Take a minute to ‘paws’ and honor National Animal Poison Prevention Week, held during the third full week in March each year. This year, it takes place from March 17 to 23. This week educates pet owners on what can poison their pets, how to spot the signs of poisoning, and how to help pets if they exhibit such signs.
The week ties into National Poison Prevention Week, which details the many dangers of the spring season and how to protect humans from accidental poisoning. National Animal Poison Prevention Week runs as a part of the Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month, a larger cause to spread awareness about pet poisoning.
History of National Animal Poison Prevention Week
Humans started domesticating animals long ago, probably since the cavemen walked around. Their purpose in our lives gradually underwent a shift, however. Cats no longer were simple ‘rat traps,’ and dogs went from hunting partners to humans’ best friends.
As the bond grew, so too did the knowledge that animals need as much, if not more, care as humans did. Animal care might have been rudimentary by today’s standards, but it still existed. Even the Ancient Romans would spay, castrate, and even operate on their pets as a form of care. Their invasion of various lands spread this knowledge of pet care, but the world still had a long way to go.
Then, in 1863, an American diplomat on assignment to Russia, Henry Bergh, prevented a carriage driver from beating his fallen horse. Upon returning to his hometown, New York, after his resignation, Bergh founded the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (A.S.P.C.A.). It became the first and only humane society in the Western Hemisphere.
Owners could not get information about pet care over the internet, so A.S.P.C.A. and other organizations’ pamphlets and articles came to the rescue.
By the 1990s, concern over animals had taken an upswing. People placed more value on the lives of animals. The next few decades saw organizations, even the Food and Drug Administration, taking more care to ensure every aspect of pet care — pet stores, pet food, and even pet toys — were safe.
The A.S.P.C.A., among other organizations, influenced legislation and legal proceedings, bringing to light animal suffering and highlighting our responsibilities in this regard. All these years later, we now view animal care very differently. National Animal Poison Prevention Week reflects our changing view of pet care and is a special event to protect our pet buddies from accidental harm.
National Animal Poison Prevention Week timeline
Ex-diplomat Henry Bergh asks for a nationwide anti-cruelty organization to be set up for animals — this organization can create and enforce animal protection laws.
An article is written in the spring issue of “Animal Protection” magazine, outlining rabbit care.
The Food and Drug Administration recalls pet food that contains harmful ingredients — this is the largest pet-food recall in American history.
To kick off National Animal Poison Prevention Week, the A.S.P.C.A. releases a list of Top 10 Toxins for pets — over-the-counter medications are at the top of the list.
National Animal Poison Prevention Week FAQs
When is National Poison Prevention Week?
National Poison Prevention Week, celebrated in the third full week of March, is held to examine the dangers of poisonings for people of all ages.
Where can I get more information on preventing poisonings?
The ASPCA website has a multitude of resources for pet owners. You can also reach out to local vets and animal clinics for information.
Is National Poison Prevention linked to National Animal Poison Prevention Week?
National Animal Poison Prevention Week is a natural extension of National Poison Prevention Week after the world realized how much harm everyday household items were doing to vulnerable pets.
How to Observe National Animal Poison Prevention Week
Learn how to protect your pets
Brush up on your knowledge of common items that can harm your pets. Check online for various resources, or even talk to your veterinarian.
Pet-proof your home
Armed with the knowledge of what can harm your pet, go ahead and pet-proof your home and immediate surroundings. You can even check local pet-friendly places for plants and other things harmful to your pets, stay away, and warn others to do the same.
Share your pet care knowledge
Spread the knowledge about pet poisons to all the pet owners you know to ensure their pet is safe from possible danger.
5 Facts About Household Items That Can Poison Your Pets
Sweet food items
Many common sugarless gums, candies, mints, flavored multivitamins, desserts, and even baked goods might contain a sweetener called xylitol, which is toxic to dogs.
Drugs like NSAIDs, acetaminophen, and antidepressants can cause serious health issues when ingested by pets.
Some flowers like lilies are lethal to cats.
Certain types of chocolate, such as baker's chocolate and dark chocolate, are more harmful to pets than other chocolate products.
Fertilizers and pest control
Fertilizers and pest control products are often combined with dangerous chemicals that are harmful to pets if ingested.
Why National Animal Poison Prevention Week is Important
We’re more aware of pet care
Specifically, what constitutes 'poison' for pets, and how to protect them.
We save pets' lives
According to the A.S.P.C.A. website, countless poisoning complaints come in every year, and most are accidental poisonings. Spreading the word about National Animal Poison Prevention Week can help save our vulnerable pets from harm.
We learn to avoid toxic products
We're reducing our consumption of pet-toxic products, or at the very least, storing them where our pets cannot get to them.
National Animal Poison Prevention Week dates