Poison Prevention Week

Mar 25, 2017

Mighty tasty, but could it harm your best friend?
Credit rarvesen (Ralph Arvesen) [Flickr]

A pet investigates its world by smelling and tasting and picking things up with its mouth.  Safely storing foods and household items that could pose a danger, or putting plants out of reach, helps to make for a healthy pet (and a happy owner)!


This week has been National Poison Prevention Week, a good time to consider ways we can protect our pets from substances that can be harmful to them.

Most pet owners know not to give their furry friends chocolate. The high fat content alone is not healthy, but chocolate contains theobromine which can affect your dog’s nervous system. Dark chocolate contains higher levels of theobromine, but enough of any chocolate can make an animal sick and could be toxic.

Certain foods can harm our pets, especially those containing grapes or raisins, which could cause kidney failure depending on the amount consumed. Other foods to avoid are anything with garlic, onion, avocado or macadamia nuts.

Xylitol is an artificial sweetener found in a wide variety of candy, gum and snacks, even some breath mints and breath freshener strips. Just a couple of sticks of gum containing Xylitol could cause fatal liver failure in a dog. Keep any artificially sweetened items away from your pet.

One common household item that could harm your four-footed friend is the fabric softener sheet. These handy anti-static disposable sheets contain detergents that can cause indigestion, ulcers in the mouth or esophagus, and fever for the pet that chews on them. Dispose of used sheets carefully and store unused ones safely out of reach of your pet.

There are several household plants that are not pet-friendly, but with Easter coming up soon, remember that the Lily plant can be especially harmful to animals. If a cat munches on any part of the plant, or even drinks the water from the vase, it could pose a danger to your feline friend, resulting in kidney failure or worse.

One helpful tool to keep your pet safe is the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center’s free mobile app. You can find a link on the ASPCA.org website, or search in the App Store or Google Play. It offers one more way to protect your furry buddy from poisonous substances, when you’re speaking of pets.