The Importance of Pet Poison Prevention

Every year, there are more than 100,000 cases of pet poisoning in the United States. March is Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month, so it’s the perfect time to familiarize yourself with potentially harmful household items and have an emergency plan in place.

As a pet owner, one of the first steps to protecting your pets is understanding what common items in your home or yard can be potentially toxic to them. Then you can take the proper steps to prevent an incident and prepare a plan if an incident occurs.

Common Pet Poisons

  • Human medications: Many human medications can be poisonous to pets, including ibuprofen, Tylenol, pain killers, heart medications, antidepressants, vitamin D derivatives, birth control pills, and blood pressure medications. You should never give your pet a human medication.
  • Pet medications: Ingesting certain pet medications or overdosing on them can be toxic to pets. Common problems include pain killers, flea and tick products, and dewormers.
  • Household items/chemicals: Many household items and chemicals can be very toxic to pets, including anti-freeze, bleach, fire logs, fertilizers, weed killers, rat poison, household cleaners, slug bait, insecticides, and paint thinner.
  • Human Food: There are a variety of human foods that can be harmful to pets, including grapes, chocolate, baker’s chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, raisins, sugar-free candy & gum (xylitol), dairy products, mushrooms, onions, avocados, garlic, macadamia nuts, raw meat, and more.
  • Plants: Plants that can be poisonous to pets include lilies, poinsettias, azaleas, oleanders, sago palms, castor beans, autumn crocuses, daffodils, tulip bulbs, English ivy, and chrysanthemums. 

How to Prevent Pet Poisoning

After becoming familiar with common household items that can be poisonous to pets, you can take steps to prevent pet poisoning. This includes keeping toxic chemicals, harmful foods, all medications, and any other potentially harmful items out of your pet’s reach. Other steps include following guidelines on flea and tick products, not feeding table food to your pet, and buying non-toxic plants for your home or yard. Check out the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center for a list of common poisonous household products and a list of toxic and non-toxic plants!

How to Be Prepared

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) is a great resource for any animal poison-related emergencies. They are available 24/7, 365 days a year at (888) 426-4435 for a $65 consultation fee. You should keep your veterinarian’s phone number and the number for the APCC in a convenient location in case of emergency. 

Another important step in being prepared is becoming familiar with the symptoms of pet poisoning. Some common signs include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, black or bloody stool, convulsions, and drooling.

If Your Pet Is Poisoned

If you suspect that your pet has been poisoned, call your vet or the APCC immediately. If possible, take a sample of your pet’s vomit or stool for the veterinarian. Make note of which toxin you think your pet may have come into contact with and what symptoms your pet is showing. Be sure to watch your pet closely for any changes in behavior or symptoms.

Accidents happen, but you can help reduce the chance of an accident by being proactive and aware. Becoming familiar with potentially harmful products and taking steps to keep them out of your pet’s reach will go a long way in helping prevent accidental poisoning!