Pet Poison Awareness Month is March
Posted March 23, 2017
There are many common household goods and human
habits that can harm pets. For Pet Poison Awareness Month, Dr.
Michael Ciepluch, lecturer at the Texas A&M College of
Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, explained how to
protect your pet’s health.
One frequent source of pet toxicity is exposure to common human
foods that are toxic to pets, such as grapes, raisins, onions, and
related plants such as chives, shallots, and garlic. Sugar-free
gum, or any other food containing the sweetener xylitol, also can
be poisonous. Other worrisome household items include antifreeze
and decorative plants such as Sago palm and lilies.
Additionally, Ciepluch reminded pet owners that it is not safe
to treat your pet with over-the-counter pain relievers. If your pet
needs treatment for pain, Ciepluch said to consult your
veterinarian for pain medications that have been approved for use
in pets by the FDA.
“If you are ever in doubt, call your veterinarian or a local
emergency veterinary clinic,” Ciepluch said.
Ciepluch also recommended pet owners to The American Society for
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) website (ASPCA.org) for a
list of toxic foods, plants, medications, and other substances. The
ASPCA also has as an app that allows pet owners to search
toxicities by category for basic information. In the case of an
emergency, the ASPCA has a 24-hour Poison Control Hotline that can
be reached at (888) 426-4435.
Though the consequences of smoking were not given much thought
in the past, doctors and researchers began identifying a strong
association with smoking and certain cancers in humans, causing a
wave of concern in recent generations. In addition to harming
humans, secondhand smoke can contribute to the development of many
diseases in pets.
“Inhaled irritants—such as cigarette smoke, aerosol sprays, and
perfumes—can contribute to the development of chronic bronchial
disease in pets,” Ciepluch said. “This disease is similar to asthma
and requires lifelong medication. Cigarette smoke also contains
carcinogens, substances that can cause cancer.”
Additionally, Ciepluch said recent veterinary studies have
identified a higher risk of certain cancers in pets living in
smoking households compared to non-smoking households. Nicotine
exposure in pets also has become more prevalent with the growth in
popularity of E-cigarettes and vaping.
“Bottom line: don’t expose your pet to secondhand smoke,”
Alcoholic beverages can also cause health concerns for pets. It
is best to keep alcoholic beverages out of your animal’s reach.
“Clinical signs of alcohol toxicity include vomiting, diarrhea,
incoordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty
breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma, and even death,”
Pet health is a reflection of the care pets are given. The
safety of your pets relies entirely on the actions of owners and
the choices you make. As always, consult your veterinarian if you
have any concern for your pet’s health.
Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine
& Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University. Stories can be
viewed on the web at vetmed.tamu.edu/pet-talk. Suggestions for
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