In honor of March being Pet Poison Prevention Month, let’s take a few minutes to think about common threats that could be around your home.
Plants are a common threat to pets, especially cats, who often try to make a tasty treat out of poisonous houseplants. Before bringing home a new plant, or even putting a vase of fresh flowers on the kitchen table, take a moment and check whether they might pose a threat to your furry friends. Some of the most common houseplants that can cause issues include aloe plants, asparagus fern, caladium, ivy, lilies and philodendron. However, these are only a few; a complete list can be found at http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poisons/.
Food that we eat every day can also pose a serious threat to pets. From processed foods to fresh fruits and veggies, here’s what’s safe and what to avoid. Common foods that you want to be sure to keep away from your pet include alcohol, avocado, caffeine, cherries, chocolate, grapes, raisins, mushrooms, onions and salt. This may sound like it doesn’t leave much for you to share, but if you are looking for some healthy options to snack on with your pet, bananas, blueberries, pineapple and strawberries are all good choices.
Other hazards that are often overlooked include small everyday household items. It is good to develop a daily habit of checking the floor for small items that can pose a choking hazard for your pet, from coins to LEGOs. Specifically keep an eye out for batteries, breath mints, soaps and mothballs, all of which can poison your pet if ingested.
Both prescription and over the counter human medications are common poisons for pets. Be sure to keep meds up and in closed cabinets. If left out on the counter, cats can knock them down for the dogs to chew on. Also, make sure to keep purses and bags up and closed to prevent your pet from helping themselves to the contents.
Pet Medication and Insecticides
When it comes to pet medication, make sure that you are applying the proper dosage for your pet’s weight. Also, always check with a veterinarian or the product manufacturer when using multiple products at once, or if administering medication to a sick, senior, pregnant or nursing animal.
How To React
If you believe that your pet has gotten into something that they shouldn’t have, call your vet immediately. If they are not available, you can contact a number of pet poison control helplines that will listen to your problem and provide tailored advice on what to do next. Be advised that many helplines do charge a consultation fee. It is best to be proactive and create a plan ahead of time, so if an emergency arises you will be prepared and know who to call.
As Benjamin Franklin once said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” So it is with poison prevention. Spending a little time each month to make sure your home is safe for your pets may be all it takes to prevent disaster and keep your furry friends happy and healthy for years to come.