March Is Pet Poison Awareness Month

Each year, we treat a number of unfortunate pets for exposure to a variety of different toxic household substances and foods. While accidents happen, there are some important steps you can take as a pet owner to prevent poison exposure. In the case of poisoning, preparedness is key to quick diagnosis and treatment for your pet. Keeping emergency phone numbers and the Pet Poison Helpline handy can speed up this process should you need assistance quickly.

While the list of toxins is too numerous to list, we have included some of the most common ones below. Sometimes, it’s difficult for owners to know whether something is toxic or not. This is where the Pet Poison Helpline comes in handy especially if exposure occurs outside of business hours. There is a lot of incorrect information out there online. It is best to be certain and call the experts in situations like this where time is of the essence.

Call us during business hours or after hours call:
Please note, there is a charge to use this service.

TOP 10 Dog Poisons:

  1. Chocolate (read Dr. Berman’s blog on chocolate toxicity)
  2. Mouse and rat poisons (rodenticide)
  3. Anti-inflammatory medications
  4. Xylitol is sugar-free gum and human foods
  5. Grapes and raisins
  6. Antidepressant medications
  7. Acetaminophen
  8. Vitamins (especially chewable flavoured ones)
  9. Prescription drugs such as stimulants
  10. Fertilizers and pesticides

TOP 10 Cat Poisons:

  1. Lilies (all Lilium species)
  2. Spot-on flea/tick medication meant for dogs (do not use your dog’s products on your cat)
  3. Household cleaners
  4. Antidepressant medications
  5. Essential Oils (New and increasing in occurrence recently)
  6. Anti-inflammatory Medications
  7. Mouse and rat poisons
  8. Stimulant Medications
  9. Onions and garlic
  10. Vitamin D overdose

Prevention Tips Based on Some Common Scenarios:

Over the years, we have treated many pets in various circumstances for poisoning. Here are a few basic tips to help prevent accidental pet poisoning. While they may seem like common sense, we feel they are important to iterate. As you may have noted, these lists contain a number of human medications. Keeping prescriptions safely tucked away in cupboards is super important. Do not leave them on counters or in open handbags where curious pets may roam. Flavoured and chewable medications are especially tempting to pets.

If you have cats, inform friends and family about how toxic the lily flower is to your cats. These flowers contain a very dangerous toxin that damages the kidneys. This way, you can avoid embarrassing explanations when presented with bunches of flowers from well-meaning guests.

Garbage cans are a popular source of poisoning in pets. Purchase bins that seal properly. Keep food waste in the freezer if possible or make it inaccessible while you are not in the house. Fatty foods, mouldy or spoiled food, and bones are all common problem garbage foods that we treat pets for regularly.

Lastly, if you have the least suspicion that your pet has been exposed to a toxin, please call us or the Pet Poison Helpline. We are here to assist you and more than happy to answer your questions.

Written by: Jill Whitfield, Hospital Manager