Dog hiding behind plants.

March 20-26th is National Animal Poison Prevention Week, and while it is important to protect our animal friends from harmful substances all year round, this week is a great time to learn how we can really do our best when it comes to pet safety. Blue Valley Animal Hospital is excited to help educate pet parents on poison prevention and hazards for pets. 

The Most Common Hazards for Pets

Animals are naturally curious, and because they often explore their world with their mouths they are a little bit at our mercy to protect them. Unfortunately there are lots of things in their everyday environment that can cause them harm. 

Identifying the most common hazards for pets is an important first step in poison prevention. According to the Pet Poison Helpline, the most common pet poisons include:

  1. Chocolate (dogs)/ Lilies (cats)
  2. Mouse and rat poisons (dogs) / Flea and tick medication for dogs (cats)
  3. Anti-inflammatory medications (dogs) / Household cleaners (cats)
  4. Xylitol (dogs) / Antidepressants (cats)
  5. Grapes and raisins (dogs) / Essential oils  (cats)
  6. Antidepressants (dogs) / Anti-inflammatories  (cats)
  7. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) (dogs) / Mouse and rat poisons (cats)
  8. Vitamin D (dogs) / Stimulant medication for ADD (cats)
  9. Stimulant medications for ADD (dogs) / Onions and garlic (cats)
  10. Fertilizers (dogs) / Vitamin D (cats)

Other common offenders include chocolate, nicotine, marijuana and other recreational drugs, and overdoses of pet medications. 

Pet Poison Prevention Tips and Tricks 

With the world so full of hazards, how can you protect your pet against poisonings? While there is no way to put them in a bubble, taking some steps towards pet safety is a great way to recognize Animal Poison Prevention Week.

Some of our best tips for pet poison prevention include:

  • Keeping potential toxic foods and substances well out of the reach of pets
  • Reading labels closely to be sure no xylitol is added to foods like peanut butter or medications that you might give your pet
  • Be sure that any trash receptacles containing potential harmful items are secured from pets
  • Research plants and their potential toxicities before bringing them into your home
  • Be sure that any houseguests have their belongings like coats, pursues, or suitcases secured so that a curious pet doesn’t help themself to things like cigarettes, sugar-free gum, or prescription medications
  • Avoid applying essential oils to your pet
  • Allow cleaning products and other chemicals to dry completely before allowing your pet into the area they have been used
  • Utilize pet-safe alternatives to potentially toxic products where possible
  • Never give your pet human medications without consulting us
  • Consider putting together a pet poison safety kit 

With most pet poisonings, quick action is key. Seek help right away if you even suspect a toxin exposure. Time can make a big difference. Resources like ASPCA Pet Poison Control or Pet Poison Helpline can give you access to a veterinary toxicology expert for a small fee. Oftentimes their knowledge is helpful to us as we try to help you pet. They can also help you to determine if a toxin exposure warrants an emergency visit or not. 

Pet poison prevention is an important part of responsible pet ownership, and using this week in March as an excuse to up your game is a great idea! Let us know if we can be of any assistance.