Pet Poisoning Awareness – National Animal Poison Prevention Week

Each year, during the third week of March, National Animal Poison Prevention Week is held to help raise awareness of the genuine danger of pet poisoning. This year’s event falls from March 17 through March 23, 2024.

Across the country, pet advocates, from veterinarians to pet sitters, will be participating in events to educate pet parents about common animal poisons, spot pet poisoning, and what to do if their pet exhibits signs of poisoning.

To get a jump start on this important week to raise awareness, we have compiled some critical information about pet poisoning and National Animal Poison Prevention Week.

About National Animal Poison Prevention Week

Each year, National Animal Poison Prevention Week coincides with National Poison Prevention Week, which was first promoted by the National Safety Council in 1961.

Almost immediately after initiating the program, the National Safety Council began promoting National Animal Poison Prevention Week as a natural extension of the awareness campaign to protect American families from accidental poisoning and our furry family members and livestock.

Unfortunately, according to the ASPCA’s American Poison Control Center (APCC), the organization was called upon to assist in 401,550 animal poisoning cases in 2021, and its Pet Poison Helpline, which serves the US, Canada, and the Caribbean, saw a 51% increase in call volumes from 2020 to 2021.

Experts believe that the rise in cases can be attributed to the pandemic, which led to a spike in new pet ownership and an increase in at-home activities, such as painting and baking. These stats highlight the importance of educating the public about pet poisoning through programs like National Animal Poison Prevention Week.

Recognizing the Signs of Pet Poisoning

The truth about pet poisoning is that every animal will respond to being poisoned slightly differently, depending on the animal’s age, size, breed, and level of exposure to the toxin. Poisoning symptoms in pets also have the potential to progress if they are not observed quickly.

Some common pet poisoning symptoms that pet parents need to be aware of include the following:

  • Appetite loss
  • Increased heart rate
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Pale gums
  • Excessive salivation
  • Coughing up blood
  • Urination problems
  • Excessive thirst
  • Confusion
  • Lethargy
  • Tarry or black stools
  • Jaundice
  • Fatigue

Everyday Items Poisonous to Pets

Unfortunately, a wide range of known substances are toxic to animals, from common human foods to plants and everyday household products. The best defense against animal poisoning is knowing what substances are harmful to household pets and keeping those items out of reach of our furry friends.

Many human foods are toxic to pets, including:

  • Chocolate
  • Foods containing Xylitol, a chemical sweetener
  • Caffeinated foods and beverages
  • Raisins and grapes
  • Avacado
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Veggie and fruit seeds and pits
  • Dairy products, including milk

There are also many everyday household items that pet parents don’t realize can be toxic to animals, including:

  • Animal medicines (which pose an overdose risk)
  • Human medicines
  • Toothpaste
  • Common cleaning products
  • Antifreeze, engine oil, and other car fluids
  • Swimming pool chemicals
  • Rodenticides
  • Insecticides
  • Pesticides
  • Fertilizers

Pet parents should also be aware of the many indoor plants that can be toxic to animals. Including lilies, aloe, and begonias. Thankfully, there are plenty of available houseplants that are safe for pets.

Also, be aware that some outdoor plants and flowers in Brevard County are unsafe for pets, including rhododendrons, daffodils, and tulips. When planting outside your Florida home, only use outdoor plants that are safe for pets.

What to Do If Your Pet is Poisoned in Brevard County, FL

If you suspect your pet has been exposed to a toxic substance or has ingested a poisonous substance in Brevard County, you must seek advice from a veterinarian as soon as possible. That is why it is essential to be prepared for accidental animal poisoning by having the name and phone number of your pet’s veterinarian and contact information for any 24-hour animal emergency care centers in your area close by.

Even if you are confident that your pet has ingested a toxic substance, you must refrain from inducing your pet to vomit unless you have been instructed to do so by a professional.

Animal Poison Prevention Takeaways

These are just some ways to prevent animal poisoning and protect your pets from toxic substance exposure. To learn more about National Animal Poison Prevention Week and how to protect your pet from accidental poisoning, check out APCC’s poison control page.

In honor of this year’s National Animal Poison Prevention Week, let’s commit to educating ourselves and others about the genuine risk of animal poisoning that our pets face each and every day. Please share this article in hopes of spreading awareness as far as we can!


Melanie Haynes



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