Your normally healthy, active cat is vomiting and acting depressed or tired – and your Easter lily plant has been mauled. Or, your dog has gotten hold of that chocolate cake sitting on the table, and now he's paying the price.
Most veterinarians have fielded those frantic calls from pet owners, whose pets ingested something that made them sick. Pets, like children, depend on us to protect them from harmful substances.
That's why the National Poison Prevention Week, which runs from March 20 to March 26, includes pets. The campaign is an effort to raise awareness about dangerous substances and educate people on how to handle an emergency.
Some of the more common poisons
dogs and cats ingest include insecticides, antifreeze, household cleaning solutions and poisonous plants. Human foods can also be harmful, such as chocolate.
If your pet has ingested a poisonous substance, being prepared can make the difference between life and death. That means knowing how to handle a poison emergency
and contacting your veterinarian or a poison control hotline immediately. There are poison control centers that specifically handle pets. One such center is the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, which can be reached by calling 1-800-365-8951 (charges will apply).
National Poison Prevention Week comes once a year, but safety should be practiced every day. If you suspect your pet has ingested poison, be prepared to answer the following questions when you contact your veterinarian or poison control center. Name of the suspected poison
How much was absorbed, ingested or inhaled
How long ago you believe the poisoning occurred
Weight of your pet
Signs of poisoning: vomiting, tremors, excessive salivation, color of gums, heart and breathing rates and, if practical, body temperature
The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center is launching an engaging, fun and educational feature on their website (www.apcc.aspca.org) titled "Make Your Pet's Home Poison Safe" to educate pet owners about common household toxins and guidelines to prevent accidental pet poisonings in the home.