Next Week is National Animal Poison Prevention Week!


This Week is National Animal Poison Prevention Week

Austin—The 50th anniversary of National Animal Poison Prevention Week is March 18–24. This will mark five decades of protecting pets. Poison prevention week aims to educate individuals on preventative measures so less pets and children get harmed. This week also aims to teach what to do if your pet does get accidentally poisoned. It is crucial to know what to do immediately if a situation arises. 

Pet proofing your home is the best preventative measure to keep your furry friends safe. Here at TVMA we want to stress the importance of paying attention to what pets are getting into, even in a common household setting. Most people are unaware of what can actually poison and harm your pets. 

“One of the best ways to prevent a possibly fatal accident is to make sure puppies and kittens are never left to roam the house unsupervised until they are out of the teething/chewing and mischievous stage,” said Dr. Lori Teller, DVM, DABVP, of Meyerland Animal Clinic in Houston. “Dogs and cats explore with their mouths which is often detrimental in a household setting. Plenty of dogs and cats have chewed there way into a backpack or briefcase rooting around for a piece of candy or leftover lunch so make sure those items are always out of reach as well as trash cans. Often dogs and cats can open low cabinets, so make sure those are secure as well.”

Dr. Teller also suggests pet proofing your house room by room as follows:

Kitchen (The most dangerous in the house according to Dr. Teller):

-Pets must avoid common foods like chocolate, coffee, grapes (raisins, currants), sugar-free candy containing xylitol (it causes liver failure), onions/garlic, table scraps (especially if fatty or contains bones that pets can choke on), compost, macadamia nuts, alcohol and unbaked dough.

-All household cleaners should be kept high where pets cannot reach them or secured in cabinets they cannot open.

-Do not keep birds in the kitchen if you cook with Teflon pots and pans, because if they overheat they emit toxic fumes that will kill the bird.


-Keep all medications (OTC and prescription), inhalers, vitamins etc., in out of reach places.

-NEVER treat your pet with human medication without prior approval from your veterinarian as some medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen are EXTREMELY toxic to pets.

-Always keep the toilet bowl lid closed, especially if you are using automatic bowl cleaners.

-Make sure your medication and your pet’s medication do not get mixed up. (This happens more often than you might think.)

Living Areas:

-Many plants are poisonous. Some examples are lilies (especially important with Easter coming up!), Sago palms, Lily of the Valley, tulip bulbs, daffodils, cyclamen, kalanchoe and autumn crocus.

-Spare change is also toxic. Pennies contain zinc, which can cause many problems including gastrointestinal symptoms, hemolytic anemia (pale gums, lethargy, weakness), and possibly even organ failure and death. 

-Home fragrance products are also very toxic—especially liquid potpourri.

-Secondhand smoke can lead to leukemia and lymphoma and cigarette butts can cause nicotine poisoning.

-Batteries are toxic, including small ones within iPods, phones and gaming devices.

Garage/Utility Room:

-Fabric softener sheets are toxic if chewed or eaten.

-Mothballs are poisonous.

-Rodenticides and insecticides are fatal and designed to encourage ingestion, so don’t leave those where a pet can eat them. 

-Antifreeze, brake fluid and windshield wiper fluid are fatal.

-Gorilla glue is toxic.

-Fertilizers and plant foods are toxic (bone or blood meal).

-Snail bait causes neurologic symptoms and death.

-Cocoa mulch is toxic.

-Citronella candles, fly baits and swimming pool supplies are also toxic.

-Keep pets out of the yard until all sprayed-on herbicides have dried.

-Oleander, a common outdoor plant is toxic.

The best thing an owner can do if suspicious of toxin exposure is to call their veterinarian ASAP. If you know what your pet got into, save the package or label, so the veterinarian will know what ingredients are in the product and in what quantity. If possible, try to quantify the amount your pet consumed (full bar of baking chocolate, 1/2 bottle of Advil, etc). Some toxins require vomiting to be induced, and in other cases that’s contradicted. Owners can also contact the Pet Poison Helpline at 1/800-213-6680 or ASPCA Animal Poison Control at 1/888-426-4435 for more information as well.