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Don’t Forget Pets During National Poison Prevention Week, March 17-23

Since 1961, the third week of March has been designated as National Poison Prevention Week and this year awareness dates are March 17-23. The WVMA and member veterinarians are urging everyone to think of their pets, as they are often the most vulnerable.

“It only takes a few minutes to educate yourself on how to pet-proof your home,” says Dr. K.C. Brooks, president of WVMA, “Taking the correct steps ahead of time will save you the headache and guilt that happens after a pet is accidentally poisoned.”

The most common poison cases involve dogs consuming human medication. Though consumption of human medication is the most prevalent, there are many other household substances which are toxic to dogs. Below are the five most common toxins that poisoned dogs in 2012 according to Pet Poison Helpline.

  1. Human Medications – 43 percent of calls were about dogs who had consumed over-the-counter or prescription medications.
  2. Human Foods – 16 percent of calls were for dogs that helped themselves to food not meant for canine consumption. The most common foods were chocolate, raisins and grapes, garlic and table salt.
  3. Insecticides – 7.5 percent of calls were for dogs that had ate insecticides in the form of sprays, granules and insect bait stations. Some insecticides are tolerable if consumed, however, certain types can be life-threatening even if consumed in small amounts.
  4. Rodenticides – 6.5 percent of the calls were for dogs that had consumed mouse and rat poison. Depending on the type of poisoning, symptoms can range from subtle to severe.
  5. Dietary Supplements and Vitamins – 5.5 percent of calls concerned dogs which ingested dietary supplements and vitamins. The negative effects of ingestion can range greatly. Vitamins C, K and E are fairly safe, while iron and Vitamin D can be highly toxic.

If you ever have reason to believe your pet has consumed a toxic substance, take immediate action. Contact your WVMA member veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680. To find a WVMA member veterinarian go to

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