March is National Pet Poison Prevention Month: Keep your pets safe with tips from Best Friends Animal Society

Watching your dog or cat get sick from toxic items or poison is a nightmare for any pet owner. Symptoms of poisoning can be especially traumatic, ranging from seizures and vomiting to nosebleeds and diarrhea.

“Nobody wants to see their pets suffer in such a painful way or, worst-case scenario, have a fatal incident. That’s why it’s important to make sure your home environment keeps dogs and cats as safe as possible,” said Dr. Erin Katribe, veterinarian and medical director for Best Friends Animal Society.

As March is Pet Poison Prevention Month, Best Friends encourages pet owners to protect their pets from potential ingestion of any of the following: Antifreeze; Bait for rodents; Batteries (which can contain corrosive fluid); Car care products, such as cleaners or oils; Fertilizer; Gorilla Glue (or similar products); Household cleaners; Ice-melting products; Medications – prescribed and over-the- counter; Nicotine products; Pesticides for insects; Pool or pond products

“Pets can be very inquisitive, so it’s always best to keep these items in a sealed cabinet area that your pets cannot have access to, whether that’s in the home, in a shed, or in a garage,” said Katribe said. “If you use any of these products, always make sure to clean up any spillage immediately and thoroughly so ingestion can’t happen that way, either.”

Food can be toxic to pets, so it’s always important to remember to never give or allow your pets to have access to any of the following: Alcoholic beverages; Substances containing caffeine, such as coffee; Chocolate; Fatty foods, especially drippings and grease from cooking Chicken and turkey bones; Grapes and raisins; Onions and garlic; Macadamia nuts; Salt and sugar; and Yeast or bread dough.

“Plants can also be toxic and poisonous to pets,” Katribe said. “These plants include English ivy or holly, lilies, Chinaberry, iris, poinsettia, pokeweed and daphne. For cats, even contact with the pollen of some lilies can be severely toxic.”

Should your pet show any signs of poisoning, which include vomiting, diarrhea; seizures; blood in stool; paralysis; loss of appetite; bruising; nosebleeds; irregular heartbeat or inability to urinate; a veterinary consult is in immediate order.

Call your veterinary office or an emergency clinic as soon as possible to let them know of your pet’s symptoms and what they could have possibly ingested. The veterinary staff may be able to provide instructions on how to help decrease the severity of the situation prior to coming in or they may advise that you come in immegiately,” Katribe said. “Time is of the essence when it comes to minimizing the dangerous effects of any poison, so every second counts.”

Founded in 1984, Best Friends is a pioneer in the no-kill movement and has helped reduce the number of animals killed in shelters from an estimated 17 million per year to around 625,000. embers nationwide, For more information, visit bestfriends.org.