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March is Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month. You may think it’s easy to keep hazardous substances away from pets, but accidental spills, dropped pills, and even beautiful bouquets can spell disaster for dogs and cats if they’re consumed.

Common Household Toxins

  • Over-the-counter and prescription medications: The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) reported that these were the most common pet toxins in 2020, accounting for almost 40% of calls they received.
  • Food: Especially grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, macadamia nuts, and cherries
  • Chocolate: Contains caffeine and a chemical called theobromine, which dogs cannot metabolize. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is.
  • Xylitol: Sweetener found in sugar-free and other foods, including some peanut butters
  • Rodenticides: Either in their pure form or from eating a poisoned rodent
  • Cleaners and chemicals: Including bathroom, kitchen, window, and car cleaners, antifreeze, paint thinner, pool and hot tub products, etc.
  • Flowers and plants: Especially deadly to cats are all forms of lilies, tulips and daffodils, from bulb to bloom
  • Mushrooms and berries: Many are non-toxic, but those that are can be very harmful, so it’s better to assume the worst and avoid them altogether.

Signs & Symptoms

Poisoned pets may display mild to severe symptoms, depending on the amount they ingest. Call your veterinarian immediately if you notice:

  • Vomiting or diarrhea, particularly with blood present
  • Excessive drooling
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lethargy or restlessness
  • Pale gums
  • Seizure or tremors
  • Collapse

We recommend that all pet parents use these resources to become familiar with signs of poisoning:

If your pet eats something poisonous, you’ll need to act fast. The smaller the pet, the less toxin it takes to cause serious illness or even death. It’s essential to try to identify what your pet has ingested. Call your primary care veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline at 888-426-4435 promptly. Tell Poison Control or the veterinarian what your pet ate, how much and when, and what their symptoms are so they can form the best treatment plan. If your pet needs urgent care, bring them to an after-hours or 24/7 animal emergency hospital like BEVS.

BEVS Is Available 24/7 to Help Your Pet

BEVS is the only 24/7 veterinary emergency and specialty hospital in the state, and our emergency veterinarians are experienced and trained for pet poisoning cases. No appointment is ever necessary for emergency care, but please call us first at 802.863.2387 so we can prepare our team and advise you on what will happen when you arrive.

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