March is Poison Prevention Month! To raise awareness, here is your guide to pet-proofing your home in order to prevent a pet poisoning.
In the House
Don’t leave any food lying around the house. Also, don’t leave pantry doors open. Remind all house guests not to feed your pet any table scraps.
Foods that are toxic to pets: alcoholic beverages, avocados, chocolate, coffee beans, fatty foods, macadamia nuts, moldy or spoiled foods, onions, raisins and grapes, salt, and yeast dough.
Secure Inside/Outside Trash Cans
Speaking of not leaving food around, this includes inside the trash can. Pets can dig their noses into trash and eat moldy, expired food. Pet owners can prevent this by keeping all trash in sealed, contained trash cans or bins.
Whether it’s human or pet meds, keep them both out of reach of pets. Don’t leave any medication unattended on the counter, lying in your purse, or in an easy-access cupboard.
Many common houseplants or flowers are toxic to your pets, especially cats. Before bringing any plant into your home, make sure it is pet-friendly. If you are uncertain, don’t risk bringing it into your home.
Keep all cleaning supplies in a cupboard that cannot be opened by your pet. To be safe, you can use a child-proof lock.
After your dog goes outside in the winter, make sure you wipe off his/her paws before coming back inside. Get all of the ice melt salt off of your dog’s paws. If he/she licks his paws without being cleaned, there is a chance of poisoning.
Common Household Items
Take note of these common items found around the house that can poison your pets: Mothballs, potpourri oils, coffee grounds, homemade play dough, fabric softener sheets, dishwashing detergent, batteries, gorilla glue, cigarettes, and hand/foot warmers.
In the Garage
Hose down the area if you spill any chemical fluids in your garage or driveway. Keep your pet away from the contaminated area.
Keep car necessities such as gasoline, antifreeze, oil, etc… on high shelves in the garage to save your pet from accidentally licking up a spill.
If you use any rodenticides, keep them out of your pet’s reach. Make sure your pet cannot access any traps that you set around the house. If your pet ingests a rat that was poisoned, your pet can also be poisoned.
In the Backyard
Know which plants, trees, and vegetables are poisonous to your pets and which ones are safe. Lily of the valley, oleander, rhododendron, azalea, yew and foxglove can affect your pet’s heart. Rhubarb leaves and certain species of lily can cause kidney failure. Cycads and some species of mushrooms can cause liver failure.
If you use any chemicals on your lawn or garden, keep your pets away from the area. Weed killer or insecticide can also be dangerous to your pets.
If you suspect your pet has ingested a poisonous item, call your veterinarian right away. If he/she is unavailable or busy with other appointments, call the Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota. Both our Oakdale and St. Paul locations are open 24/7, all year round.