Monday, March 17, 2014

National Poison Prevention Week

As this is National Poison Prevention Week, we wanted to take a moment to remind you of the many household items that can be deadly to your pet - both indoors and out.

We've written several times over the past few years about common food ingredients that are harmful to pets. The danger varies depending on the type of item ingested, as well as the amount. In some cases, it can just be a worrisome irritant. In others, it can be deadly.

Here's a list of dangers we've highlighted or written about.
Click on the links to view more information:
Onions: one common food item
that can be dangerous to pets

(For a more complete list, check out the Pet Poison Helpline's list of poisons, here


As the Polar Vortex finally (finally!) exits, more and more people are pursuing outdoor activities. In many cases, this can include cleaning off all the winter gunk from your cars, and replenishing things like washer fluids and antifreeze.

First, that gunk clinging to the bottom of your cars that you wash off this time of year? It varies from city to city but can include sodium chloride, calcium chloride, potassium chloride, magnesium chloride, and ferrocyanide salts - and these are harmful both to the environment and to wildlife. So when you hose that car down, don't let your dog or cat lap at the water runoff.

(And if you have a silly girl-cat like we have, don't allow her to roll around on your driveway. What's the first thing cats do when their fur is all dirty? Groom themselves. That's just another way they can ingest that harmful road gunk!)

Second, antifreeze. Antifreeze is one of the deadliest of substances to small animals (and children, too). A shockingly small amount can kill (read more about it here).

Another commonly used outdoor item at this time of year is especially hazardous to cats: insecticides, fertilizers and herbicides.

Specifically, I'm referring to a chemical pyrethroid ingredient called permethrin.

Permethrin is a deadly nerve toxin that impacts cats - and less often, dogs. It's actually an active ingredient in dog flea/tick collars, which is why you must never, ever put a dog flea collar on a cat.

Odd-eyed Lily by Jason Farmer
You will find permethrin in countless lawn and garden products, too, as it is commonly used for pest control.

If you use a product with permethrin in it, know that any small mammal that walks across your lawn before the chemical dries will end up with permethrin in its system - either by being soaked up through paw pads, or by ingestion as the animal cleans its paws and fur.

You can find countless stories online of grieving pet parents who lost a beloved family member because they were not told this. Please be aware of this serious danger!

Finally, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention one other hazard to both dogs and cats - and that's the choking hazard. If you're not in the habit of checking out the toys you buy for your pet before you give them, this article may change your mind!

We know we've sent you in a lot of different directions in today's post with its link-fest of topics, but we hope that this provides you with a resource to turn to if you have any questions.

Monday Medical Disclaimer: 
I am not a veterinarian, and the information provided here is not intended in any way as a substitute for professional veterinary care. Nor should it be used to self-diagnose for your pet. This information is for educational purposes and to provide you with reputable documentation you can use to pose informed questions of your own to the veterinarian of your choice.


  1. Good points and we had forgotten about Lilies. Have a marvellous Monday and Happy St Patrick's Day and may luck be with you.
    Best wishes Molly

  2. Can never be repeated enough........also...there are TONS AND TONS of plants that are poisonous that people aren't aware of. I bring NO living plants into my home.
    I also get upset when I see bells on cat toys.....CUT THEM OFF...they can be swallowed......
    Cut handles off of bags or NEVER leave a cat unattended with ANY bag with a handle, they can choke.
    The list goes on and on!

  3. These are all great tips and warnings. Some are good reminders and some we'd not even thought of before! Gotta keep our kitty-kids safe!

  4. Excellent words for this time of year! Thanks yous!

  5. always good to be reminded of the dangers to our kitties that are out there..

  6. Thanks so much for this post - I shared it on Twitter!

  7. This is a great reminder! Thank you for posting this.

  8. This is such important information! Thank you for sounding the alarm, because this is stuff that can never be repeated enough.

  9. That is great information, we never thought of those plants . Thanks for keeping us on our toes :) Happy Paddy Day xxoxx

    Mollie and Alfie

  10. Wow. Mumsy even Instapapered your article so we can do a good inventory of what we got around here. It's mostly in the kitchen she's worried about. On account of the few houseplants she's got sit in the window in the you-can't-go-in-there room.
    Great Article!
    :-) Hugs and thank you.

  11. Thank you for the timely reminders. There are so many dangers inside and out that we as pet parents must be aware of all of the hazards!

  12. toujours important à savoir, et intéressant

  13. Really informative article, thank you so much. (We got rid of our snow globe when we read about it the first time, too scared to take any risks with it.)


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