Poison Prevention Week (20th -26th)

National Poison Prevention Week raises awareness of poison prevention nationwide during the third full week of March every year. The week is a time to highlight the dangers of poisonings for people of all ages and promote community involvement in poisoning prevention.  We wanted to take this opportunity to raise awareness of common pet poisons and how to prevent your pet from being exposed.

Pet Poison Helpline provided a list of the top cat and dog toxins to watch out for. These toxins are listed by their commonality, so watch especially for those highest on the lists. Keep this list handy to help keep your pet healthy year round.

Top Ten Cat Toxins

Lilies: All plants in the lily family, if ingested, can cause kidney failure in cats. These plants are common, so be especially careful what types of plants you have accessible in your home.

Household cleaners: Watch especially for concentrated products like toilet or drain cleaners, which can cause chemical burns.

Flea and tick prevention products made for dogs only: Certain pyrethroid-based products can cause tremors and seizures in cats and are potentially deadly if ingested.

Antidepressants: According to Pet Age, cats seem strangely drawn to these medications. Keep them tightly sealed and out of reach, as they can have damaging neurological and cardiac effects on cats.

Tylenol (acetaminophen) and NSAIDs: NSAIDs are drugs like Ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, Aleve, etc.  NSAIDs sold for human use are not safe for dogs and are even more dangerous to cats.  Tylenol and its generic equivalents are extremely toxic in cats. Even NSAIDs meant for pets should be used with caution.

Prescription ADD/ADHD medication: Can cause tremors, seizures or other cardiac problems that could be fatal to cats.

Over-the-counter cough, cold & allergy medicine: Those containing acetaminophen (like Tylenol) are particularly dangerous to cats.  They can do damage to red blood cells and cause liver failure.

Insoluble Oxalate Plants: Other common household plants like the philodendron and pothos can cause oral irritation, foaming at the mouth and inflammation.

Household Insecticides: Most sprays and powders are fairly safe, but it’s best to keep cats away until the product is fully dried or settled.

Glow Sticks: Though these may seem like cute toys to cats, if punctured, the chemicals inside can cause pain and foaming at the mouth. If exposed to these, rinse the mouth with water.

Top Ten Dog Toxins

Chocolate: Dark and baker’s chocolate are the worst, and milk chocolate in large amounts can also be dangerous.

Xylitol (sugarless gum sweetener): Also found in some candies, medications, and nasal sprays, this sweetener causes a fast drop in blood sugar and possible liver failure in dogs.

NSAIDs: Drugs like Ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, Aleve, etc. Dogs are not good a metabolizing these and the continued exposure can cause stomach ulcers and kidney failure.  Do not use human pain medications unless directed to do so by your veterinarian.

Over-the-counter cough, cold & allergy medicine: Particularly those containing acetaminophen or decongestants.

Mouse and Rat Poison: Even small amounts may cause internal bleeding or swelling of the brain in dogs.

Grapes & Raisins: May cause kidney damage.

Insect bait stations: While these stations themselves are not poisonous to dogs, pets who are intrigued by the plastic casing and swallow it may experience an obstruction in their bowels.

Prescription ADD/ADHD medication: Can cause tremors, seizures or other cardiac problems that could be fatal to dogs.

Glucosamine joint supplements: These can be extremely tasty for pets, but in excess can cause diarrhea or even liver failure in dogs.

Silica gel packets & oxygen absorbers: While the gel packets found in new shoes or purses do not pose a significant threat, oxygen absorbers found in food packages, even pet treats, can cause iron poisoning.

Pet Poison Helpline online is a resource available for pet owners to learn what other poisons are out there and how to respond if your pet is exposed to something harmful. Should your pet be exposed to any of these or other toxins that are cause for concern, contact us or the Pet Poison Helpline at 800-213-6680.