Pet Poison Prevention Month
Pets are curious beings by nature. They love to sniff around and try new things, from shoes (can you not?) to garbage (come on!)
It's easy to forget that this can become a serious issue when your clients are not well-informed about the dangers in their own homes. In 1961, Congress declared that the third week in March would be named National Poison Prevention Week. Over the years, this week has spread to an entire month of awareness: and it makes sense.
The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center reported that in 2018, they received 213,773 cases of potential poisonings.
For veterinary professionals, prevention means education and communication. When you are able to convey important information to your clients in a meaningful way, you can get in front of the problem firsthand.
Ideally, the initial steps in education should be made during the first visit with a new pet. Here are a few things the ASPCA says you should speak about with your clients:
Pet-Proofing - A safe home is a happy home. The harder they make it for their pet to get into their trash or cabinets, the harder it is for them to come into contact with something not so great to eat. There is a lot to know about what's safe and what's not; providing your clients with the basics in-person, as well as some mandatory reading homework, is an amazing start.
Crate Training - If a client's puppy or kitten is extra...curious, you might want to suggest crate training as an option to make sure their new friend doesn't get into too much trouble while they're gone.
Tempting Tampering - Pets love nothing more than to claw and scratch their way into things they shouldn't. Make sure your clients understand that child-proof doesn't mean pet-proof when it comes to pill vials. They should be placing hazardous items in hard to reach places and behind closed cupboards/doors.
Teach a New Dog Old Tricks - Ah, the oldest trick in the book: 'Drop it.' This command can save a pet's life if they try to swallow something dangerous. Suggest this command to your clients and remind them to always close the door behind them when handling pills.
Stranger Danger - Your client's visitors may not always know what's safe for their pets to eat, where their pets are allowed to go, or that they need to keep medications out of reach from their pets. Let clients know that they should prep visitors before entering their homes.
Emergency Ready - Come up with a plan with your client for if/when they think their pet has been exposed to something toxic. Who should they call first, the hospital or their nearby poison control? Have them add the right numbers to speed dial, because every second counts.
Kit n' Kapoodle - It's a poodle pun! Anyway, the last step is to talk to your clients about creating a pet safety kit, which should be taken on family trips and checked twice a year for expired items. Stocking up on decontamination essentials can save time and prevent panic.
We hope these tips make it easier to know how (and what) to say when talking to your clients about poison prevention. Spreading awareness isn't about turning your clients into scaredy-cats: it's about turning them into the best pet parents they can possibly be.