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National Poison Prevention Week: Protect your pets from poisons

By Gary Bogue
Monday, March 15th, 2010 at 6:34 am in ASPCA, Poison, Poisonous plants.

Lab photo by Flickr user kevin rodriguez ortiz used under a Creative Commons License
lab kevin rodriguez ortiz

ASPCA Reminds Pet Parents: Protect Your Pet from Perilous Poisons

It’s National Poison Prevention Week and The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) reminds us that there are a LOT of poisons that our pets can encounter around the house while going about their everyday activities during the week. Please keep that in mind and read the following information carefully. You might even want to print it out and post it on your refrigerator door. It couldn’t hurt. /Gary

From the ASPCA:
Has your dog ever chomped on chocolate? Does your kitty like to snack on plants? In observance of National Poison Prevention Week (March 14 to March 20), the ASPCA sheds light on the most common dangers pets may encounter, and offers helpful advice for poison-proofing your home.

Tuxedo Maine coon cat, Newman

“National Poison Prevention Week is an opportune time to educate pet owners about the many toxic substances that can harm our pets,” said Dr. Steven Hansen, Senior Vice President of the ASPCA’s Animal Health Services. “Our animal companions depend on us to be informed and protect them from danger.”

In 2009, the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) in Urbana, Ill. managed more than 195,000 calls. The public utilized the APCC’s 24-hour hotline for emergency and non-emergency inquiries alike. More on the ASPCA Poison Control Center:

The top calls of 2009 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 2009 was no exception. Last year, the ASPCA managed more than 45,000 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 2009, our toxicologists fielded more than 29,000 calls related to insecticides. “One of the most common incidents is the misuse of flea and tick products,” said Dr. Hansen. “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 17,000 cases in 2009. 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 2009, common household plants such as azalea, lilies, and kalanchoe, were the subject of nearly 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. Read the Directions: Even though veterinary medications are intended for pets, they’re often misapplied or improperly dispensed by well-meaning pet parents. In 2009, the ASPCA managed over 7,500 cases involving animal-related preparations such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, heartworm preventatives, de-wormers, antibiotics, vaccines and nutritional supplements.

About the ASPCA
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA is the first humane organization established in the Americas. One million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501 [c] [3] not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. The ASPCA, headquartered in New York City, offers a wide range of programs, including a mobile clinic outreach initiative, its own humane law enforcement team, and a groundbreaking veterinary forensics team and mobile animal CSI unit. For more information, please visit

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3 Responses to “National Poison Prevention Week: Protect your pets from poisons”

  1. Illinois Poison Center Says:

    Great article! Happy poison prevention week!

  2. Desire & Tra Says:

    Gary, my name is Desire and i herd from a man at the palo alto Vetrans Hospital and he was from the south, he told me to feed hummingbirds fat back??? no sugar??? i am very curiouse . He seemed like he might of studied on that impaticular species alone. I thank you soo much and look forward to hearing from you,
    thank you desire and tra

  3. Ed Gravelle Says:

    Good day Mr. Bogue Just wanted to comment on your aritcle “Spring has Sprung”. While reading your ariticle, which put me mentally outside and seeing what you were writing inspires me and my forever love of nature. Please keepup the grand columns for a least another 25 years, or longer….

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