March Is Pet Poison Prevention Month: Here Are Common Household Hazards To Avoid

Woman worried about her pet cat getting medicine.
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March marks Pet Poison Prevention Month, a critical time to spotlight the hidden dangers lurking in our homes that can jeopardize our furry friends’ health. Dr. Renee Schmid, a senior veterinary toxicologist at Pet Poison Helpline, sheds light on common household hazards and provides invaluable advice for pet owners to prevent accidental poisonings.

The Peril of Human Medications

Jack Russel dog getting fed a medicine pill.
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One of the most common mistakes pet owners make is administering human pain medications to their pets in times of distress. “No one wants to see their beloved pet in pain, so when you see them suffering, it is common to reach for your nearest pain reliever to help them feel better,” said Dr. Renee Schmid, a senior veterinary toxicologist at Pet Poison Helpline.

Dr. Schmid emphasizes that animals, especially cats, are highly sensitive to these drugs, with NSAIDs like ibuprofen and naproxen posing significant risks. A seemingly benign act of compassion can have fatal consequences, as these medications can lead to severe toxicity in pets.

Medication Mix-ups: A Dangerous Oversight

Woman and cat at vet receiving medicine.
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The convenience of storing pet and human medications in the same location can lead to potentially deadly mix-ups. Do you have a specific place where you store all of the medication in your house?” Dr. Schmid asked. “If so, you are not alone! Many pet parents will keep their pet’s medication in the same area as their own medication and have been known to give their pet the human medication by mistake.”

Dr. Schmid warns of the grave dangers posed by giving pets human medications, especially skeletal muscle relaxants and heart or blood pressure medicines, which can have fatal outcomes.

Home Remedies for Vomiting: Think Twice

Dog vomit on floor.
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In an attempt to provide quick relief, some pet owners may induce vomiting in their pets without professional guidance. Dr. Schmid cautions against this practice, particularly in cats, for whom there is no safe at-home method to induce vomiting. Even in dogs, only a veterinarian or poison expert should oversee this process, as incorrect methods can lead to severe complications.

The Hidden Threat of Household Cleaners

Cleaners that are toxic to pets.
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Household cleaners, such as toilet bowl cleaners, pose another risk when left accessible to pets. The corrosive nature of these products can cause serious internal injuries if ingested, highlighting the importance of secure storage and pet-proofing cleaning areas.

Trash and Compost: A Toxic Buffet

Dachshund dog digging through trash.
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Moldy foods thrown into the trash or compost can attract pets with their scent, leading to ingestion of tremorgenic mycotoxins that cause severe neurological symptoms and potentially death. Dr. Schmid advises securing trash and compost bins to prevent pets from accessing harmful substances.

Rodenticides: A Double-edged Sword

Rat Poison trap in corner of building.
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While rodenticides can effectively control pests, they also pose a significant poisoning risk to pets. Dr. Schmid recommends using bait stations and keeping these toxins out of pets‘ reach to mitigate the risk.

Beware of Party Favors: Alcohol and Caffeine

Dog looking sad next to glass of alcohol.
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Pets are far more sensitive to alcohol and caffeine than humans. Leaving these beverages within reach can lead to accidental ingestion, with small amounts causing significant health issues and potentially fatal outcomes.

In closing, Dr. Schmid reminds pet owners that mistakes happen, but the key is to act swiftly by contacting a veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline in case of suspected poisoning. The Pet Poison Helpline stands ready 24/7 to assist pet owners and veterinary professionals in managing poisoning incidents, offering expert advice to ensure the safety and well-being of our beloved pets.

For more information or immediate assistance, pet owners can reach the Pet Poison Helpline at 800-213-6680 or visit www.petpoisonhelpline.com for resources and guidance.

Corey Turner
Corey Turner, owner of FurBallFun.com, draws on a lifelong love for dogs and extensive pet ownership to offer a unique perspective in the pet industry. With a successful background in project management, he excels in critical analysis, precise attention to detail, and quality assurance. This expertise allows him to effectively differentiate true value from marketing hype in the pet sector. Corey’s contributions have been featured in various publications including Rockery Press Guide Books and WealthofGeeks.com. During his free time, he enjoys disc golfing, rock climbing, and bonding with his cherished FurBall friend, Harvey.