By Dr. Becker
In 2013, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) processed nearly 180,000 cases of pets potentially exposed to toxic substances.
The APCC has compiled a list of five important tips for handling a pet poisoning emergency in your own household.
5 Quick Tips for Dealing with a Pet Poisoning Emergency
- Be Ready
Before you ever need them, make sure your veterinarian’s phone number, the number of the closest emergency veterinary hospital, and the number for a pet poison center are saved in your phone. The APCC number is 888-426-4435; the Pet Poison Hotline is 800-213-6680.
And remember that you may be able to provide important, even life-saving initial treatment at home if you have a pet first aid kit ready and easily accessible in an emergency.
- Keep Your Cool
Maintaining your composure when faced with a pet emergency can be hard to do, but it’s really important if you want to insure your furry family member gets the help he needs. If you stay calm, you’ll be better able to provide first aid, as well as vital information to the people treating your pet.
- Evaluate Your Pet’s Condition
It’s important to make a clear-eyed observation of your pet’s condition. Is she behaving abnormally? Is she bleeding? Is she having trouble breathing? Is she having convulsions or seizures? Is she unresponsive? If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, your pet needs immediate medical attention. Call your vet or the nearest emergency animal hospital and alert them that you’re on your way.
- Be Prepared to Answer Questions
What is the toxic substance you know or suspect your pet ingested? Either pack up the substance itself (this is ideal), or write down the exact name of the product or medication. You’ll also want to write down the strength (typically in milligrams) of the drug, the concentration of active ingredients in herbicides or pesticides and the EPA registration number, and any other information you think might help the veterinarian who will be treating your pet.
When did the poisoning happen? Did you catch your pet actually ingesting the substance? Has your pet vomited? If so, did she vomit up any of the poison or packaging?
- Be Proactive
If you know or suspect your pet has ingested a poison, don’t wait for symptoms before seeking help. Time is of the essence in preventing the poison from being absorbed by your pet’s body. The faster you are able to treat your furry companion at home (with guidance from your vet or a pet poison hotline), or get her to a veterinarian, the better her chances for survival and a full recovery.