Responsible pet owners spend a lot of time and energy trying to keep their pets safe. Sometimes, however, a pet’s curiosity or boredom aligns with a rare opportunity, and before you know it, you’ve got a pet poisoning on your hands. Without a doubt, we bring lots of potentially dangerous items into our homes. Whether it’s plants, food, medications, or chemicals, your pet’s domain could be full of hazards.

A Great Defense

One of the best things you can do is eliminate your pet’s risk of exposure to harmful toxins. Survey your home closely and try to see things from your pet’s point of view. Can your pantry door open easily? Are your bathroom cupboards closed all the way?

Also, take inventory of what’s inside your house, garage, garden shed, and yard. Always make sure dangerous items are stored properly (out of sight, out of mind). Reducing your pet’s access to exposure is key.

Know the Score

Even when we follow through with pet-proofing, pets have a knack for finding harmful things. Of course, they don’t know whatever they’re eating, licking, or sniffing is actually dangerous. They’re just experiencing the world through their nose and mouth.

As soon as you know or suspect that your pet ate something toxic, please contact your veterinarian immediately. After normal business hours, we keep a line open at (256) 232-0698 until 9 p.m. Afterwards, please contact either the Animal Emergency Clinic of North Alabama or Veterinary Regional Referral Hospital.

Save as much of the evidence as possible, such as plastic wrappers, bottles, or labels, to help with diagnostic testing and treatment.

See the Signs

Signs of a pet poisoning can be immediate or they can take up to 3-4 days to surface. Symptoms also depend on what a pet was exposed to. For example, some toxins cause GI disruption or upset; others affect the neurological or cardiovascular systems. The liver or kidneys can be directly affected by certain poisons, as well.

In general, it’s imperative to look for these signs and seek help as soon as possible:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Drooling
  • Twitching
  • Tremors
  • Seizures

The Chances of a Pet Poisoning

The Pet Poison Helpline tracks all calls and maintains records that show common culprits for pet poisonings. Be sure your pet never has access to any of the following items:

  • Chocolate
  • Xylitol-sweetened baked goods, gum, or candy
  • Rat or mouse bait
  • Any medications (this includes flea/tick prescriptions and over-the-counter meds)
  • Grapes or raisins
  • Lilies
  • Fertilizers
  • Cleaners (oven cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, etc.)
  • Essential oils
  • Onions
  • Garlic
Check out this comprehensive list from the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. Know what’s at stake in our seasonal safety tips blog.

Remember, we’re only a phone call away. Please let us know how we can help you and your pet!