Although not something we enjoy thinking about, preventing a pet poisoning is important to ensure our pets remain safe and healthy. Poison Awareness Week is the third week of March, and Huntington Veterinary Hospital thought now would be a good time to break out the list of things to check (and double check!).

Signs of Pet Poisoning

The signs of poisoning in pets can be subtle at first and can range from mild to severe, depending on the poison and how much was ingested. It’s best to call your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic. Signs of pet poisoning include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Refusing to eat
  • Pale gums
  • Weakness/collapse
  • Excessive thirst/urination
  • Trembling
  • Seizures

Prevention in the Yard and Garden

It’s amazing (and scary!) discovering how many different substances found in your house and yard can be toxic to your pets. Although many items may cause nothing more than gastrointestinal upset, some can be fatal without treatment. Check your garden shed or garage for the ingredients listed below, and walk your yard to look for other substances (and plants). It’s best to be prepared!

  • Blood meal
  • Blue-green algae (cyanobacteria)
  • Bone meal
  • Compost piles
  • Fireworks
  • Cocoa bean mulch
  • Mushrooms
  • Mouse and rat poisons (rodenticides)
  • Fertilizers
  • Snail bait
  • Garden plants

Poison Proof Your Home

In our homes, there are certain things we know we need to be wary of when it comes to our pets. Examples include:

Medications — Many human medications are toxic to pets, including acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil). Tip: store your own medications separately from your pet’s, and always double check the label before administering any medications.

People food — Foods that are toxic to pets include chocolate, bread dough, Xylitol, and grapes and raisins. Keep these, as well as fatty table scraps (which can cause pancreatitis), away from pets.

Cleaning products — Keep pets away from cleaning products, and make sure the toilet bowl is closed, so they can’t drink out of it (especially if you use automatic chemical tank or bowl cleaners).

House plants and flowers —  While plants and flowers make our homes beautiful, some can be dangerous to pets. Some lilies are extremely toxic to cats – even a few leaves can cause severe kidney failure. Cyclamen, poinsettias, and holly are all toxic to pets, as well.

Antifreeze — Although you may not keep this in your house, automotive products, especially antifreeze, should be kept away from pets. Antifreeze has a sweet taste that’s particularly tempting, but ingestion can cause kidney failure.

If you have any questions about these or other products or if you suspect your pet has ingested one of them, your best resource is the Pet Poison Helpline. This is a 24/7 pet poison control center with veterinarians on staff.

If you see any symptoms of toxicity, don’t wait – call us or come in immediately! Poisons act fast, so it’s best to have a diagnosis and treatment right away in order to provide the best outcome for your pet.

Please call us with any questions or concerns about products or substances in your home. We’re always here to help!