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As a pet owner, what are two phone numbers you should always have handy? Your vet, of course, and an…

Pet Poison Control

As a pet owner, what are two phone numbers you should always have handy? Your vet, of course, and an animal poison control hotline. You never know when your inherently curious, high-spirited bouncing bundle of fur is going to get into something toxic. You need to be ready.

Real life Story

“I was so glad to have the Animal Poison Control hotline posted to my refrigerator that night.” says Holiday Barn Pack member, Tina, the day her two Jack Russell’s had accidentally ingested mouse poison. The outcome could have been much different. The poison had been placed high upon a ceiling beam in the garage, out of reach of the dogs, but apparently pushed to the floor by a mouse. The always competitive sibling pups scurried to see who could eat the strange substance first. “When I walked into the room and saw the residual packaging and poison on the floor, I knew immediately who to call. The experts answered my call quickly, and within minutes we had a solution.”

If a poison control emergency occurs during business hours, your vet should be your first line of defense, however, for immediate response after hours, a poison hotline can prove to be invaluable.

Never say Never

It could happen to your pet. Many of the everyday ordinary things we have around the house can be deadly to your pet. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control center reports that one-quarter of all the calls they get is because a pet ingested human prescription medicine.* Over-the- counter medications can be just as dangerous. Other common household items that can be poisonous to dogs are cleansers, insecticides, and lawn products. Even an over consumption of your pet’s own flea and tick products and medications (such as de-wormers, allergy meds, etc.) can cause them to be sick or even die.

Education is Key

Educate yourself about the foods and beverages that your pet should not have as many can be toxic or poisonous. Seemingly innocent foods, such as sugar-free gum may cause liver failure if sweetened with Xylitol. Dogs can eat most nuts and legumes, but cannot consume macadamia nuts. Fruit should be good for dogs, right? Not if it’s grapes or raisins which can induce kidney failure. There is a lot of good information on-line with reputable sites such as the American Veterinary Medical Association (, or WebMD. If you’re unsure if your pet can have something, it’s best not to share.

Some house plants and even outdoor plants can be toxic to pets! More than 700 plants have been identified as producing toxic substances in amounts that could cause harmful effects in animals.** Eeek! Sometimes it seems as nothing is safe for our 4-legged friends!


A great resource to have on-hand is the “Pet Poison Help” app or the “Petoxins” app by the ASPCA for iPhone or android. These apps have “good to know” information on hundreds of household products and plants that are potentially toxic to your pet, plus steps to take if your dog or cat is exposed to one of these toxins.

The APCC, Animal Poison Control Center of the ASPCA is recommended by the AVMA. Their hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. Their number is (888) 426-4435. A $65 fee may be required, but if saving the life of your pet, well worth it.

Another number is the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661.*** The Pet Poison Helpline is a 24-hour service for pet owners and veterinary professionals who need assistance with treating a potentially poisoned pet. A $49 fee may be charged. To find out more, visit

We are also very fortunate to have five Veterinary Emergency Centers in our area:

  • Animal Medical Center, Midlothian
    (804) 639-3900
  • Dogwood Veterinary Emergency Center, Richmond
    (804) 716-4700
  • Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center, Richmond
    (804) 353-9000
  • Veterinary Emergency Center, Colony Crossing, Richmond
    (804) 353-9000
  • Veterinary Referral & Critical Care, Manakin-Sabot
    (804) 784-8722

Prepare for the worst, and take comfort in knowing you’re ready should something happen to your Best Furry Friend.


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