When pets ingest something that they shouldn't, the consequences can be serious or even fatal. Every third week in March marks National Poison Prevention Week, a week of recognition to raise awareness about poison hazards and educate pet lovers about what they should do to keep their four-legged family members safe.
Pet owners are often unaware of a multitude of hidden dangers lurking their homes. Familiarize yourself with a list of common poisoning hazards that includes both food items and non-food items.
You may be surprised to learn that some foods that are good for you are not safe for your pet:
• Grapes or raisins
• Unripened tomatoes
Make sure to keep packages or plates of unsafe food where pets can’t reach them.
Pet owners need to be conscientious about the cleaning products that they use inside their homes. Household cleaners commonly contain noxious chemical irritants that are poisonous to animals.
If your pet walks on a surface that you have just cleaned with bleach and then licks its paws, it could become very ill. Likewise, cleaning the inside of a sink with chemicals or using a drain cleaning product somewhere that your pet drinks from is very dangerous.
If your pet likes hanging out in your yard, make sure that the area is free of plants that are toxic to pets. Ingesting toxins in plants could make your pet extremely sick.
Be wary about outdoor pesticide treatments. The chemicals in pesticides do not dissipate quickly, and many are unsafe for pets to come into contact with.
It can be hard to know whether your pet ingested something poisonous if you didn’t catch it in the act. Here are signs of poisoning to watch out for:
• Not eating or drinking
• Shallow breathing
If you suspect that your pet has ingested a poisonous substance, you have to treat it as an emergency situation. A wait-and-see approach is extremely risky. If your suspicion is correct, prompt treatment is your pet’s best chance of recovery.
Many types of poisoning may cause kidney failure, and that can represent a more extreme and imminent risk than gastrointestinal upset. Addressing acute renal failure as quickly as possible could prevent serious kidney damage.
It is important to bear in mind that owners of puppies and kittens have to be extra vigilant about poison prevention. Young animals are still learning what is and isn’t food. Also, they have the urge to bite just about everything that they see while they are teething, and they explore their surroundings with their mouths. The team of care providers at Pet Hospitals of Hawaii has extensive experience helping animals recover from episodes of poisoning. If you have questions or concerns about exposure to poisonous substances, contact us at one of our three locations.