By Karin Krisher
With a string of very cold weather and recent dog poisonings on my mind, I scoured the Internet for examples of serious antifreeze poisoning in animals. What I found wasn’t a list of anecdotal references I could share, but instead countless resources and statistics that show just how prevalent animal poisoning is—and not just with antifreeze, either.
Chances are, your clients aren’t as aware of common hazards as they should be in order to protect their pets to the fullest. Here’s your opportunity to help. How?
The simplest help you can offer is accessible information.
Animal Poison Prevention Tips
Keep a list of common poisons in your office. It could include antifreeze, macadamia nuts, xylitol—you name it. Have that list available for all who enter, either posted on the wall or at your front desk as a take-home sheet. Include photographs and how to identify animal poisons, as well. First-aid kit suggestions are another great inclusion.
To further your client’s access to information, include recorded instructions on what to do in a poisoning emergency on your office voicemail. This way, day or night, your clients will know where to turn. Whether you do emergency appointments or you recommend the ASPCA’s emergency hotline (include the number), having the information available even after hours is a must.
Advise your clients on how to tell if their animal has been poisoned. A list of cat and dog poisoning symptoms is a good addition to your information package. Symptoms, of course, include anorexia, dehydration, excessive thirst, lethargy, vomiting, etc. During each appointment, it’s a good idea to mention these symptoms. This mention isn’t meant to scare your clients, only to keep them on their toes.
Offer Internet information. Set yourself up with a Facebook page and share your page name with every visitor to your practice. There is no reason to not get involved in social media outlets, even if you think you don’t have time or that your customers won’t appreciate your involvement. Sometimes, Facebook is the perfect place to succinctly answer questions, and if you include the information that you would normally print as a feature on your Facebook page or your website, your customers will have instant access at all times.
Finally, offer your customers products that can help. Eliminate flea product toxicity concerns by providing natural options like Repel. Offer digestive support products like Mega Probiotic and Fast Balance G.I. to jump in when the animal does ingest something iffy.
Remember Mr. Yuk, the bright green face of poison control centers that was once plastered to every telephone in the nation? I do, too. And that face definitely served its purpose—to function as a constant reminder of how to get help if poisoning occurs. Be those green stickers. Share information about animal poison prevention with your patients.