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Tips to keep your pet safe and help you avoid a trip to the veterinary emergency hospital

Poison Prevention Week (Mar. 18 – 24) was established to help raise awareness and prevent illness and injuries for pets.  But in reality, we need to focus on poison prevention all year long as Emergency and Critical Care Specialists treat cats and dogs year round for this condition.

Pets may become very ill after ingesting many common household foods, products, and plants; a thorough inspection of your home—outside areas included—can help reduce the risk. Instinctively, pets are curious creatures—particularly cats—and if a partially empty container with cleaner, alcohol, medications, etc. is left out, your pet may “investigate.” It’s not hard to imagine that when a spilled toxic fluid gets on a cat’s paw, she will clean herself with her tongue, ingesting something harmful. Unfortunately, with our pet’s smaller bodies and weight, just a small amount could be fatal.

Common household foods and products. There are numerous human foods which can be toxic to pets. Here are some of them:

  • Alcohol
  • Bones
  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus oil extracts
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Moldy foods
  • Medicine/ supplements

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Symptoms of accidental poisoning.  Some poisons will result in an immediate reaction for your pet while others may take several days to manifest symptoms. While there is not one set of exact symptoms to indicate a pet has been poisoned, there are some general symptoms to look for, including:

  • Drooling, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea
  • Lethargy, weakness
  • Pale or yellowish gums
  • Excessive thirst or urination
  • Nervousness, hyperactivity, muscle tremors, seizures, coma

If you witness your pet ingesting something he/she should not be, safely collect the materials involved. When seeking veterinary care, bring the product’s container with you, this can be helpful for veterinary professionals treating your pet.

If you suspect a pet poisoning, it’s important to seek emergency veterinary care. If your family veterinarian is not available, we offer 24-hour emergency care at WestVet, no appointment is necessary, bring your pet day or night for immediate help.