March is National Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month, and the third full week of March is National Poison Prevention Week. In 2021, it starts on March 21st. It’s an important time to learn about some crucial ways to ensure our dogs have safe and happy lives. So let’s talk about ways to keep them safe from accidental poisoning. While it’s not something we like to think about, our pets can suffer poisoning from a variety of items in and around our home. Remember, if you ever suspect your dog is suffering from poisoning, call your emergency veterinarian right away. You can also call the 24-hour ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 or the Pet Poison Hotline at 855-764-7661. You may be charged for these services, but if your dog’s life is on the line, it’s worth it. Here are ten tips from vets and specialists discussing what items are poisonous to your dogs and how to keep pets safe.
1. Have A Pet Poison Prevention Kit
It’s important to make sure every pet parent has a pet poison prevention kit. You might think you’re the safest pet parent in the world who would never let anything happen to your dog. However, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Some of the items that the kit should include are:
- liquid dish washing detergent
- rubber gloves
- hydrogen peroxide
- a bulb syringe
- saline eye solution
Check out the video above to learn more about this important kit. Remember, being overly prepared for an accident is better than having nothing ready at all.
2. Lock Poisonous Household Items Away
In the video above, Robert from Grady Veterinary Hospital gives an overview of different household goods that can be hazardous to your dog. The three most common cases he has dealt with are chocolate, gum, and grapes/raisins. He also gives an explanation as to why these items are dangerous, and he goes over how certain ingredients make your animals have a toxic reaction and what the symptoms of the reaction are. You should make a list of these items so you can keep them away from your pet. Lock them up in a cabinet or area that your dog absolutely cannot get to.
3. Make Yourself Aware Of Unknown Poisons
While there are common known poisons for dogs, such as chocolate, some household items you wouldn’t even think of are necessary to hide from your dog. Coffee and coffee grounds, if ingested by dogs, can cause a serious reaction. Onions or even onion powder can cause liver damage. Also, goods like fabric softener sheets and batteries are poisonous. Batteries are especially dangerous because, if chewed, they release battery acid. And dogs love to chew.
4. Remove Poisonous Plants From Your Home
Household goods and human foods are not the only serious danger to dogs. Certain plants can cause poisoning, too. These plants, such as sago palm, oleander, azalea, and spring bulbs, are poisonous and should be kept away from your pets. It can only take just one or two leaves to cause poisoning in a dog. Some signs of poisoning include vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, heart arrhythmia, and neurological conditions. Be sure look up the plants in your entire household because some can be fatal for dogs when ingested.
5. Beware Of Garden Dangers
It’s inevitable that your dog will be going outside throughout their life. Whether it’s in your backyard or going for walks around the neighborhood, your dog still needs to stay safe. Several items used for gardening can be severely dangerous to dogs. Things like fertilizers, mouse and rat poisons, and insecticides can be deadly.
The video above gives you a good explanation of the steps you should take if gardening products are ingested, which includes calling your vet before treating anything.
6. Keep The Chocolate For Humans Only
By now, everyone has probably heard that chocolate is poisonous to dogs. It’s such common knowledge that, even if you don’t have a dog, you probably know this much. However, your dog might have gobbled up some chocolate crumbs on the floor at some point and still have been fine. You may be wondering — why is that?
That’s because, as Veterinary toxicologist Dr. Tina Wismer explains above, it’s more about the amount ingested rather than the actual chocolate. The combination of the weight of the dog, the amount of chocolate, and the type of chocolate can make a difference. That said, you can avoid worrying by simply keeping the chocolate out of reach of your dog. If your pup accidentally eats some chocolate, call your vet right away. Let them know exactly what your dog ate and how much.
7. Watch Out For Antifreeze Poisoning
The problem with antifreeze is that it has a very sweet taste to your dog. If your dog ingests spilled or left-open antifreeze, you’ll need to take immediate action because it can cause critical problems and even death. If you notice a greenish liquid in your driveway, it’s most likely antifreeze. Antifreeze’s active ingredient is ethylene glycol, which is why it has a sweet taste. It’s also found in snow globes.
Remember, only three tablespoons of antifreeze can kill a dog. Make sure to watch this video to see how to help a dog with this type of poisoning.
8. Don’t Let Your Dog Near Human Medications
Most calls to the Pet Poison Hotline involve dogs who have taken human medication. While you would think most people store human medications away from pets, a lot of the time, pet parents actually give their dogs human medication without realizing it will have a different effect on dogs than themselves. This is because pets have a different type of metabolism than humans. Accidental poisoning can also occur if you have your pet’s medication stored with your own. You may mix them up by accident. Dangerous drugs for your dog include non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, anti-depressants, sleep aids, amphetamines, acetaminophen, and naproxen sodium among others.
9. Keep These Deadly Foods Away
Angela found out the hard way when her pooch was poisoned by something she never even knew was poisonous to dogs: grapes. Her dog, Rio, ate some of the drying grapes on her counter, and soon Rio was suffering from acute kidney failure. Rio survived, but she might not have been so lucky.
The damage certain foods do to dogs can change depending on their breed, weight, and what they eat. Some of the most common dangerous human foods for dogs include grapes and raisins, onions, garlic, and macadamia nuts. While chocolate can cause cardiac problems, grapes and raisins can lead to kidney failure.
10. Check For Handbag Hazards
You could spend hours dog-proofing your entire house, but one thing you might forget to check is your purse, backpack, or work bag. If you come home and leave your bag on the couch, you might not realize that it’s a hazard waiting to happen. Advil, an asthma inhaler, mints and gum, and even birth control are items that you do not want your dog to get a hold of. It’s always safer to hang your purse up where it’s out of your dog’s reach because something like sugarless gum, which is likely in your purse, can even cause liver failure.