Let’s not become a statistic: Observe Poison Prevention Awareness Month

Published 7:03 pm Tuesday, March 12, 2019


K9 Corner

March is National Poison Prevention Awareness Month and the third week in March (17-24) is National Poison Prevention Week. It is also Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month according to the Four Muddy Paws website.

Email newsletter signup

I had to retrieve an email from Dr. Nancy Kay’s Spot Speaks to get information on the various poisons our dogs can consume and the results of eating these poisons, and update the information from Four Muddy Paws.

The first thing I plan to do is take inventory of what is in and around my house and outbuildings — to see if I have anything on the list that I should either dispose of and make sure is safely stored. Both of the articles I read listed only 10 categories. The following are the 10 products most often called in at Poison Control Centers.

Prescription human medications: such as cardiac medications and antidepressants.

Insecticides: These can be mild like ant bait or catastrophic like insect spray.

Over-the-counter medications: such as cold and allergy medications, vitamins and minerals, NSAIDS such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and even caffeine pills.

Household Products: including chewing on fire logs (intestinal blockage) and especially cleaning supplies which can cause corrosion to the gastrointestinal tract.

People Food: dishes containing onions, garlic, grapes, raisins and the sugar substitute Xylitol. In dogs these products can cause kidney failure, GI upset and damage to red blood cells (onions and garlic). Xylitol causes dangerously low blood sugar levels.

Veterinary products and medications: Often flavored, which inspire dogs to eat the whole bottle if they can get to it. (Put med bottles in upper cabinets.)

Chocolate: Methylxanthine is the substance in chocolate that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, elevation in heart rate and even seizures. Dark chocolate is more toxic.

Rodenticides: (poisons for rats and mice) some cause internal bleeding, seizures, and kidney failure in dogs when eaten.

Plants: Lilies are the major culprit. They cause abrupt onset of kidney failure. Therapy can be performed including dialysis which is expensive. Also philodendron and dieffenbachia.

Lawn and Garden Products: Fertilizers containing bone meal, manure from all kinds of critters, and even cacao bean shell mulch, which has a chemical theobromine that can be lethal to dogs and cats. It smells like chocolate and really attracts dogs. There is an example given in one of the articles of a dog eating this mulch and dying within 17 hours. Analysis of the stomach revealed a lethal amount of theobromine.

One article I read for all poisonings both human and animal said “they receive 2.1 million calls a year from people seeking help for poisoning. It is the leading cause of unintentional death.”

However, that is just one Control Center, there are a number of them across the country and there were no statistics for the total number. Let’s be careful and not become a statistic.