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March is pet poison prevention month.  At AVC our primary mission is pet health and accident prevention.  Learning the potential harmful poisons in your house and yard is the first step in keeping your dog or cat safe.  Some poisons are well known, while others might be new to you. Some of the more obvious poisons for dogs include anti-freeze, slug and snail bait, fertilizers, and household cleaners.  Some of the lesser-known poisons for dogs include chocolate, grapes, raisins, alcohol, caffeine, onions, and marijuana.

            The majority of common poisons for dogs are also poisonous for cats.  In addition to these common poisons, some lesser known substances are poisonous to cats.  These include antidepressants, lilies and insoluble oxalate plants (e.g., Dieffenbachia, Philodendron), essential oils, glow sticks, and many over-the-counter medications.

            The symptoms of a poisoned pet will depend on the type of poison they were exposed to. Symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, blood in the stool, lethargy, loss of appetite, nosebleeds, and trouble breathing, walking, or standing.  The severity of your pet’s illness will depend on which and how much of a toxic substance your pet ingested. Some toxins will cause immediate severe symptoms, while others may cause delayed symptoms not as easily observable.

            If you suspect your pet has been exposed to or ingested a toxic substance, bring them to the vet immediately.  Most poisonings can be treated successfully if veterinary care is provided quickly.  Provide the vet with as much information as possible regarding how your pet was exposed, the amount of exposure, and the time period.  If possible, bring in the packaging or a sample of the substance.  Do not try to treat your pet yourself by inducing vomiting or diarrhea.  If your pet has multiple symptoms, make a note regarding the onset, frequency, and duration.  This is important information for the doctors.

            If you have a Home Again microchip membership, it includes 24 hour access to the ASPCA poison control hotline, a very cool perk of membership. 

            Remember that at AVC our mission is animal health and wellness through education and prevention.  Thank you for taking the time to read up on how to keep your pet safe.  If you want additional information on preventing pet poisoning, please feel free to call and talk to our staff.