Poison Prevention Week – Keeping Your Pets Safe

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In 1961 Congress designated the third full week of March as National Poison Prevention week.  There are 55 poison control centers in the United States. In 2018 these centers provided telephone assistance for nearly 2.1 million human poison exposures.  There is a poison exposure reported to the U.S. poison control centers every 15 seconds. During this same time period the poison control centers reported 57,017 calls about animal poison exposures.

As responsible pet parents it is our job to ensure that our pets are free from exposure to poisonous materials.  Pets are curious and we all know dogs will eat just about anything! Some poisonous items, like antifreeze are sweet and attractive to our pets. Many foods and other items that are safe for humans can be poisonous to our furry family members.

A good rule of thumb is not to feed people food to our pets.  Always check with your vet to ensure any new foods are safe to add to your pet’s diet. Foods that are safe for humans but poisonous to dogs include:

  • Chocolate – while dark chocolate has the most benefits for humans, it has the most risk for your dog.  Dark chocolate contains an ingredient called theobromine, a relative of caffeine that can be deadly.
  • Xylitol – a sweetener commonly found in sugarless gums and candies. Xylitol can also be found in:
    • Packaged goods and baking mixes
    • Jams, syrups, condiments, and honey
    • Protein bars and powders
    • Flavored waters and drink powders
    • Chocolate
    • Peanut butter and nut butters
    • Dental products
    • Medicines, vitamins, and supplements
    • Cosmetics, body, face, & hair products
  • Raisins and Grapes – toxic to dogs and can cause kidney failure
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Yeast based dough
  • Table salt
  • Caffeine
  • Mushrooms
  • Alcohol
  • THC – commonly found in medical marijuana edibles

Other common household items that are poisonous to our pets include:

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Dishwashing detergent
  • Bleach
  • Household cleaners

Items commonly found in our medicine cabinets that should not be given to our pets include:

  • Medications, vitamins, and dietary supplements
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol®)
  • NSAID’s (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories) such as aspirin and ibuprofen (Advil®)
  • Albuterol – commonly found in inhalers
  • Pseudoephedrine
  • THC – commonly found in hemp and CBD products
  • Any medication formulated specifically for dogs should not be given to cats
  • Any medication formulated specifically for cats should not be given to dogs

Moving into the garage, the following items should be kept out of the reach of our pets:

  • Insecticides – particularly organophosphates
  • Rodenticides – only one has an antidote and are the rest are difficult to treat.  Pets and wildlife can be also affected by eating dead rodents that were poisoned by rodenticides.
  • Slug bait
  • Fertilizer
  • Lawn or garden chemicals
  • Antifreeze
  • De-icing salts
  • Toxic garbage

Plants that in your home and garden can also be toxic to pets.  Some of the most common include:

  • Lily
  • Tulip
  • Azalea
  • Daffodil
  • Foxglove
  • Sago Palm
  • Dumbcane
  • Yew

The ASPCA has compiled a list of plants poisonous to dogs that can be found here.

No matter how much attention you pay and care you may take, accidents may happen.  What do you do if your pet ingests something they shouldn’t?

  1. Keep Calm
  2. Prevent your pet from eating or breathing in any more of the toxin
  3. Phone your vet or poison control helpline and take their advice
  4. Gather up any packaging from the poison, or a sample if it’s safe
  5. Drive your dog to the vet, keeping them calm and cool on the journey
  6. Show your vet the packaging or sample

Before an incident occurs, add the Pet Poison Help Line number to your contacts list – 1-855-794-7661.  An incident fee does apply.  More information can be found at https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/

The ASPCA also has an Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435.  A consultation fee may also apply here. The ASPCA also has an app that is available on the App Store or Google Play.

Here’s to keeping our pets safe!








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