Like every other veterinary establishment, we encounter pet poisoning situations on a regular basis here at Long Animal Hospital. March is Pet Poison Awareness Month, and what better opportunity to shed some light on the very real risk that many of our foods and household items pose to our pets.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common pet poisoning threats and what we can do to keep our beloved pets safe and healthy.
Pet Poison Awareness in the Home
You probably already know not to feed chocolate to your dog, but the list of people foods that pose a risk to pets doesn’t stop there. Keep the following items away from your pet:
- Xylitol (artificial sweetener commonly found in sugar-free gum, baked goods, peanut butter, and other items)
- Macadamia nuts
- Fatty meats and sauces (could trigger a dangerous inflammatory condition known as pancreatitis)
Put leftovers away promptly, and keep garbage cans covered to prevent scrounging. When in doubt, don’t feed any table scraps to your pet.
The Medicine Cabinet
Each year, one-quarter of all phone calls to the Animal Poison Control Center and one-half of phone calls to the Pet Poison Helpline are related to pets ingesting human medications. According to these institutions, the most common medications ingested by pets are:
- NSAIDS (Aleve, Advil, Motrin, and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatories)
- Tylenol (particularly dangerous to cats)
- Antidepressants (Effexor, Cymbalta, Prozac, Lexapro)
- Sleep-aids (Ambien, Xanax, Klonopin, Lunesta)
- ADD/ADHD medications (Adderall, Concerta, Ritalin)
- Albuterol inhalers (surprisingly easy for a curious pet to puncture)
Keep all medications, including those designed specifically for pets, tightly sealed and out of reach. If you drop a pill, be sure to find it and pick it up immediately to prevent your pet from eating it. Keep bags, purses, and coats off the floor, as these often contain human medications and other potentially dangerous items.
Plants to Watch Out For
It’s important to keep potentially toxic plants out of your home, garden, and landscaping. The following are some of the most common plants that cause pet poisonings:
- English ivy
- Sago palm
Check out the ASPCA’s website for a more extensive list of toxic and non-toxic plants.
Yard and Garage
The outer perimeter of our homes isn’t exempt from pet poisoning risks. Take a look around your garage and property and secure the following:
- Pesticides and rodenticides
- Herbicides and other lawn chemicals
- Cocoa mulch
- Bone and blood meal
- Compost (often contains coffee grounds and other hazards)
Antifreeze is one of the biggest dangers to your pet, and many of us keep it on hand and use it in our cars as needed. The sweet smell and taste of antifreeze is irresistible to pets, but even a small amount can be fatal if ingested. Clean up any spills immediately and keep unused portions stored out of reach.
We can decrease our pets’ exposure to potential toxins with pet poison awareness. Acting quickly in a poisoning situation is essential, and Long Animal Hospital is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to serve you and your pet in an emergency.