March is Poison Prevention Month

March is National Poison Prevention month, focusing on awareness of harmful toxins and poisons for both pets and their owners. We want to help keep your pets safe, so we’ve posted a list of both indoor and outdoor toxins that are dangerous for your pet on our website.

You may not think certain types of food can be harmful to your pets, but there are many fruits, vegetables and other edible items you should keep out of their reach. Items such as such as chocolate, grapes and raisins and Xylitol, a sugar-free sweetener found in certain things such as gum, can make your pet very sick if ingested and require a trip to the emergency room.

Many household items also should be kept somewhere secure, including medicines, cleaning products, plants and cut flowers and plastic. You may think it’s fun to watch your dog rip apart his new stuffed toy, but don’t let him swallow any of the stuffing as it can block intestines quite easily. As a general rule of thumb, as you child-proof your home and yard from things a little one might ingest, do the same for your pet.

It’s certainly more difficult to control what your pet may get into outdoors as you can’t keep an eye on them constantly. That’s why it’s important to make sure that your pet is current on their vaccinations to provide protection in the event they get into something that could make them sick. You can keep a lid on obvious toxins such as fertilizers, pesticides, paint and antifreeze, but did you know that certain flowers, shrubs and growing mushrooms also are toxic? It might help to walk around your yard and ident…

While they beautify our gardens, flowers and plants such as autumn crocus, azaleas, daffodils, tulips, oleander, amaryllis and sago palm can harm your pet. Keep them from getting into your garden or flower beds and if you’re in a public area, it’s always best to keep them on a leash.

If you think they may have ingested something, and are showing signs of distress or severe illness, bring them to an emergency vet clinic right away, along with samples of the toxin or the container. Some poisons may result in an immediate reaction while others may take longer. Watch for symptoms including more than two episodes of vomiting and diarrhea within a 24-hour period, lethargy, pale gums, excessive thirst or urination and seizures, staggering or unconsciousness.

When in doubt about a possible toxin or poison, take a picture of the item and/or label and call your veterinarian. They can identify potential toxins and help keep your pet safe.