Dog with chocolate .

March 20-26 is National Animal Poison Prevention Week. As an opportunity to raise awareness of all the possibilities out there (in nearly every household, neighborhood, or situation), this is a crucial moment in time. Pets are exposed to all sorts of toxins and highly vulnerable to their far-reaching and widespread effects. Pet owners and veterinary professionals share the obligation to prevent terrible outcomes, and pet poison prevention week is the perfect time to focus on animal welfare and pet safety. 

Reducing the Unintentional

Humans love the concept of control, and rely on our own sense of control in most aspects of our lives. In this way, we can work towards controlling our pet’s environment in order to reduce the chances of placing a pet at risk. We applaud this effort and are always happy to address your pet’s environment. 

The truth is, most pet poisonings occur as a result of accidental or unintentional exposure. Even the most vigilant or hyper-aware pet owner can still face the consequences of a pet poisoning. This means that the ability to recognize the signs of a pet poisoning is equally crucial to a positive outcome. Pet poison prevention hinges on understanding symptoms and acting quickly on a pet’s behalf. 

The Reality Hits

Depending on the toxin, symptoms will vary drastically. With some, pets may show subtle signs that they’re feeling “off.” It can also take a while for the body to metabolize certain toxins, so it’s not an easy leap for an owner to suspect they were poisoned. As soon as you notice symptoms, you should get emergency veterinary help.

The following red flags are known symptoms of pet poisoning:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy 
  • Agitation
  • Racing or irregular heart beat
  • Balance or mobility issues
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Pain

If you know that your pet ate something they shouldn’t have, please don’t wait for symptoms to appear. Because some of the lasting effects of poisoning include kidney failure, liver damage, heart problems, and neurological conditions, it is vital that you seek help STAT.

Pet Poison Prevention

To uphold pet poison prevention this March and all year long, we recommend taking an inventory of possible products inside the home, garage, and around the property. Store medications, cleaners, and other toxins behind closed doors. Keep backpacks, lunch boxes, and purses off the floor. Remove toxic plants and steer your pet away from known toxins while outside. 

The most common threats to pet poison prevention include:

  • Chocolate
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Raisins/grapes
  • Onions/garlic
  • Tobacco
  • Household cleaners like bleach, darin cleaner, detergent, oven cleaner, and furniture polish
  • Rodenticides
  • Xylitol
  • OTC pain/fever reducers
  • Prescription flea/tick medications
  • Gasoline
  • Antifreeze
  • Lilies
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Prescription antidepressants
  • Snail or slug poisons
  • Various wild fungi
  • Spring bulbs

If you are able to pinpoint what your pet ate, we recommend bringing a sample of the item or the product packaging to our hospital. Due to the complicated nature of treating pet poisoning, it is not advisable to administer pet first aid on your own. Please call our staff at (210) 681-1391 so we may help you provide life-saving aid to your pet while en route to our facility. 

This March, we hope you are able to address your pet’s indoor and outdoor environment as a way to participate in Pet Poison Prevention Month.