We love to see happy, curious pets living their best lives. But sometimes, their curiosity can get them into trouble! Since March is National Poison Prevention Month, we wanted to take some time to educate pet owners about the dangers of accidental pet poisoning. So today, we’ll look at some common, unsafe home and garden items and what to do if you suspect your pet has eaten something toxic.
What To Do If Your Pet Has Eaten Something Toxic
If you suspect that your pet has eaten something toxic, don’t wait to call a professional! Pets won’t always exhibit symptoms of poisoning immediately, so it’s always best to err on the side of caution and call your veterinarian as soon as possible. You can reach Mountainside Veterinary Hospital at (971) 405-1111. If it’s after-hours and your vet isn’t open, call the nearest 24-hour veterinary hospital or the ASPCA’s 24-hour emergency hotline at (888) 426-4435.
The best treatment plan will depend on what your pet ingested, their age, breed, general health status, weight, and how much time has passed. Your veterinary care team can help you decide on the best plan of action based on these factors.
Prevalence of Accidental Pet Poisonings
WebMD Pet Health Center's veterinary experts estimate 232,000 cases of pet poisoning annually in the United States. Luckily, with the right information and a little due diligence, many of these accidental poisonings can be prevented. So, which household items are most dangerous for our dogs and cats?
Medications, Supplements, and Vitamins
Pet-proofing your home means keeping over-the-counter medications, prescriptions, supplements, and vitamins safely out of your pets’ reach. According to the Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), about one-fifth of all reported incidents involve pets accidentally swallowing human medications. This includes over-the-counter pain medications, allergy pills, cold and flu treatments, and prescription medications.
While many pet owners know about the dangers of giving pets human medications, they may be less informed about vitamins and herbal supplements. Unfortunately, many supplements that help us may be dangerous or even fatal to our pets. One of the most serious situations involves prenatal vitamins, which are high in iron and can cause iron toxicity in pets.
As a general guideline, keeping all human-grade vitamins and supplements away from pets is best.
Foods That Are Dangerous For Pets
We know it can be tempting to share table scraps when your pet turns on the puppy-eyes charm. However, some “people food” isn’t safe for pets in any amount. According to the APCC, the most dangerous foods for pets include:
Not sure if a particular food is safe for your pets? You can search a comprehensive list at the Pet Poison Hotline’s website. Here at Mountainside, we recommend always erring on the side of caution by feeding designated pet-safe treats instead of table scraps.
Home & Garden Supplies
With sunny days right around the corner, many pet owners are preparing for spring cleaning and gardening projects. It’s important to keep pet safety in mind and keep certain household cleaning supplies away from curious pets. Luckily, the APCC has created a guide to help pet owners pick safe supplies. Some common areas of concern include:
Floor cleaners. Many pets spend significant amounts of time lying, playing, or snuffling around on the floor. And pets don’t need to come into direct contact with floor cleaners to be impacted. For example, if your pet walks across a freshly mopped floor and then licks their paws, they could ingest toxic cleaning compounds.
Essential oils. Cats are especially sensitive to many essential oils, and there are significant variations in toxicity among specific oils. Because of this, we don’t recommend using essential oils in rooms your pets can access unless your veterinarian approves them.
Pest control products. Rat poison, ant baits, roach traps, and many slug and snail baits aren’t only attractive to pests. They’re also appealing to our pets. So if you use insecticides or herbicides around the home or garden, it’s essential to make sure your pet can’t get into them! Even small amounts of these poisons can cause serious harm.
Fertilizers. Many fertilizers contain bone meal, fish meal, or blood meal, all of which smell like a tasty treat for your pup! When ingested in large amounts, for example if your pet breaks into a bag of fertilizer, they can cause an upset stomach and other GI symptoms. Some fertilizers also contain dangerous chemicals and compounds called organophosphates or carbamates, which can be harmful or deadly to pets. Always keep fertilizer bags out of pets’ reach and make sure to keep them away from the lawn or garden on days that fertilizer has been freshly applied.
Plants. Many indoor and outdoor plants are dangerous for pets. For kitties especially, the temptation to nibble on leaves and stems can lead to trouble. Common houseplants that are poisonous for cats include all varieties of lilies, jade (and several other succulents), and daffodils. For a more comprehensive list, check out this helpful guide from Hill’s.
Working Together To Prevent Accidental Pet Poisoning
As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. When it comes to preventing accidental pet poisonings, knowledge is power. National Animal Poison Prevention Week provides the perfect opportunity to learn more about identifying and preventing household toxin consumption in pets. Want to learn more about potential hazards? The ASPCA provides an incredible resource of articles, infographics, and guidelines.
As always, if you have any concerns or questions about your pet’s care, please contact the Mountainside team! You can call us at (971) 405-1111 or request an appointment online.