March is National Pet Poison Awareness Month, which was established to raise awareness and prevent illness in pets. Though poison prevention should be a priority throughout the year, this month is a great opportunity to take inventory of the household toxins that could threaten your furry family members.
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. Outdoors, common toxins include insecticides, rodenticides, and fertilizers. Also be sure to scour your garage or outdoor workspace for common household repair products such as spackle, paint, and adhesives. Be sure to keep these items out of reach, as they often contain pet toxins.
Next look around indoors, where houseplants are common culprits. Some of the most popular toxic houseplants include aloe vera, cactus, lilies, ivy, mistletoe, philodendron, and poinsettias. Visit the ASPCA website to search a list of more than 400 poisonous plant species.
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. You can also contact the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center 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.