March 18th-24th Is Animal Poison Prevention Week

March 20th, 2012 by Craig Mullins

For many of us, our pets are an irreplaceable member of our family and we’ll go to any lengths to ensure they live a long and healthy life. This week is the 50th anniversary of Animal Poison Prevention Week; a perfect time to take a stroll through your house and eliminate the dangers to your beloved pet.

According to The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), in 2011 their Animal Poison Control Center in Urbana, IL received more than 165,900 phone calls from pet owners regarding pets that had been exposed to poisonous substances.

As a result of those calls, the ASPCA came up with a list of their Top Ten Pet Poisons of 2011. Read the list and think about what you have around your house and yard that are posing a threat to your animal. Some of the items may surprise you!

1. Prescription Human Medications
Cardiac and ADHD medications made up a large percentage of the almost 25,000 calls about human prescription meds. Always keeps your prescription bottles somewhere away from pets, and keep them away from dropped pills.

2. Insecticides
The subject of 11% of the calls last year, insecticides include products used around the house, in the yard, and on pets. The two most important things to remember when choosing something considered an insecticide is to read the label carefully, and never use something meant for a dog on a cat.

3. Over-the-Counter Human Medications
Medications bought at the local drug store can be just has harmful to your pet as prescription ones, so be sure that they too are out of your pet’s reach.

4. People Food
In 2011, the ASPCA poison center received over 7,600 calls about chocolate alone, making it the number one people food that pets ingest. Chocolate can cause diarrhea, vomiting, high heart rate, and seizures. The second most common people food is the sugar substitute xylitol, which is found in things like sugarless chewing gum and breath mints. It too can cause seizures, as well as liver failure in dogs. Other people foods that your pets should steer clear of include grapes/raisins, tomatoes, onion/garlic/peppers (cooked or raw), cooked bones (raw okay), and raw salmon.

5. Household Products
Including everything from paint to fire starter logs to cleaning products, some household items may just cause a tummy ache, but others can be deadly. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so know what you have and project your pet from harm.

6. Veterinary Medications
Medications prescribed for your pet by a veterinarian can prove deadly if an overdose occurs. Many pills for pets are flavored and chewable, making them a tempting treat if left in the wrong in the paws. Keep the bottle out of reach from your pet and contact your veterinarian if more than the prescribed dose is consumed, or if one pet ingest medication meant for another pet.

7. Rodenticides
Unfortunately, many products meant to kill mice and rats has a grain base that is tempting to cats and dogs. Ingestion may cause kidney failure, internal bleeding, and seizures.

8. Plants
While only 4% of the phone calls made to the ASPCA poison center were about the ingestion of plants, they too can more of a danger to your pet than your realize. Lilies, for example, can cause kidney failure in cats and ultimately cause death. For more information on toxic and non-toxic plants, visit: www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/plants/

9. Lawn and Garden Products
Fertilizers often include ingredients that pets are drawn to, like bone meal, poultry manure, and dried blood. Almost 3,900 of the poison calls in 2011 involved lawn and garden items.

10. Automotive Products
Items in your garage can be just as harmful to your pets as products within your home. Even though it’s good news that the number of animals exposed to automotive products like antifreeze and brake fluid has dropped, they still pose a threat.

Other commons items and products to keep away from your pets include:

– Asthma inhalers
– Nicotine
– Silica gel packs, like those found in shoe boxes and new purses.
– Hand sanitizer
– Glow sticks and glow jewelry
– Wild mushrooms

If you think your pet has ingested something toxic, immediately contact your veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center’s 24-hour hotline at (888) 426-4435.

animal poison prevention week 2012

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