It’s National Poison Prevention week, and doctors from BluePearl Veterinary Partners want to remind pet owners about the surprising number of household items that are toxic to pets.

McNab dog Public domain image/Jezzabell
McNab dog
Public domain image/Jezzabell

In Florida, there are many dangers to pets, some of which are natural to the environment and others are not. Doctors from BluePearl in the Tampa Bay area commonly see pets suffering from exposure to bufo toads, sago palms, xylitol, rodenticides and marijuana.

“It’s beginning to be that time of year when we’ll start to see an increase in bufo toad activity,” said Dr. Melinda Larson, with BluePearl Veterinary Partners’ internal medicine service at the specialty and emergency hospital in Clearwater. “If bufo toads are common in an area, pet owners may want to keep their pet on a leash.”

Dogs will often lick the toad, which can cause them to exhibit foaming at the mouth, seizures and an irregular heartbeat.

“If a pet does come into contact with a bufo toad, take them to an emergency hospital as soon as possible, as it could very well be life-threatening,” Larson added.

National Poison Prevention Week started Sunday and runs through Saturday. The purpose is to create awareness and prevent injury or death due to poisoning.

Other common pet poisons include:

  • Prescription human medications
  • Insecticides
  • Over-the-counter human medications
  • Household products, such as cleaners, antifreeze and paint thinner
  • Chocolate
  • Rodenticides
  • Lawn and garden products

Additionally, garlic, grapes, macadamia nuts, onions, raisins, the sugar substitute xylitol, and raw or undercooked food can create major problems for dogs and cats.

If you suspect your pet has been poisoned, remain calm. Call your family veterinarian or the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center at 888.426.4435. And bring any remnants of the potential poison with you to help your veterinarian diagnose the problem.

“Prevention is always the best strategy,” said Larson. “Learning more about which items may be toxic is an important first step in limiting your pet’s exposure to them.”