Sunday, March 20, 2011

National Poison Prevention Week

National Poison Prevention Week
- by Miriam Woodruff, DVM, Fenway Bark Stay.Play.Heal.

March 20th – 26th marks National Poison Prevention Week.  To celebrate the importance of this week, Fenway Bark would like to remind everyone of some easy ways to keep your pets safe!  Following is a list of common things around the house and yard that can be harmful to your pet.
At the end of the list are helpful tips about what to do if you suspect your dog or cat might have gotten into something toxic, including symptoms to watch out for.
Remember to always stay calm if you suspect your pet has been poisoned!  Make sure your dog or cat is in a safe place, and call your local emergency veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Hotline (888) 426-4435.
Common Food Hazards
Many everyday human foods are harmful and even lethal to pets. Read this list carefully. You might be surprised!  For example, did you know that mere raisins (and grapes!) can cause acute kidney failure and even death in your dog in a matter of hours or days?  Or that macadamia nuts can cause temporary paralysis? Click on the links at the bottom of the page to learn more.
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Avocado
  • Bones that have been cooked (raw bones are okay)
  • Chocolate (in all forms)
  • Coffee (in all forms)
  • Fatty foods
  • Garlic
  • Grapes
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Moldy or spoiled foods
  • Onions, onion powder
  • Raisins   
  • Salmon that’s raw (deadly – salmon poisoning disease)
  • Salt
  • Tomatoes
  • Wild mushrooms
  • Yeast dough
  • Xylitol (sweetener used in candies, sugar-free gums and mints)
Warm Weather Hazards
Keep a close eye on your pets in the warmer seasons. Be sure toxins are out of reach or safely locked up. Even seemingly harmless stuff as cocoa mulch can be extremely toxic to dogs: it contains the same chemical that’s in chocolate.  Be on the lookout for toxicity symptoms in your pet, and call your veterinarian if you have questions.
  • Animals—toads, insects, spiders, snakes and scorpions
  • Blue-green algae in ponds
  • Citronella candles  
  • Compost piles
  • Fertilizers
  • Flea products
  • Fly baits containing methomyl
  • Herbicides
  • Mulch with cocoa
  • Outdoor plants and plant bulbs
  • Slug and snail baits containing metaldehyde
  • Swimming-pool treatment supplies
Human medications can be potentially lethal to pets, even in small doses. You might be tempted to give your dog or cat some Tylenol - don’t!  Tylenol can cause death within hours in cats, and a day or two in dogs.  Don’t give your pet any medication or supplements without consulting a veterinarian. In the case of accidental ingestion, call your vet right away.
  • Anti-cancer drugs
  • Antidepressants
  • Cold medicines
  • Diet Pills
  • Pain killers of ANY KIND
  • Vitamins
Cold Weather Hazards
Some household products like antifreeze are sweet and tasty, increasing the likelihood that your pet could ingest some. Be sure these products are out of reach. Some products such as ice melts are now available in pet-safe forms.
  • Antifreeze
  • Ice melting products
  • Liquid potpourri
  • Rat and mouse bait
Common Household Hazards
Be sure your cleaning supplies and other household hazards on this list are safely out of reach of pets and in a secure place. 
·       Baits for rodents, snails, slugs or other pests
·       Batteries
·       Cleaning supplies, such as bleach, acids, alkalis and other detergents
·       Fabric softener sheets
·       Insecticides
·       Mothballs
·       Post-1982 pennies (due to high concentration of zinc)
·       Rat and mouse poisons of any kind
Plants and Flowers
Many house plants and outdoor plants are harmful if ingested by your pet. For instance, lilies can cause life-threatening kidney failure in cats, while sago palms can cause liver failure in dogs and cats. Keep house plants and bouquets away from your dogs and cats.  Be sure to click on the links below for more information on the variety of toxic plants that are a danger to your animals, and what they look like.

What to Do IF!
If you think your dog or cat has been poisoned:
·         Stay calm!
·         Secure your pet in a safe place
·         Do NOT give any home antidotes
·         Do NOT induce vomiting without consulting a vet or the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline

What if your pet seems normal?
If you suspect that your pet may have become exposed to something toxic, but is not showing signs of illness, contact your local veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline at (888) 426-4435.  Not all exposure situations require an immediate trip to the clinic, but your vet will know for sure.
If your pet does NOT SEEM NORMAL, call the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline or your local emergency veterinarian right away.
Here are some symptoms never to ignore:
·         drooling
·         vomiting/diarrhea
·         weakness
·         convulsions
·         difficulty breathing
·         staggering
While many things will make a dog drool, vomit, be tired or have convulsions, this combination in an otherwise healthy pet should immediately alert you to the possibility of poisoning.
As always, STAY CALM!  If your dog is showing combinations of the above symptoms, call your local emergency veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control hotline (888)426-4435 right away.
Have the numbers ready!
You should have the number of your local veterinarian AND the number of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline conveniently located in your house and in your wallet/purse (or better yet, stored on speed-dial on your phone).
Information you will need when call your emergency vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Hotline at (888) 426-4435
When you call your local veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline at (888) 426-4435, be ready with the following:
·         species, breed, age, sex, weight of your pet
·         symptoms
·         information about the exposure, including the toxic agent or poison if you know it, and the time elapsed since the time of exposure
·         save the product container or package for reference, if possible
·         collect in a sealable plastic bag any material your pet may have chewed or vomited

Some Useful Links
ASPCA Poison Control Center

 ASPCA List of Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants

Cornell University Searchable Database of Poisonous Plants

How can I check to see if my pet food has been recalled?

How to make a Pet First Aid Kit