When was the last time you pet-proofed your home? That means looking around to see what sort of mischief your pet could get into, given the chance. March is Poison Prevention Awareness Month, so taking time now to find and secure potential household hazards, including toxins, can go a long way toward avoiding disaster later.

Common Household Toxins

Here are a few of the things to look for during your scan for possible pet poisons:

  • Over-the-counter and prescription medications: The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) reported that these were the most common pet toxins in 2020, accounting for almost 40% of calls they received.
  • Food: Especially grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, macadamia nuts, and cherries
  • Chocolate: Contains caffeine and a chemical called theobromine, which dogs cannot metabolize (dark chocolate is worse than milk chocolate)
  • Xylitol: Sweetener found in sugar-free and other foods, including some peanut butters
  • Rodenticides: Either in the pure form or from eating a poisoned rodent
  • Cleaners and chemicals: Including bathroom, kitchen, window, and car cleaners, antifreeze, paint thinner, pool, and hot tub products, etc.
  • Plants: Especially all forms of lilies, tulips, daffodils, and sago palm

Not only should those items be out of reach, but we strongly recommend making it extremely difficult for pets to even find them. Try to keep at least one hard-to-open door or barrier between your pet and the toxin, and avoid dangerous plants in your home, especially if you have cats.

Signs & Symptoms

Pets who consume toxins may behave strangely or display mild to severe symptoms, depending on the amount they ingest. Call your vet if you notice:

  • Vomiting or diarrhea, particularly with blood present
  • Excessive drooling
  • Inappetence
  • Lethargy or restlessness
  • Pale gums
  • Seizure or tremors
  • Collapse

Westfield Veterinary Group’s Emergency Care Team is Available to Help

If your pet does get its paws on a dangerous item, you need to act fast. Try to identify the toxic substance, and keep the container, package, or label in hand to save valuable time.

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) is an excellent resource for any animal poison-related emergency, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you think your pet has ingested a potentially poisonous substance, call (888) 426-4435. A consultation fee may apply, but it can be waived if you have a Home Again microchip registration, available through Westfield Veterinary Group.

If your pet needs urgent veterinary care for poisoning or any other reason, bring them to Westfield Veterinary Group immediately. Our Union location is open from 7 am-11 pm for all pet emergencies, including toxicity cases. Call us at (908) 777-8387 to let us know you are on the way. We will discuss our curbside services and COVID-19 protocols before your arrival.