When a pet first comes home, there’s a lot to do to ensure their safety. Not unlike baby-proofing, creating a safe environment is paramount for a four-legged friend that ceaselessly explores with their nose and mouth.

As time goes by and a pet matures there will be less anxiety about what they may be exposed to. After all, they’ve likely proved they can be trusted in the kitchen or in the garage. But all it takes is one chance encounter with a toxin to bring about a life-threatening poisoning. That’s why Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month remains a major highlight of the year.

Staying On Top Of It All

There may be products, foods, or plants that trigger more interest from your pet at different times. The key to pet poison prevention is to keep your guard up throughout your pet’s entire life. Sure, an aging old pup may have learned that the pantry is off-limits; consequently, they no longer parole the kitchen floor. The clincher is that they could find themselves sniffing around in a bored/hungry/curious moment.

Being prepared for that moment is essential to pet poison prevention.

The Specifics

Most toxins are obvious to pet owners, but some (like Xylitol) may be new to you. While exposure to some substances may cause minor symptoms, others can be life-threatening. When in doubt, please contact us. It’s always better to err on the side of caution – leaving symptoms to work themselves out could be catastrophic to a pet.

Avoid a Pet Emergency

When the following items are stored appropriately or left out of the house entirely, you are helping to avoid a pet emergency:

  • Chocolate (symptoms are more severe with dark chocolate, baker’s, and cocoa powder)
  • Xylitol, an artificial sweetener, is found gums, mints, and candies labeled “sugar-free” (also beware of certain toothpastes and mouthwashes); Always read your peanut butter label, too!
  • Rodenticides
  • Caffeine (found in chocolate, coffee, and even in pill form)
  • Various medications, like Tylenol, ibuprofen, cold/allergy meds, antidepressants, heart medications,
  • Vitamins/mineral supplements like vitamin D and iron
  • Glow sticks
  • ADD/ADHD medications
  • Plants, such as lilies, philodendron, Sago palm, azalea (check the ASPCA List of Toxic Plants)
  • Topical insecticides
  • Household cleaners, such as bleach or toilet cleaner
  • Topical insecticides used inappropriately

Red Flags

Depending on the toxin, a pet poisoning may have different symptoms. Always be on the lookout for the most common red flags:

  • Vomiting (may be bloody)
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Pale gums
  • Racing heart rate
  • Weakness, lethargy, lack of coordination, restlessness
  • Collapse
  • Either excessive thirst/urination or absence of
  • Inappetance
  • Bad breath

Stay Calm

If you know or suspect that your pet ingested something toxic, try to stay calm. Please call us immediately so we can advise you. We offer emergency care for pets. In the case of a poisoning, we may try to induce vomiting, administer IV fluids, and run certain diagnostics to learn the extent of damage.

Bring along the packaging or container that shows the ingredients on the label.

Pet Poison Prevention

The impact of an entire month raising awareness for pet poison prevention lasts all year. If you have any further questions or concerns, our veterinarians and staff members at Goldorado Animal Hospital are always here for you.