Steven Hansen CEO By Dr. Steven R. Hansen   Every year, thousands of pets die or become ill from poisoning. According to the ASPCA, its Animal Poison Control Center answers more than 200,000 calls for help annually. And, sadly, many of these tragedies could be prevented with a few simple precautions.   Today begins National Poison Prevention Week, and the Arizona Humane Society wants to ensure that our four-legged friends remain out of harm’s way and healthy. Here are a few tips to help keep your pet safe:   Know the Dangers Common dangerous substances that your pet may encounter typically fit into the following categories:   • Human medications, such as ibuprofen, antidepressants and acetaminophen • Human foods, including chocolate, onions, garlic and especially grapes and raisins • Insecticides and rodenticides, especially garden and agricultural pesticides and mouse and rat poisons • Dietary supplements and vitamins, including iron and Vitamin D • Common household cleaners, like bleaches, drain cleaners and concentrated detergents • Common plants, including lilies, tulip bulbs and oleander   Keep Poisons Out of Reach Preventing poisonous encounters is as simple as keeping dangerous items out of a pet’s reach. Do not leave pills, pill bottles or other items on counters, and secure all pills, cleaners and insecticides in closed cabinets above the counter or in drawers where they are not accessible. Note that ibuprofen is the most common medication poisoning in dogs and one extra-strength acetaminophen can be lethal to an adult cat. Also be very careful when handling pills so your pet does not ingest one that has been left on the ground. Never assume that human medication is suitable for a pet and discuss all options with your veterinarian first.   Know the Symptoms of Poisoning Although symptoms of poisoning can vary, they often include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, lack of appetite, staggering or trouble breathing. If your pet does exhibit these signs, call your veterinarian immediately, visit the nearest 24-hour emergency veterinary hospital or call the Animal Poison Control Center 24/7 at 888.426.4435. In addition, pet owners can invest in an emergency first-aid kit for their pet, but will need to consult their veterinarian first regarding how and when to use those items.   For more information, please visit ASPCA Animal Control Poison   Dr. Steven R. Hansen is President and CEO of the Arizona Humane Society. He has nearly three decades of experience in animal welfare, including a vast medical background. Prior to joining AHS, Dr. Hansen spent 15 years with the ASPCA and led the team responsible for implementing the organization’s Animal Poison Control Center.
March 16, 2014