Pet Poison Prevention

Hello, I’m Dr. Rhiannon Koehler, one of the shelter veterinarians at Great Plains SPCA and this week is pet poison prevention week. So, we wanted to talk to you about some of the common poisons or toxins that we see pets ingest and some of the steps that you can take to try to prevent your pet from eating something poisonous. Some of the common toxins that we do see pets ingest can include over-the-counter medicines such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, herbal supplements or even vitamins. It’s important to remember that these medications are intended for human use may not be safe for your pets and definitely should not be given to them without a veterinarian’s recommendation. We also do see pets consume human prescription medications the most common being antidepressants, but we also do see them eat ADHD meds, thyroid medications, cardiac medications and other medications, intended for people.

Our next category is food. One of the common types of food we see pets ingest that could be toxic for them are sugar-free items containing xylitol. Usually this is in gum, but there are some other objects, such as peanut butter, that contains xylitol. So keep that in mind other toxic foods can include grapes, raisins, onions and garlic. You’re probably thinking about chocolate now, but we kind of give chocolate its own category. It’s extremely common for dogs to eat chocolate and we kind of feel bad for them that they’re not able to have that, but it’s not good for them, especially the dark chocolate and baking chocolate.

Veterinary products can become toxic if ingested in large quantities. Some of them are made to taste pretty good and we to try to encourage the animal to eat those products, so they may decide they want to eat the whole bag. Make sure you’re keeping those products safely away and following your prescription labels. If you ever have a question about a prescription, make sure to reach out to the veterinarian that wrote that prescription, so that we can make sure you’re taking your pet is taking those medications appropriately.

Other toxins can include household products such as paint, rodenticide, insecticides and garden products, like fertilizers. Some plants can be toxic, particularly with cats. We worry about lilies, so those are kind of some of the most common toxins that we do see our pets ingest .

What can you do to try to keep your pets safe? It’s important to make sure that you’re keeping food safely put away. Consider your pet’s intelligence as well. Some pets know how to open the pantry and open drawers, so make sure you’re keeping those objects out of reach. A common way that we see animals get into particularly sugar-free gum chocolate and medications is by getting into purses and backpacks. It’s a smart idea to either, not carry those objects in your purse or backpack, or if you have to have them with you, make sure you have a safe place to store your purse or backpack that your pet cannot get into.

Make sure you’re storing chemicals and other items like garden fertilizer safely away where your pet can’t get into them. Then with medications, it’s also important to remember that child proof does not mean pet proof. Many pets are easily able to chew through child proof bottles so make sure you consider that and keep your medications locked away.

If you’re ever concerned that your pet may have eaten something that they shouldn’t have, make sure to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. There are also pet poison helplines that may have a consultation fee and then after hours, there are emergency vets as well, who can help you with a potential toxin ingestion. If you’re worried that your pet may have eaten something they shouldn’t have, it’s important to try and reach out as soon as possible. The sooner you try to get help, the better your pet’s potential outcome will be and we want to make sure that we’re keeping everybody’s pets safe and healthy. So thanks for tuning in today and happy pet poison prevention week!

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