach of curious cats and dogs. Ethylene glycol, a main ingredient in antifreeze, has a sweet, alluring taste- and fatal consequences. Also remember to keep trash cans closed tightly, too- rat poison, batteries and glue are toxic as well.
Apples (seeds contain Cyanide)
Coffee + Tea (contains Caffeine)
Dark Chocolate (contains Caffeine)
Grapes + Raisins (contain Mycotoxin)
Gums + Cakes + Sweets + Mints (contain Xylitol)
Onions + Garlic (contain Disulphide)
Over-the-counter medications such as Advil, Aleve and Motrin can cause serious harm to dogs when ingested–including stomach or intestinal ulcers and kidney failure. Other people medications that should be avoided include Ibuprofren, Acetaminophen, and antidepressants such as Prozac, Paxil, Celexa, and Effexor.
In the event that your pet consumes poison of any kind:
Stay calm! Have all of your dog’s information readily available-including breed, sex, weight, gender, and veterinary history. Gather all materials related to the poisoning–especially those with ingredient labels. Keep track of all symptoms and, if necessary, be prepared to seal your pet’s vomit or stool in a bag to send off for testing.
There are three helplines open 24/7, 365 days a year–and if you suspect that your pet has been exposed to a poisonous substance, don’t hesitate to call.
1. The Pet Poison Helpline (800) 213-6680 ($39 fee)
2. The Veterinary Poison Emergency Treatment Services (800) 572-5842 ($45 fee)
3. ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (888) 426-4435 ($65 fee)
By: Mariann Rozsa, DVM