March is National Pet Poison Prevention Month. Do you know what to do if your pet has ingested or been exposed to a potentially toxic substance? First, don’t panic! The team at Academy Animal Hospital put together these instructions to help.
Step 1: Find the potential toxin’s packaging
Your pet will have a much better prognosis and easier treatment if you know exactly what substance they may have ingested or touched. Find the packaging of the poison, toxin, chemical, or food, and gather the following information:
- Active ingredient
- Percentage or concentration of active ingredient
- Size in ounces
For example, knowing what type of mouse poison your pet has eaten is absolutely critical to ensuring they receive the correct, potentially life-saving treatment.
Step 2: Contact a pet poison control helpline
Before calling our hospital, contact a pet poison control helpline. The ASPCA has an Animal Poison Control Center, as does the Pet Poison Helpline. Their teams of veterinary toxicologists have the most up-to-date, specialized information regarding toxicity and poisoning in pets.
Step 3: Follow the instructions provided by the pet poison control helpline
Your first instinct may be to induce vomiting in your pet, but vomiting may not always be the ideal solution. Caustic substances and harsh chemicals can create more harm as your pet vomits, so call the pet poison control helpline before administering any treatment.
Step 4: Save the case number for our veterinarian
While discussing your pet’s situation with the poison control helpline, you should receive a case number. This number allows faster treatment when you arrive at our hospital since our veterinarian can call the helpline with the case number and discuss the optimal treatment plan with their veterinary toxicologist.
Step 5: Call us to let us know you’re on your way with a sick pet
Before heading out the door, call us to let us know you’re on the way with your pet, which will help our team prepare for a toxicity case. We will jump into action as soon as you walk through the door, giving your four-legged friend the best chance for a successful outcome.