Poison Prevention Week (Part 1)

The third week in March is “National Poison Prevention Week”. We want to make sure that you don’t forget the furry family members as they are often the most vulnerable!

It’s scary when a pet is suddenly ill, and when it comes to poisonous substances, those situations are usually avoidable. Being preventative now means not having to feel regret later!

Awareness is the key to avoiding poisoning emergencies. “Almost 91 percent of calls to Pet Poison Helpline in 2012 involved dogs – a testament to dogs’ curious nature and indifference to eating just about anything.” Nearly half of those calls were for dogs that got into human medications! Here are some of the most common poisons to watch out for:

Human Medications/Supplements

Pets getting into OTC or prescription medication often involved antidepressants or common OTC drugs like Tylenol or which can cause serious harm to pets when ingested. Supplements and vitamins can be poisonous as well. While some, (Vitamins C, K, and E) are fairly safe, others (iron, Vitamin D, alpha-lipoic acid) can be highly toxic in overdose situations.

Human Foods

Just because it’s safe for you, doesn’t mean it’s safe for your pet! Chocolate is one of the biggest culprits of poisoning from the food category and can be deadly to dogs (not good for cats either!). Xylitol, a sugar-free sweetener found in gums and candies is also very dangerous and potentially life-threatening… even in small doses. Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs. Other human foods toxic to pets include macadamia nuts, garlic, onions, yeast, and table salt.


There are some insecticides that are less toxic than others, but generally speaking, keep your pets away from all insecticides (sprays, granules, bait stations, etc.). Some of the more potent types, such as organophosphates (rose-care products), can be deadly even when ingested in small amounts.


Like insecticides, keep your pets away from rodenticides! A pet poisoned can have moderate to severe symptoms, including but not limited to: Uncontrolled bleeding, swelling of the brain, kidney failure, and seizures. Unfortunately, there is only one type of mouse poison that has an antidote, the rest are more difficult to treat. There is also potential for relay toxicity, meaning that pets and wildlife can be poisoned by eating dead rodents that were poisoned by rodenticides.

If you believe that your pet has ingested something harmful, call Southern Oregon Veterinary Specialty Center immediately. We are open 24/7 for emergencies and we will assess the situation and begin the intake process while you are on your way (if deemed necessary). We are here for you and your pets.