March is National Pet Poison Awareness Month, which was established to both raise awareness and prevent illness in pets. Poison prevention should be a priority for pet owners throughout the year, though, as toxins that threaten our furry family members abound.

Pets can become very ill after ingesting many common household foods, products, and plants. To help prevent this from occurring, it is good to do a regular inspection of your home. Inspect the outside of your home and become familiar with all that your pets may encounter – both organic and inorganic.

Next look around indoors, where houseplants are common culprits. Those toxic to pets include azaleas, cactus, lilies, ivy, mistletoe, philodendron, and poinsettia.

There are also many common foods that are toxic or dangerous to pets. This list includes alcohol, bones, caffeine, chocolate, grapes and raisins, and medication/supplements they are not prescribed. Also, never give pets access to sugar-free items, including gum, mints, or even sugar-free peanut butter. Sugar substitutes are commonly harmful to our furry friends.

If your pet has ingested a toxic substance, first try to collect any remnants – this can be helpful to your veterinarian. If you suspect pet poisoning, it’s important to get your furry family member emergency care immediately. Additionally, the ASPCA has an Animal Poison Control number which can be reached at (888) 426-4435.

Keep in mind that these accidents can happen to animals owned by even the most diligent pet parents. It’s easy to turn around for a quick moment only to find out your pet has taken advantage of the situation. Be sure to stay calm and focus on getting the most immediate care for your pet.