Welcome to March everyone! Which means it’s time for St. Patty’s Day, Easter and what many may not know, Pet Poison Awareness month.

As we enter this spring season of celebration and fun, here’s a few tips and tricks to help keep the four-legged members of our family safe.

Let’s first talk about some common decorative plants.
While they are beautiful and fill our home with springtime joy, some can be quite toxic to our pets. Lilies, Tulips (especially the bulbs), and Azaleas are among some of the more toxic species. Gardeners beware too as your beds begin to bloom with Oleander, Milkweed and Foxgloves.
You may want to consider alternatives like: African Violets, Roses, Orchids, Sunflowers and Marigolds. When in doubt, silk or other artificial plants are always a good bet.

That brings us to other festive activities and pet friendly decorations.
My family would always dye and “pâque” eggs, bake cookies, and easter egg hunt for our favorite candies. If your pet is going to partake, ensure you are choosing a non-toxic dye or give your dog a plain, non-dyed egg as a treat. For the cookies, no nuts or raisins and eliminate xylitol or other sugar alternatives. And of course, keep your candy stuffed eggs away from your furry friends to avoid both plastic and potentially toxic chocolate or candy ingestion.

Now, let’s move onto the real yummy stuff, the big holiday dinner and St. Patty’s Day Parade goodies. If your pets are like mine, they will want a sampling, but we must use caution.
Here’s a general list of foods to avoid: xylitol (artificial sugar), grapes/raisins, garlic/onions, nuts, bones, alcohol and fatty meats.
Small bites of turkey breast, lean ham, cabbage, cooked potatoes, green beans, and carrots can be given in moderation.

Springtime specialties aside, here is a list of common household toxins that may be present all year, and we should take extra caution to prevent pet exposure: bleach, other household cleansers, batteries, prescription medications, drain cleansers, rat poison, and slug/snail bait just to name a few. Try keeping these items in a closed and locked cabinet or closet away from all pet access.

If at any point, you know or are concerned that your pet has been exposed to a toxin, please call us or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center immediately. The APCC hotline (888-426-4435) is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.