March is one of our favorite months of the year at Pet Poison Helpline because it is Poison Prevention Month! This is a great time to talk about toxicities to pets that often occur from animals ingesting common household items.
Pet Poison Helpline is excited to announce our new video series, “Paws on Safety: One Minute Pet Clinic”. This is a series of short, one minute educational videos for pet owners to help educate them on common toxins that may be harmful to their pets. Each video clip features Pet Poison Helpline’s veterinary toxicology experts and highlights important topics such as pets ingesting human foods, human medications, xylitol, chocolate and lilies.
To kick of Poison Prevention Month, check out our first video of the launch on Human Medications Toxic to Pets:
Common household medications include non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAID’s), Acetaminophen, Antidepressants, ADD/ADHD medication and benzodiazepines. All of these medications may cause severe toxicity to pets. NSAID’s and acetaminophen can be particularly toxic and cause stomach ulceration, as well as kidney and liver failure.
Many pet owners keep their medication in the same area as their pet’s medication. Because of this, pets are often mistakenly given the owner’s medication instead of theirs. Depending on the medication, this can lead to severe toxicity. Storing pet medication in a different location from human medication can help reduce the risk of accidental ingestion.
Improper storage of medications is frequently the cause of severe toxicities. Human medications are commonly ingested by pets. This is frequently due to the medications being easily accessible by pets. Plastic bags, weekly pill boxes and non-child proof containers are easily destroyed and opened by pets. While child proof containers make it more challenging for animals to open, it is still possible if they were to break the container open. To help avoid accidental ingestions of medications by animals, it is recommended that all medication be kept high and out of pet’s reach. Keeping medications in a cabinet or room where the pet does not have access to, will help minimize the risk of accidental ingestions.
These ingestions often occur due to improper storage of medication or inappropriately giving a human medication to pets.