March is the month where everyone starts to think green: St. Patrick’s day parties, the promise of Spring, and bringing a little more warmth into your home in the form of forced bulbs and houseplants. But some of these things can also make your dog look a little green in the gills… because they can actually be poisonous! That’s why we are celebrating March as Poison Prevention Month.
We already know alcohol and chocolate can be toxic to dogs, so make sure those green beers and Irish cream desserts stay up out of your pup’s reach! But with parties comes all kinds of other potentials for poisoning. Delicious treats like grapes and raisins can cause severe liver failure in dogs. Goodies sweetened with xylitol (like gum or certain baked goods) are also a serious hazard. Hangover headache remedies like acetaminophen (Tylenol), NSAIDS (ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.), even vitamins and minerals like Vitamin D3 and Iron can be deadly if ingested by your pup.
Then there are the first vestiges of Spring which are always a bit exciting: the smell of wet earth and quickening plants. Longer days and warming weather. But the melting snows can reveal nasty dangers. Mouse and rat poisons that may have been put out over the winter may now be accessible. Some evergreen shrubs like the Japanese Yew also pose potential for poisoning. Slug and snail bait is also toxic. So if you’re out walking your dog more in the increasing temperatures, make sure to keep a close eye on where he’s going and what he may be getting into!
Those of us who like to get a head-start on spring by bringing in bits of green into our home ahead of the growing season should know: not all houseplants are created equal and many are not pet safe! Lilies and sago palms are definitely on the short list of toxic plants. Some others include aloe vera, Dieffenbachia, and Philodendron: all commonly available at your local grocery and hardware stores. Here is a list of the 11 most poisonous plants for dogs.
The best way to navigate these dangers is to make sure you pup-proof your yard and home and to always be vigilant when out walking on leash or visiting a friend’s party. Of course, when in doubt, you should contact your vet or call the 24-hour emergency Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661.