Poison Prevention Week (Mar. 18 – 24) was established to help raise awareness and prevent illness and injuries for pets. But in reality, we need to focus on poison prevention all year long as Emergency and Critical Care Specialists treat cats and dogs year round for this condition.
Pets may become very ill after ingesting many common household foods, products, and plants; a thorough inspection of your home—outside areas included—can help reduce the risk. Instinctively, pets are curious creatures—particularly cats—and if a partially empty container with cleaner, alcohol, medications, etc. is left out, your pet may “investigate.” It’s not hard to imagine that when a spilled toxic fluid gets on a cat’s paw, she will clean herself with her tongue, ingesting something harmful. Unfortunately, with our pet’s smaller bodies and weight, just a small amount could be fatal.
Common household foods and products. There are numerous human foods which can be toxic to pets. Here are some of them:
Citrus oil extracts
Grapes and raisins
The ASPCA has a complete list on their website including household cleaning products and health and beauty items. Common house plants that are known to be toxic include:
It’s important to note that spring and summer can be particularly hazardous times for pets with lawn and garden chemicals out. Be cautious, read directions carefully, and keep extra supplies out of reach and sealed tightly.
Symptoms of accidental poisoning. Some poisons will result in an immediate reaction for your pet while others may take several days to manifest symptoms. While there is not one set of exact symptoms to indicate a pet has been poisoned, there are some general symptoms to look for, including:
Drooling, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea
Pale or yellowish gums
Excessive thirst or urination
Nervousness, hyperactivity, muscle tremors, seizures, coma
If you witness your pet ingesting something he/she should not be, safely collect the materials involved. When seeking veterinary care, bring the product’s container with you, this can be helpful for veterinary professionals treating your pet.
If you suspect a pet poisoning, it’s important to seek emergency veterinary care. In addition, the ASPCA has an Animal Poison Control number, (888) 426-4435. Please note, they do charge a consultation fee.
It is our hope that a little prevention and planning will reduce the number of pets accidentally poisoned each year.