National Poison Prevention Week, which falls on the third week of March each year, is taking place from the 20th to the 26th this year. To commemorate this event, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals/National Animal Poison Control Center (ASPCA/NAPCC) is reminding pet owners about the importance of poison safety. Here are some tips on creating a poison-free environment for pets:
* Never let your pets access the areas wherein cleaning agents are being used or stored. Some cleaning agents may cause mild stomach upset, while others can severely burn the tongue, mouth, and stomach.
* Keep all pesticides, medications, and cleaners in a secured location.
* See to it that your pets do not enter areas wherein house sprays or insecticidal foggers have been applied for the period specified on the label.
* Most baits have ingredients that can attract your companion animals. When using baits or traps, place them in areas that are inaccessible to your pets.
* Consult your vet before purchasing a flea product, especially when the animal is ill, debilitated, or pregnant.
* Store all prescription and over-the-counter drugs out of your pets’ reach, preferably in closed cabinets. Vitamins, diet pills, antidepressants, and pain killers are some examples of human medications that can be lethal to animals, even in small doses.
* Never leave chocolate out in the open.
* If you’re not sure about the correct usage of a product, contact the manufacturer and/or your vet for directions.
* Certain plants can be fatal to animals if ingested, e.g. castor bean, oleander, azalea, sago palm, yew, and Easter lily (cats only). Be aware of the plants in your home and yard.
* Many common household items can be fatal to pets, including coffee grounds, mothballs, fabric softener sheets, cigarettes, potpourri oils, hand and foot warmers, and dishwashing detergent.
* Keep automotive products such as oil, gasoline, and antifreeze in areas that are inaccessible to your companion animals.
* Never give your pets medication unless instructed to do so by a vet. Several medications that are safe for humans can be deadly for animals.
* Never use “for dogs only” products on cats and vice versa.
* Always follow directions and read the entire label before using a product on your pet or in your home.