Has your dog ever chomped on chocolate? Does your kitty like to snack on plants?
In observance of National Poison Prevention Week (March 15 to March 21), the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals sent me the following information that sheds light on the most common dangers your pets may encounter, and offers helpful advice for poison-proofing your home.
Read this carefully. It might even be a good idea to print out and post this information on your refrigerator door. After all … the life you save may be that of your special pet.
In 2008, the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) in Urbana, Ill. managed more than 140,000 cases. The public utilized the APCC’s 24-hour hotline (888-426-4435) with emergency and non-emergency inquiries alike.
More about the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center at http://www.aspca.org/apcc
The top calls of 2008 involved the following common household goods and products:
1. JUST SAY NO TO DRUGS: For several years, human medications have been number one on the ASPCA’s list of common hazards, and 2008 was no exception. Last year, the ASPCA managed more than 50,000 calls involving prescription and over-the-counter drugs, such as painkillers, cold medications, antidepressants and dietary supplements. Pets often snatch pill vials from counters and nightstands or gobble up medications accidentally dropped on the floor, so it’s essential to keep meds tucked away in hard-to-reach cabinets.
2. BUGGED OUT: In our effort to battle home invasions of unwelcome pests, we often unwittingly put our pets at risk. In 2008, ASPCA toxicologists fielded more than 31,000 calls related to insecticides. “One of the most common incidents is the misuse of flea and tick products,” said Dr. Steven Hansen, senior vice president of the ASPCA’s Animal Health Services “Some species of animals can be particularly sensitive to certain types of insecticides, so it is vital that you never use any product not specifically formulated for your pet.” It is also a good idea to consult with your pet’s veterinarian before beginning any flea and tick control program.
3. NO FOOD FOR YOU: People food like grapes, raisins, avocado and certain citrus fruit can seriously harm our furry friends, and accounted for more than 15,000 cases in 2008. One of the worst offenders — chocolate — contains large amounts of methylxanthines, which, if ingested in significant amounts, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst, urination, hyperactivity, and in severe cases, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors and seizures.
4. DON’T EAT THE DAISIES: In 2008, common household plants such as azalea, lilies, and kalanchoe, were the subject of more than 8,000 calls to the poison center. Other varieties that can be harmful to pets include rhododendron, sago palm, and schefflera. “Just one or two sago palm nuts can cause vomiting, diarrhea, depression, seizures and even liver failure,” said Dr. Hansen. “Also, lilies are highly toxic to cats—even in small amounts they can produce life-threatening kidney failure.”
5. DON’T TAKE THE BAIT: Insects are not the only critters that can invade our dwellings — so can mice, rats and other rodents. But before you rush out to buy a chemical bait product, it is important to be aware of the risks they can pose to your pet — last year, the Center handled approximately 8,000 queries about these baits. “Some baits contain inactive ingredients meant to attract rodents, which can be attractive to pets as well,” said Dr. Hansen. “That’s why it’s so important, when using any rodenticide, to place the product in areas that are completely inaccessible to companion animals.”
Some rodents also move poison bait when they find it and leave it in another spot … which may make the poison bait available to pets or children. Just one more reason why it can be VERY DANGEROUS to use poisons. /Gary