Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month raises awareness of all the potentially harmful substances owners should keep away from their furry friends.

Pet safety should always be practiced in your veterinary clinic. Beyond this, the awareness month offers an excellent opportunity to shed light on common pet poisons. This information can be life-saving for your patients, as many owners simply do not understand which household cleaners, essential oils, baked goods, or other products can be toxic for dogs and cats.

Keep reading to learn how to use Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month to help educate your clients.

Understanding Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month

Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month, observed every March, with National Poison Prevention Week falling on the third week of the month, is a crucial initiative created to educate pet owners and veterinarians about the dangers of common pet toxins.

Originating from broader poison prevention campaigns in humans, this month focuses on raising awareness about substances that can harm animals, like dangerous chemicals, cleaning products, over-the-counter medications, rat poisons, and certain foods. Ultimately, Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month aims to increase knowledge and preventative practices, reducing the incidence of accidental poisonings among pets while strengthening the partnership between owners and veterinary professionals for better pet health and safety.

Each year, Pet Poison Prevention Week comes with a theme. The theme in 2024 was “When the unexpected happens, Poison Help is here for you 24/7,” encouraging owners to seek veterinary attention immediately after toxic ingestion.

Common Pet Toxins and Human Medications That Pet Owners Should Be Aware Of

As a veterinarian, you must give your animals the best care possible. Sometimes, this means educating humans on best caring for their dogs and cats.

Owners do not always know that baker’s chocolate is one of the most common dog poisons. According to the Pet Poison Helpline, approximately half of pet poisoning happens from animals ingesting products that are safe for humans.

While you may already be aware of the most common harmful substances, let’s go over a full list so you can increase awareness of poisoning risks for your clients. These items are dangerous for pets:

  • Xylitol in sugar-free products like sugarless gum, candies, mints, and peanut butter
  • Certain flowers, like lilies for cats or marijuana for all cats and dogs
  • Pills like stimulant medications, antidepressant medications, vitamin D, anti-inflammatory medications, and any other prescription drugs designed for humans
  • Chocolate and other food items like grapes, garlic, certain fatty foods, and onions
  • Cleaning products, pest control products, fertilizers, rat poisons, refrigerants, and any other harsh, toxic chemicals that may be found in the garage


When To Call the Pet Poison Helpline

Encourage clients to call their vet or the helpline immediately at (800) 213-6680 if they believe their pet has ingested a harmful substance or has come in skin contact with something dangerous. Signs can show up immediately or they may take time, depending on the substance. Signs of poison ingestion may include:

  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Shaking


Preventive Measures and More Best Practices

Aside from knowing which products are harmful to pets, every client should also know how to pet-proof their own home so they can avoid poisoning accidents altogether. Preventative measures help clients avoid poisoning accidents and help you keep your veterinary clinic safe for pets. Here are some of the best practices you can exercise in your clinic and preach to your clients:

  • Research flowers before buying
  • Lock chemical products away in a garage
  • Keep food items off the counter
  • Create healthy food-sharing habits with pets
  • Ensure that pets cannot get into items like anti-inflammatory medications
  • Lock antidepressant medications and other prescriptions away in a medicine cabinet
  • Know when to call the helpline


All of your staff and clients should be well-educated on poison prevention for pets if you want to keep every dog and cat as safe as possible. You can use Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month in March and National Animal Safety and Protection Month in October as bi-annual reminders of everything pets should stay away from to avoid poisoning incidents.

The Role of Technology in Poison Prevention

It’s easy to forget which food items can cause a poisoning incident for a cat when you already have so much on your mind every day. Sometimes, clients need simple reminders on the best care tips for their pets.

With communication tools like Weave, you can send automated messages with helpful reminders about toxic substances during Pet Poison Awareness Month. Automated messaging not only helps with poisoning prevention but can improve client education on a range of topics for pets, boosting engagement rates.

Collaborative Efforts in Pet Safety

Keeping pets safe should be a unified effort between your vet clinic, pet parents, and poison control centers. Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month is a great opportunity to build partnerships with poison control centers, continue your staff’s education on the topic, or sign up for veterinary team workshops to strengthen your collaborative efforts.

Get Ready for the Next National Poison Prevention Week for Pets With Weave

Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month helps raise awareness of all the risks pets face when owners are unaware of common dangerous substances like flowers. Use March as an opportunity to keep every cat and dog safe by spreading awareness to your clients. 

Get a demo of Weave today to see how our communication system can help you educate your clients.

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