Pet Poison Awareness
In 1961, Congress established the third week in March as National Poison Prevention week to raise awareness and help prevent accidental illness and injuries from common household poisons. Over the years, this has grown from one week to encompass the entire month as National Pet Poison Awareness Month. This year marks 50 years of spreading awareness and education to pet parents on how to prevent pets from ingesting potentially toxic substances, and what signs and symptoms to look for in pets that may have been poisoned.
One of the best resources for every pet parent is the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center. They maintain a wealth of research and annually updated statistics on common household poisonings and provide a 24/7 hotline to call with any questions or concerns about what your pet may have accidentally ingested and their symptoms. According to the ASPCA’s APCC, the top household hazards to your pet are as follows:
- Over-the-Counter Medications
These everyday household medications make up nearly 20% of calls to the APCC’s hotline. Your pets metabolize these medications differently than humans do, and common OTC drugs like acetaminophen, ibuprofen and herbal supplements can cause life-threatening complications.
- Prescription Medications
Just like OTC medications, prescriptions like antidepressants, stimulants, thyroid or cardiac medications can cause dangerous symptoms in pets like gastrointestinal ulcers or even kidney failure.
- Food Products
12% of calls to the APCC are concerning a pet that ingested human food. Grapes, raisins, onions and garlic are common culprits, as well as the artificial sweetener xylitol found in gum and even some peanut butters.
While chocolate is a food product, the APCC receives so many calls concerning it that chocolate is listed in its own category. Chocolate contains methylxanthines which cause panting, excessive thirst and urination, abnormal heart rhythm, and even seizures.
- Veterinary Products
While monthly preventatives are necessary for your pet’s health, flavored medications and misread labels can lead to accidental overdoses.
ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center: (888) 426-4435
ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center App – APCC by ASPCA – Free Mobile App providing quick reference to common hazards to pets