March has been designated Poison Prevention Awareness Month. It represents a time to take those extra precautions that will safeguard your family from accidental poisoning; the third week of the month prompts nationwide educational efforts as well as local awareness projects.
But we all know that protecting humans and pets from accidental poisoning is an ongoing concern. More than 2 million poisonings are reported each year to centers throughout the country, and more than 90% occur in the home.
What About the Pets?
It would take a very unusual animal to recognize the dangers indicated by a warning label and, just as it is imperative to protect children from poisonous household products, it is vital to keep toxic materials away from your pets. Also teach children not to offer anything other than pet food to your family’s animals.
But there are other dangers: Pets tend to be quick and curious whether you are looking or not, and even substances that might not cause problems for humans can be deadly for pets.
Common foods such as chocolate, grapes and raisins, over the counter medications, certain plants and flowers, garden fertilizers and plant food are among the Top 10 Toxins for dogs, according to Pet Poison Helpline. A surprise addition to the list is Xylitol, a sugar-free sweetener that appears in a wide variety of products. Most pet owners already are careful with the use of pest-control products and insecticides, as well as household cleaners and prescription medications.
Awareness Is the Key
The list of potentially harmful products, foods and substances is a long one. Valuable information is available online, and our professional veterinarians stand ready to answer your specific questions. Signs of accidental poisoning can range from mild rashes to vomiting and diarrhea, even acute kidney failure, so we urge you to call us if you suspect your pet has ingested a poison.
This month, and every month, we hope you will be extra vigilant in removing the hazards from your home. Being aware of the poisons, whether they bear warning labels or not, can save lives!