pet poisoning in your homeOf the many things you do to care for your pet, we hope that poison proofing your home is one of them. It’s amazing (and somewhat scary) to see just how many things in your home and yard can be toxic to pets. Some may only cause gastrointestinal upset (which is bad enough), but others can cause organ failure or even death.

Poison Prevention Week is the third week in March, so Oakland Veterinary Referral Services would like to share a checklist of common household items that may be hazardous to your pet’s health. Together, we can prevent pet poisoning this month and beyond.

Pet Poisoning is an Emergency

First, some basics. If you suspect your pet ate something they shouldn’t, don’t wait. In an emergency, call us right away and come in for an exam. Bring whatever you think they ate-including the packaging.

Another helpful resource is the Pet Poison Helpline, which is staffed by veterinarians who can determine whether your pet ate a toxic dose (for a fee). But remember, poisons act quickly, so don’t waste time on the internet or the phone. It’s always best to get your pet to the veterinarian first; we can call the hotline together if need be.

Signs of Pet Poisoning

Some signs of poisoning are subtle and can vary widely depending on the type and amount of toxin that’s ingested. Symptoms may not be seen for several days. However, if you notice any of the following, please call us right away:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Pale or yellowish gums
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Weakness or lethargy
  • Excessive thirst/urination
  • Collapse
  • Tremors or seizures

Prevent Pet Poisoning in Your Home

Let’s start with how to prevent pet poisoning in your home. There are many places toxins can hide. Some on this list you may know, while others may surprise you:

Kitchen — Certain foods are highly toxic to pets, including chocolate, unbaked bread dough, macadamia nuts, Xylitol, grapes/raisins, onions, and garlic. Also keep your pet away from fatty table scraps, as they can cause pancreatitis.

Living room — Watch for house plants, such as cyclamen, and flowers, such as lilies. Other poisonous plants include holiday decorations like poinsettias and holly.

Utility room — Many cleaning agents can be toxic to pets. When cleaning, keep pets away from any sprays or chemicals. Make sure they don’t drink out of the toilet, especially if you use chemical automatic tank and bowl cleaners.

Bathroom — Human medications can be toxic to pets, so it’s best to store these separately, and keep them out of your pet’s reach. Common human medications that are especially toxic include acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil).

Garage — Antifreeze is extremely toxic and has a sweet taste that’s tempting to pets. Keep this and other chemicals out of reach.

Pet Poison Prevention in Your Garden and Yard

Take a walk through the yard and garden (including storage areas) looking for common pet poisons. Remember to check for the following ingredients in fertilizer and plant food:

  • Bone meal and blood meal
  • Blue-green algae (cyanobacteria)
  • Cocoa bean mulch
  • Fertilizers
  • Mushrooms
  • Oleander and other poisonous plants
  • Rat and mouse poison (rodenticide)
  • Snail bait

We hope this information is useful to prevent pet poisoning in your home and garden. If you have any questions or would like additional help, please contact us. We’re here for you and your pet 24/7 should an emergency arise.