March is Poison Prevention Month: Beware Hidden Poisons

We love our animals and tend to protect them like they’re our children. However, we tend to forget that there are items that are perfectly safe for us but unsafe for our pets. Cats and dogs often metabolize food, medicine and chemicals differently than we do, and if they ingest something that is poisonous to them, it can lead to serious health problems.

Look around your house:

1. Are all of your prescriptions in safe, pharmacy-issued containers? Are they stored out of reach?
Dogs are curious creatures, and many will eat any and all pills or medications they find on the floor. Tall dogs will often snoop around the kitchen counter looking for food and will sometimes instead find medicine they shouldn’t have. Ingesting medicine can make them very sick or can even be fatal, depending on the type of medicine.

2. Are your cleaning chemicals in closed containers? Are they stored out of reach?

Many of our cleaning supplies smell or taste sweet, so dogs ingest them, thinking they’re a tasty treat, and become ill. Cats are at risk because they like to explore inside cabinets. If there is any chemical residue on the outside of these bottles, the chemicals can contaminate a cat’s coat when she rubs on the bottles. Then, during her next grooming session, she will ingest the poison and get sick.

3. Is mouse poison tucked away? Have you considered other options?

Mouse poison is a well-known concern for pet owners. Given the chance, dogs will eat the pellets like a mid-day snack. Cats, however, will hunt the mice that have ingested the poison, eating the mice and becoming poisoned themselves. This is called secondary poisoning. In either case, cats and dogs are at risk of death without veterinary intervention.

As March is Pet Poison Prevention Month, please look around your house and make sure that it is as safe as possible for your four-legged companions. For more examples of household chemicals and ways to prevent accidental poisonings, please check the Humane Society of America website.