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Healthy Balance

Pet Poisoning: No, Your Dog Really Shouldn’t Eat Chocolate

cat sniffing medication on the floor. prevent pet poisoning by picking up meds immediately

Kristin Wenger, education coordinator for the Blue Ridge Poison Center, contributed this post. It's repurposed from The Antidote, the poison center's newsletter.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating to people, families, businesses, schools, and more. But there is one area that has seen some benefit. There has been an unprecedented increase in people adopting and fostering homeless pets.

In fact, many animal shelters around the country have reported that they are running low on dogs and cats. With so many new pet owners among us, this is a good time to remind everyone about pet poisoning.

What's Poisonous to Dogs and Cats?

“My puppy just licked paint from a spill on the floor; what should I do?”

“My cat just ate part of my houseplant; is it poisonous?”

These are examples of calls to the Blue Ridge Poison Center from frantic pet owners whose animals chewed, swallowed, or played with something harmful. Like young children, animals don't know what's safe and what's poisonous.

Some foods and medicines that are safe for people may not be safe for animals. Substances that are poisonous to animals, such as antifreeze, chocolate, or bone meal fertilizer, might actually smell and taste good to them. Dogs in particular explore the world with their mouths, just as babies do.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), these common foods and home and outdoor items could make your pet sick.

In the Kitchen: Human Foods That Poison Pets

Around Your House: Dangerous Cleaning Products & Other Items

In the Garage: Chemicals & Gasoline

In the Yard: Poisonous Plants & Fertilizers

This isn't a complete list. If you suspect your pet swallowed or chewed on anything unusual, call your veterinarian or an animal poison control center.

Poison Prevention

Most poisonings, animal or pet, happen by mistake

There are two animal poison control centers in the U.S. Both are staffed by veterinarian toxicologists. They're open 24 hours a day, every single day. (Note: Both animal poison control centers charge a small consultation fee.)

Pet Poisoning Prevention

Of course, it's always better to prevent, rather than treat, a poisoning.

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