Pet Poison Prevention: Five Safety Tips for New Pet Owners

Cats and dogs are curious creatures, always exploring, and sometimes getting into things they shouldn’t. Certainly, there is no need to fuss over a little mess. However, you do need to pay attention: some common, seemingly harmless items can pose a grave risk for your furry friends. In honor of National Poison Prevention Month, follow our tips for pet poison prevention.

Pet poison prevention: know the dangers

Certainly, half the battle is knowing what a pet poison is. Common foods such as chocolate, mushrooms, grapes, raisins, onions and garlic are dangerous for your furry friend to ingest. So is Xylitol, a chemical commonly found in chewing gum. Additionally, household items like antifreeze and rat poison can cause severe issues. Even household plants can be a dangerous pet poison, especially lilies. And, needless to say, keep your prescription drugs (as well as recreational marijuana and alcohol) away from your pet, too.

Some toxins are more dangerous than others, but better to be safe than sorry. Find a full list of poisonous household items here.


Pet poison prevention: keep it out of reach

Now that you know what household pet poison risks are, take a good look around your home with fresh eyes. In particular, what potential toxins do you have lying around? Really think about it from your pet’s perspective and puppy proof away.

Certainly, identify safe ways to secure dangerous foods and medicines. Likewise, find alternatives to dangerous household plants, noxious cleaners or pest deterrents. Also, don’t forget about purses or bags. We keep lots of goodies in them that could cause problems. Think of it as a small-scale tidying project.


Pet poison prevention: know the signs of toxicity

Of course, mistakes happen. Pets get into garbage, get ahold of a child’s snack or find some way to get into trouble. If you are worried your furry family member has ingested a pet poison, identify the poison. Also, know what signs to look for, so that you can clearly communicate with medical professionals. Take your pet to the veterinarian or emergency clinic immediately if you see any of the following signs:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excess drool
  • Loss of appetite
  • Blood in vomit or cough
  • Pale gums
  • Heart racing
  • Lethargy or inability to move
  • Excess thirst or urination
  • Decreased urination
  • Black or tar-like stool
  • Yellowing of the gums
  • Abnormal behavior


Pet poison prevention: keep emergency contact information readily available

If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, take them to your local clinic immediately. Unfortunately, emergencies happen when we are least prepared. So do yourself and anyone who is watching your pet a favor and create an emergency list. Keep it on clear display. Some items to include:


Pet poison prevention: talk to your veterinary professionals

The saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Certainly, when it comes to pets and toxicity nothing could be truer. Talk to your trusted veterinarian. Make sure you are aware of breed-specific concerns and your veterinarian’s recommendations for preventing toxicity. Additionally, make sure you are up to date on your pet’s medical insurance. Treating emergency pet toxicity can get costly, and you don’t want to make an emotional decision based on finances.

About Trupanion
Trupanion is a leader in medical insurance for cats and dogs throughout the United States and Canada. For almost two decades, Trupanion has given pet owners peace of mind so they can focus on their pet’s recovery, not financial stress. Trupanion is committed to providing pet owners with the highest value in pet medical insurance with unlimited payouts for the life of their pets. For more information, please visit