March is National Poison Prevention Awareness Month, and here at Mobile Vet M.D., we couldn’t ask for a better time to go over the basics of pet poisoning with our readers. If you know or suspect your pet has ingested or been exposed to a potential toxin (medications, rodenticide, antifreeze, household chemicals, etc.), time is of the essence.
Knowing what to look for, what to do, and having a plan in place ahead of time will help you remain calm under pressure and ensures your pet will get the care they need.
A Pet Poisoning Emergency Plan
Every moment counts during a pet poisoning emergency. Make sure you know what to do should the worst happen:
- Take action. Step in as soon as you’re aware your pet is into something dangerous. Remove the toxic substance or get them out of the area. If toxic fumes are involved, open a window or door immediately. Gather up any packaging or other identifying information. Remember, even if your pet is acting normally, they still may have been exposed to the toxin and will need to be seen by a veterinarian.
- Make the call. Call the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-213-6680. They’ll help you determine if the substance your pet came into contact with is poisonous and what you should do next. Follow their instructions, and don’t attempt to give your pet any remedies or induce vomiting unless instructed to do so. Be sure to have a credit or debit card on hand to pay the fee associated with the call.
- Get help. If your pet needs treatment, proceed immediately to the closest emergency veterinary hospital. Make sure you bring your pet’s medical records and any packaging you collected from the potential toxin.
Because you may not have witnessed your pet getting into those sugar-free cookies or licking up that puddle of cleaner you accidentally spilled, it’s important to pay attention to any warning signs of a pet poisoning. Symptoms can include:
- Bloody stool
- Pale gums
- Loss of appetite
- Problems urinating
- Bleeding from the nose
- Irregular heartbeat