Posted in cats, dogs, pet health, rabbits

An ounce of prevention

Every month has been adopted to promote some cause or another. April is Jazz Appreciation Month, National Car Care Month, Alcohol Awareness Month, Stress Awareness Month, and several more I’m too stressed to mention.

As if that’s not enough, there are special weeks and days too. The list is long, including National D.A.R.E. Day (April 8), World Hemophilia Day (April 17), and Earth Day (April 22). I was a little annoyed when I learned that last week was National Sleep Awareness Week (March 7-13); I guess you could say I slept through that one.

And certainly these are causes which deserve greater promotion, like Youth Sports Safety Month (April) and National Public Health Week (April 5-11).

At times I turn to the calendar for a jingle of inspiration, and this time the bell did indeed toll, for National Poison Prevention Week (March 14-20). In the U.S., this observation is managed by the Poison Prevention Week Council.

One of the themes – “Children Act Fast… So Do Poisons!” – readily applies to pets as well. As a parent, I know how difficult it is to keep a curious child from investigating everything. The same can be said about pets. Children and pets can both be at risk if we are careless, so it’s wise to baby-proof and pet-proof our homes. We need to be aware of possible poisons in and around the household.

What potentially poisonous household items are likely to be ingested by a pet? The ASPCA Top Ten list includes prescription and over-the-counter medications, insecticides, some foods (that are safe for humans but toxic to pets), some plants, veterinary medications (if not properly used), rat and mouse poisons, household cleaners, heavy metals, gardening products or chemicals (such as pesticides and fertilizers), and chemicals involved with maintaining spas/pools, cars, or when painting. For details about these possible hazards and more Pet Poison Safety Tips you can view more online.

The ASPCA also maintains an Animal Poison Control Center Hotline, for a fee, for any animal poison-related emergency. Someone is available to consult with, around the clock, every day of the year, at this toll-free number: 1-888-426-4435. A $65 consultation fee may be applied to your credit card, if you call regarding your pet having eaten something potentially poisonous.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains tips on protecting pets from pesticides, including flea and tick product safety information.

Talk about how to protect your pet when you next visit the vet, a proactive time when you can ask questions and take notes. Discuss what potential hazards may be commonly available in your own household.

Recall news:
Nature’s Variety has expanded its voluntary recall of Chicken Formula Raw Frozen Diets for dogs and cats with any “Best If Used By” date on or before February 5, 2011, because these products may be contaminated with Salmonella. Salmonella can affect animals and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products. For more information, visit the company’s website or call their Customer Care line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-374-3142.

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Owned by three cats over age 13