March Is Pet Poison Awareness Month

Many of the items we have around our homes and yards can be highly toxic to our pets. Safe for humans doesn’t automatically mean safe for dogs and cats. Below are the most common culprits in pet poisoning incidents.

In the Kitchen

Your dog’s metabolism is very different from your own. Many foods commonly found in the kitchen are toxic for our pets. While some human foods can be safely shared with your pooch, avoid giving your pets any of the following:

• Chocolate
• Xylitol (found in sugar-free gum & some peanut butter)
• Grapes
• Raisins
• Alcohol
• Yeast dough
• Caffeine
• Onions
• Macadamias
• Mushrooms

In the Yard

Popular household flowers and plants can be poisonous to your dog; tulips, daffodils, azaleas, rhododendrons and sago palms. Sago palms are yard plants that grow in warm tropical/subtropical climates (states such as Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, Hawaii). All parts of the sago palm from its base, to the fruit, to the seed, are highly toxic to your dog or cat. Lilies are very dangerous for cats. Other plants that are dangerous for your pets:

• Lily
• Tulip
• Azalea
• Daffodil
• Foxglove
• Sago palm
• Dumbcane
• Yew

In the Medicine Cabinet

Many medications that are helpful to humans are harmful to dogs, such as human pain medication, antidepressants and blood pressure meds. Store all of your medication in cabinets that are not accessible to your nosey pooch.

• Hand sanitizer
• Acetaminophens (Tylenol)
• Pseudoephedrines (Sudafed)
• Albuterol found in inhalers
• Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Advil, Ibuprofen, Aspirin)

Common Household Products

Household chemicals should never be ingested by your pet. Cleaning products, pool chemicals, lawn and garden products can all lead to life threatening health complications if consumed. Antifreeze is particularly problematic because it has a sweet taste but is very deadly. Products designed to fight ants, roaches, and rodents can also be poisonous to your pet. Serious problems can arise if your pooch consumes a rodent that has been poisoned.

Signs of Poisoning

Different poisons affect your pets in different ways depending on how much they’ve eaten. Some common signs of pet poisoning:

• Abnormal behavior
• Black, tarry stool
• Collapse
• Coughing
• Decreased urination
• Diarrhea
• Discolored gums
• Drooling
• Excessive thirst
• Excessive urination
• Lack of appetite
• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Weakness

Call your vet or local emergency clinic immediately if you suspect your pet has been poisoned. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Phone Number: (888) 426-4435 is also a great resource; they are available to help 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.