Poison Prevention Information

A high percentage of calls that came through the ASPCA Poison Center were related to animals ingesting prescription medications including cardiac medications, anti-cancer oral and topical products, pain medications and antidepressants.

"If not treated immediately, some of these medications can be deadly to our pets, even in small doses." In order to prevent a poisoning, Dr. Hansen recommends that pet owners keep all prescription and over-the-counter medications in closed or locked cabinets above the counter.

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center offers the following guidelines to protect pets from being poisoned in and around the home:

Read all of the information on the label before using a product on your pet or in your home. If a product is for use only on dogs, it should never be used on cats; if a product is for use only on cats, it should never be used on dogs.

Mothballs, potpourri oils, coffee grounds, grapes and raisins, homemade play dough, fabric softener sheets, dishwashing detergent, batteries, cigarettes, alcoholic drinks, pennies and hand and foot warmers are just some of the many household items and foods that can be dangerous to your pet.

Be aware of the plants in your home and yard. The ingestion of azalea, oleander, sago palm or yew plant material by your pet can be fatal. Easter lily, day lily, tiger lily and some other lily species can cause kidney failure in cats.

Make sure your pets do not go on lawns or in gardens treated with fertilizers, herbicides or insecticides until they have dried completely. Always store such products in areas that are inaccessible to your pets. If you are uncertain about the usage of any product, ask the manufacturer and/or your veterinarian for instructions.

Be alert for antifreeze/coolant leaking from your vehicle. Animals are attracted to the sweet taste and ingesting just a small amount can cause an animal's death. Consider using animal-friendly products that use propylene glycol rather than those containing ethylene glycol.

When using rat, mouse, snail or slug baits, or ant or roach traps, place the products in areas that are inaccessible to your pet. Some bait contains sweet smelling inert ingredients, such as jelly, peanut butter or sugar that can attract your pets.

Keep a pet safety kit on hand for emergencies. The kit should contain:

- A fresh bottle of hydrogen peroxide 3% (USP)

- Can of soft dog or cat food, as appropriate

- Turkey baster, bulb syringe or large medicine syringe (for administering medications)

- Saline eye solution to flush out eye contaminants

- Artificial tear gel to lubricate eyes after flushing

- Mild grease-cutting dishwashing liquid (for bathing)

- Rubber gloves (for use during bathing)

- Forceps to remove stingers

- Muzzle to keep the animal from hurting you while it is excited or in pain

- Pet carrier to help carry the animal to your local veterinarian

Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435 if you suspect that your pet has ingested something poisonous.

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center is the premier animal poison control center in North America. Established in 1978, the Center is the only facility of its kind staffed by 25 veterinarians including five board-certified veterinary toxicologists and ten certified veterinary technicians. Located in Urbana, IL, the specially trained staff provides assistance to pet owners and specific analysis and treatment recommendation to veterinarians pertaining to toxic chemicals and dangerous plants, products or substances 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week.

In 2001, the Center handled over 65,000 cases. The Center recently launched the Veterinary Lifeline Partner Program to make it easier for veterinarians to quickly respond to poison emergencies. In addition, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center also provides extensive veterinary toxicology expert consulting on a wide array of subjects includes legal cases, formulation issues, product liability and regulatory reporting. To reach The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center you can call 1-888-426-4435. For more information on the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center visit apcc.aspca.org.