National Poison Prevention Week is March 20-26, 2016.

March, 2016

National Poison Prevention Week is March 20-26, 2016.

For more than 50 years and since its inception by Congress in 1961, the third week in March has been designated as National Poison Prevention Week. This year it falls on March 20-26.

Poisoning is a pet emergency that causes a great deal of confusion for pet owners. In general, any products that are harmful for people are also harmful for pets. Examples include cleaning products, rodent poisons and antifreeze. But you also need to be aware of common food items that may be harmful to your pet. The AVMA brochure Household Hazards  offers a summary of what foods and common household items may pose a danger to your pet. Additional information and examples can be found on the other Web sites.

If your pet's skin or eyes are exposed to a toxic product (such as many cleaning products), check the product label for the instructions for people exposed to the product; if the label instructs you to wash your hands with soap and water if you're exposed, then wash your pet's skin with soap and water (don't get any into its eyes, mouth or nose). If the label tells you to flush the skin or eyes with water, do this for your pet as soon as possible (if you can do it safely), and call a veterinarian immediately.

If you know your pet has consumed something that may be harmful, or if the animal is having seizures, losing consciousness, is unconscious or is having difficulty breathing, telephone your veterinarian, emergency veterinary clinic or the Animal Poison Control Center hotline (888.426.4435 – available 365 days/year, 24 hours/day) immediately. There is a fee for the consultation.

If possible, have the following information available:

  • Species, breed, age, sex, weight and number of animals involved
  • Symptoms
  • Name/description of the substance that is in question; the amount the animal was exposed to; and the length of time of the exposure (how long it's been since your pet ate it or was exposed to it).
  • Have the product container/packaging available for reference.

Collect any material your pet may have vomited or chewed, and place it in a plastic sealable bag to take with you when you bring your animal in for veterinary treatment.