If you suspect your pet has ingested a toxic substance at any time, calling the Poison Control hotline is a critical step. Prompt action can make a significant difference in their prognosis – and may be life-saving!
Here are some guidelines for when to call the Poison Control hotline for your pet:
• Obvious Ingestion of Toxic Substance: If you witness your pet consuming a known or suspected toxic substance, call Poison Control immediately. Examples include household chemicals, medications, poisonous plants, and certain foods.
• Clinical Signs of Poisoning: If your pet displays symptoms of poisoning, such as vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, seizures, tremors, difficulty breathing, weakness, lethargy, or any unusual behavior, contact Poison Control right away.
• Ingestion of Medications: If your pet has accidentally ingested human medications, especially if they are prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, or substances like vitamins, supplements, or herbal remedies, call Poison Control for guidance.
• Ingestion of Household Toxins: If your pet has come into contact with or ingested common household toxins like antifreeze, cleaning products, pesticides, or rodenticides, seek help immediately.
• Ingestion of Plants: If your pet has chewed on or ingested a potentially toxic plant, find out the plant’s name and call Poison Control for advice.
• Ingestion of Foreign Objects: If your pet has swallowed a foreign object that could be harmful, like small toys, batteries, or sharp objects, consult Poison Control.
• Bee and Insect Stings: For multiple bee or insect stings or signs of an allergic reaction (swelling, difficulty breathing), contact Poison Control.
• Snake or Spider Bites: If your pet has been bitten by a venomous snake or spider, seek immediate veterinary assistance, but you can also call Poison Control for additional guidance.
• Food Poisoning: If your pet consumes something toxic to them, such as chocolate, grapes, raisins, xylitol (a sugar substitute), alcohol, or anything else harmful, call Poison Control.
• Unknown Ingestion: If you are unsure whether something your pet ingested is toxic, but you notice abnormal behavior or symptoms, it’s better to be safe and contact Poison Control.
To reach the Poison Control hotline for pets anywhere in the United States, you can call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435. Be prepared to provide information about your pet’s age, breed, weight, the substance ingested, and any symptoms they are experiencing. Follow their guidance and, if advised, seek immediate veterinary care. It’s always a good idea to have this number saved in your phone or readily accessible in case of an emergency – and accessible for houseguests and pet sitters.