March is National Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month. Each year, there are an estimated 214,000 cases of pet poisoning in the United States – a figure that is much higher than many owners might expect. Unfortunately, there are many different substances that have the potential to be harmful to our animals and unless pet owners are aware of these and take active steps to prevent their pet from coming into contact with them, the number of instances of pet poisoning could increase.
As a responsible and conscientious pet parent, you understandably want to do all that you can to keep your pet safe. With this in mind, here are our top poison prevention tips for your pet.
Many pets, particularly dogs, love nothing more than to share what we are eating. However, there are many human foods that are not suitable for animals and some which are downright dangerous if your pet were to consume them. Some of the most toxic include:
- Coffee and coffee grounds
- Anything containing caffeine
- Candies and anything that contains the artificial sweetener, Xylitol
- Onion and garlic
- Grapes and raisins
- Fruit seeds/pips/stones
- Macadamia nuts
Take extra care to keep all poisonous foods away from your pet. This includes clearing away plates quickly and securing your garbage bin so that your pet can’t go scavenging.
Plants may look innocent, but many can be poisonous if your pet decides to lick or eat them. These include both indoor plants and those which can be found outside in gardens. Some of the most toxic that are particularly common in homes include:
- Sago palm
- Sago palm
- Lily of the Valley
Be mindful of which flowers and plants you have in and around your home, and choose varieties that are proven to be safe in the event that your pet comes into contact with them.
Many of us are guilty of keeping a packet of pain relief in our pocket, purse or bag. We may leave medications like birth control tablets on the table after taking them, or in another place where our curious pet may have access to them. A blister pack, pot or other packaging may not be all that much of a deterrent to an eager and persistent pet that is eager to see what is inside and unsurprisingly, our medications aren’t designed for animal consumption. Doing so could make your pet very sick so ensure that you keep all drugs locked securely out of the reach of both little fingers and little paws!
It isn’t just food, plants and medication that could potentially be toxic to your pet. There is also a range of other things that could be harmful if your pet tries to consume them. Other top pet poison risks to be aware of include:
- Cleaning products
- Pesticides and rodenticides
- Plant feed, weed killer and other garden chemicals
- Pool cleaning chemicals
Symptoms of poisoning in pets can vary depending on the type of poison that they have been affected by. However, there are some signs that are common across all types of toxins. Things to look out for include:
- Severe agitation
- Rapid or abnormal heartbeat
- Sickness and diarrhea
- Panting/fast breathing
- Drooling/frothing at the mouth
- Pale gums
- Breathing problems
If you are even remotely concerned that your pet may have consumed something toxic, don’t delay in speaking to your veterinarian urgently. A delay could cause serious and permanent damage to your pet’s health, or even have deadly consequences.