March is Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month!
We'd all like to believe that our house is the safest of "safe zones" for its human and four-legged inhabitants alike, but did you know that the majority of cat and dog poisonings occur right within the confines of your home-sweet-home? Our pets are unable to read ingredient labels, or be successfully taught what NOT to eat, so the responsibility lies squarely upon us as pet owners to keep them every bit as safe as they are loved. Sadly, a lack of awareness is often the root cause of so many needless and heartbreaking losses each year.
Those of us with kids should already be seasoned pros at keeping chemicals and household cleansers and medications properly secured, and the same principles apply to pets. But foods can tend to be a bit more challenging. Most of us know about chocolate, raisins, and avocados, but what about xylitol? This sneaky sweetener, for example, creeps into a surprising variety of everyday products: toothpastes, mouthwashes, candy, baking mixes, and even some nut butters. Read ingredients closely. Play detective if you must. Companies frequently tend to change up or add ingredients at the drop of a hat - sometimes without adequate disclosure - so it never hurts to routinely double check product labels to ensure their continued safety. A few extra minutes spent at the grocery store can create a more pet-friendly home base and potentially save sweet Fido or Kitty Kat from a world of unpleasantries...or worse.
And synthetic substances aren’t the only potentially dangerous items in or around your home. Nature can be deadly, too. With the onset of flower-bearing Spring, and Easter festivities just around the corner, be mindful that the beautiful but highly toxic lily plants are the cause of numerous feline deaths each year. Admire these pretties from afar, but keep lilies away from your cats. Wild-growing mushrooms and toadstools are also an unfortunate backyard source of curiosity for dogs. It's just better to assume they're all poisonous, and dispose of them before your dog does.
Think prevention and be proactive. Perform routine, thorough “sweeps” of your household to identify and eliminate any potentially accessible pet hazards. Involve and educate your children and family members. Familiarize yourself with what your pet can and cannot safely consume.
Be vigilant. Monitor the news, and even social media sites, for current pet food recalls and advisories. Keep poison control phone numbers and up-to-date toxicity lists close at hand. Know what to do in a worst-case scenario. Knowledge is power.
Share your knowledge - save a life. ️
For more information, including comprehensive lists of known poisonous substances, please visit https://www.aspca.org/pet-