How to Prevent a Pet Poisoning Emergency

Sad catThere are few situations more frightening than a pet poisoning emergency. Unfortunately, hundreds of pets succumb to household and environmental toxins each year. In observance of National Poison Prevention Week, the team at Berks Animal Emergency & Referral Center wants to raise awareness about common home and garden products that can harm your pet.

Lawn and Garden Pet Toxins

With spring just around the corner, you may be looking to spruce up your yard, prep the garden beds, or clean out the shed. However, the products used to support your efforts can be hazardous to a curious fur friend.

From mulches to fertilizers, backyards can be danger zones when it comes to your pet’s safety. To avoid a pet poisoning emergency, be on the lookout for the following items:

  • Mulch containing cocoa bean hulls/shells
  • Pesticides (especially those used on roses)
  • Additives or fertilizers that contain blood meal or bone meal
  • Compost (could contain garlic, onions, or highly toxic molds)
  • Toxic plants (e.g., sago palm, lilies, tomato plants, crocus, daffodil, and mountain laurel)
  • Slug and snail bait traps

Rodenticides and Other Pest Control Poisons

Along with lawn and garden chemicals, warmer weather also marks the arrival of numerous pests, such as ants, mice, and cockroaches.

While most rodenticides and insecticides are great at eliminating infestations, their effects are not just harmful to pests. In fact, Bromethalin is a common type of rat poison that can lead to difficulty breathing, lethargy, hemorrhaging, or cause cerebral edema. Bromethalin has neurotoxic properties and acts differently than the anti-coagulant rodenticides. Other pesticides can also cause a range of symptoms from vomiting to seizures.

To protect your pet, always choose humane rodent traps (trap and release) and pet-safe insecticides.

Hops Toxicity

Hops Toxicity is something we have seen a few cases with people who are home brewing beer. Hops is a plant used in the process of brewing beer.  Hops toxicity can be fatal depending on the amount ingested. Signs of hops poisoning can include some of the following:

  • Elevated body temperature
  • Anxiety
  • Vomiting
  • Increased Breathing

As home brewing rises in popularity, you need to make sure your pet stays away from it.

Other Spring Cleaning Pet Safety Tips

Another chore many of us tackle this time of year is cleaning out the garage or attic. When diving into those old dusty boxes, remember that your dog or cat may also be curious about the contents. Therefore, it’s best to find a safe place for your pet to be while taking on this task.

Be especially cautious about where you store the following:

  • Auto chemicals (antifreeze, coolant, brake fluid, etc.)
  • Cleaning products
  • Paints, lacquers, and paint thinners
  • Drain openers
  • Pool chemicals

What to do During a Pet Poisoning Emergency

One of the most dangerous mistakes an owner can make is to wait for symptoms to emerge. If you know your pet has ingested a toxic substance, call us immediately or visit the nearest veterinary emergency clinic.

Assuming you did not see your pet swallow a poison, be aware of the following warning signs:

  • Vomiting/diarrhea
  • Panting
  • Drooling
  • Restlessness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tremors
  • Loss of mobility

Remember, the most important factor in preventing a pet poisoning emergency is awareness. We encourage you to get educated about pet toxins and evaluate the safety of your home and yard. If you are ever in doubt, just contact us!