Every third week of March is Poison Prevention Week for pets. During this time, take the time to educate yourself and the members of your family on potential poisons for your furry friend. Animals are naturally curious and it’s our job to make sure our pup’s adventures around the house are pleasant.
A little knowledge can go a long way to keep everyone in your house safe, especially those that can’t quite speak up for themselves. There are many online resources that can help you identify hazards around your house so you can keep them tucked away from your curious dog. It’s also a good idea to have the number of an emergency vet or the Pet Poison Helpline in a convenient place just in case your emergency is on a weekend or after office hours.
As you poison proof your home, keep in mind just how ambitious your pup is. Some dogs are content with keeping out of trouble while others may open closed doors, paw at cabinets, or even counter surf to get to something. Depending on your pet, you may want to approach the situation like having a precocious toddler in the house and invest in cabinet locks and door knob covers.
Many substances poisonous to dogs are common sense. Keep household cleaners, rodent and weed killers, and all medicines, even dog-safe medications, locked up tight. Other hazards lying around the house may not be as well known. Glue, electronics, and fertilizers are all potentially dangerous. Chocolate is actually the most popular candidate for pup poison and can be lethal in large doses. It is estimated that pet poison control centers get more calls about chocolate than other substance.
Another practice that can go a long way to keep your dog out of harm is to keep your garbage pails behind closed doors. Spilled trash is more than just a nuisance. Your puppy has a full access to poisons that may include: alcohol, cigarette butts, household cleaners, coffee grounds, bones, and a veritable buffet of foods that are potentially toxic. Another good idea is to keep purses, backpacks, and suitcases out of reach. The average purse often could contain a hodgepodge of potential hazards including xylitol gum, chocolate, cigarettes, battery powered devices, perfumes and more.
As the weather warms and we begin to turn our attention and adventures outside, it’s important to take note potential poisons outside of the home as well. Many plants may prove to be poisonous if ingested around the house or on a hike. Insecticides, herbicides, and rodenticides can be fatal even in low doses. Be sure to read the warning label carefully and keep pets off the lawn until the any applied treatments have dried completely.
It’s important to take swift action if you think that your dog has ingested something potentially harmful. Call your vet, emergency vet, or the Pet Poison Helpline to guide you through the best course of action for your pet. It’s true what they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Preparation is key to keep your best friend safe and happy through his household exploration.