March is Poison Prevention Awareness Month, and this week is National Poison Prevention Week. Not only can humans, especially children, become poisoned due to chemicals, prescription drugs, and other substances, but so, too, can our pets. Antifreeze, weed killer, and other household products can be harmful, even deadly for dogs and cats.
Plants can also be dangerous, and with the Easter season upon us, it's a good time to remember that some species of lilies, including the Easter Lily, are toxic to cats, according to experts at the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). The Easter Rose is toxic to cats, dogs, and horses. The organization maintains a website showcasing the various plants which are poisonous to pets: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control
Did you know that some human foods can also be dangerous to our four-footed friends? Items such as grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, chocolate, and yeast dough can be harmful to our companion animals, and other types of human food can hurt livestock, such as goats and horses.
Consumer Affairs, an online free resource of consumer news and interactive tools, has partnered with the ASPCA and Dr. Justine Lee to create a special guide to help dog owners understand and learn more about the different, potentially dangerous human foods.
I spoke with Danielle Thompson, Content Marketing Specialist with Consumer Affairs, about the guide.
“It's a free resource.... (that) demonstrates what happens when your dog eats something it shouldn't and when you should worry and possibly call your vet,” she said. “It's an animated infographic.”
People who visit the site can select a certain food, click on it, and click through the site to better understand if the dog has consumed something that may be toxic; the information given can help the pet parent determine if this is an emergency situation.
“It's time saving, money saving,” she said.
Find this interactive tool at https://www.consumeraffairs.com/pets/pet-food/#dangerous-foods.
Consumer Affairs worked with the ASPCA to compile the top 10 most dangerous human foods for dogs, the ones the ASPCA receives the most calls about. The tool helps “de-mystify” the danger, Thompson said.
According to the ASPCA, nearly half of Americans have dogs as part of their household.
“We wanted to put together this tool in one place (to help pet parents),” Thompson said. “We are a leader in consumer advocacy – our mission is... to give consumers piece of mind. We love our pets and we want for them to be well... so we partnered with Dr. Lee to create this tool.”
Other pet-related information on the Consumer Affairs website includes a pet insurance guide and information about various pet foods. People may also find pet food and treat recalls on the site, Thompson said. Currently, the dangerous food guide is about those items that affect dogs. Content about foods harmful to cats may be forthcoming, Thompson said.
Between the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control website and the Consumer Affairs Dangerous Foods guide, we as pet guardians have wonderful resources at our fingertips to help protect our furry friends. If you're concerned that your pet has been poisoned, visit the two websites, contact your local veterinarian, or call the ASPCA's animal poison control hotline: 1-888-426-4435.
Again, the two websites are:
Consumer Affairs: https://www.consumeraffairs.com/pets/pet-food/#dangerous-foods
ASPCA Animal Poison Control: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control
Gayle M. Irwin is a writer and public relations professional who volunteers with various animal rescue groups. She enjoys sharing her books and her passion for pets and the environment with others.