Poison Prevention Week – Remember Your Pets!
March 18th through the 24th is National Poison Prevention Week. According to the Poison Prevention Week Counsel, more than 2 million poisonings are reported each year to the 57 poison control centers across the country, with more than 90% of these accidents occurring within the home. The majority of non-fatal poisonings occur in children younger than the age of 6, and poisonings are one of the leading causes of death among adults! However, National Poison Week is also a time to remind us that accidental poisonings can occur in our four-legged family members, too! Here are some tips to help you avoid accidental poisoning of your pets at home:
- Be careful what human food you feed your pets! According to the ASPCA, this is a list of people foods to avoid giving to pets: chocolate, avocado, macadamia nuts, grapes, raisins, yeast dough, raw or undercooked meat or eggs, Xylitol (a sweetener in many products), onions, garlic, chives, milk, and salt. Especially around the holidays, remember to keep those Easter baskets and boxes of chocolate somewhere where your pets can’t get to them!
- Clean up spills because even small amounts of toxic substances can be deadly to your pet!
- Switch to non-toxic household cleaners. This is a great precaution for homes with pets and/or children!
- Research your indoor and outdoor plants to see if they could be toxic to your pets. Here is a link to a list compiled by the ASPCA that contains names and pictures of some plants that are potentially toxic to your pets.
- Keep medications in a hard to reach cabinet. This includes vitamins and over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Keep diaper bags or purses that might contain medications out of reach of your pets, too! Remember, lids that are child-proof are not animal proof; animals can still chew through plastic containers! Our dog, Bobbie, chewed through a bottle of Ipecac that was in our diaper bag. Luckily, she just had an uncomfortable night of vomiting and heaving. We are so thankful it wasn’t worse!
- Be aware of insecticides and rodenticides. Watch where you place ant traps or spray for bugs. Baits used to kill mice and rats are usually grain based and will most likely attract your dogs or cats, too! Even a flea and tick medicine not applied according to directions or accidentally ingested can be deadly!
- Make sure your pets do not have access to chemicals such as antifreeze, pool cleaners, fertilizers, and paint thinners. With the warm days around the corner, many garages are open, opening a whole new world of potential toxins to our animals!
Most importantly, you need to have a plan in place in case an accidental poisoning occurs! The ASPCA recommends always having a bottle of hydrogen peroxide 3% USP available to induce vomiting if necessary. Have your veterinarian’s number posted in a convenient location. It is also helpful to have the name and address of a nearby emergency animal clinic. The number of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center is 888-426-4435. Have the plant, product, or container available for reference. If your pet consumes something that may be questionable, or if you suspect that your pet may have been poisoned, do not hesitate to seek help! I know it is an overused saying, but it is definitely better to be safe than sorry! As part of National Poison Prevention Week, what are you going to do to ensure the safety of the adults, children, and pets in your home?
written by Maria, “Mama Dingo”