Each March, Pet Poison Prevention Week spotlights the importance of keeping our pets safe from toxic substances. Unfortunately, many things that we can consume and touch without a second thought can cause serious harm to our animals. Ongoing education about what can affect our pets and how is vital. From food to chemicals, we have to be diligent about what our pets have access to.
It can be very scary when you discover your pet has eaten something you know is toxic to them. If this happens to your pet, it’s important to remain calm while you assess the situation. Our fur kids can often tell when we are scared and stressed, and can feel the effects. You’ll also be able to think more clearly if you keep calm. Acting quickly and efficiently can save your pet’s life. Here’s a guide to your next steps if your pet comes in contact with something toxic.
- Take stock
If you witness your pet eating the toxic substance, quickly remove it and/or your pet from the area. Note the ingredients of the product by writing down information from the label or taking a photo. Watch your pet for symptoms and changes in breathing, but know that they may act relatively normal at first even if they’ve been poisoned.
If you notice your pet breathing strangely or acting erratically but didn’t see them eating anything, place them in a safe location with a family member while you search for the potential toxin.
- Call the Pet Poison Helpline or your personal vet
The Pet Poison Helpline is a great resource for these types of situations. While they sometimes have a consultation fee for their services, they can be a major help particularly when you can’t reach your regular vet. You can program their number in your phone (800-213-6680) for easy access. You can also call your vet directly if it’s during operating hours, or if they have an emergency line.
- Do not induce vomiting or give medication
Unless specifically directed by your vet, do not give your pet any home remedies for poisoning or attempt to induce vomiting.
- Transport Safely
If the situation is serious, the Helpline or your vet may direct you to bring your pet in for an emergency visit. Try getting them into their travel carrier if you can to keep them safe and comfortable in the car. If possible, have someone else drive you there so that you can sit with your pet in the car and keep an eye on them.
- Enhance Safety
After the situation is over and your pet is safe and healthy at home, review what it was they ate and where they got it from. Consider moving the item to a new location to prevent future issues. You can also use this time to go over other toxic substances in your house and how to keep them out of pets’ reach.