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Think your dog has eaten something poisonous? Instant medical help available

So there we were this weekend, visiting my in-laws in Friday Harbor, WA, when I realized that Chloe was chewing not on her bully stick but on the container of eye-drops my mother-in-law had left on the coffee table. My father-in-law assured me that they had more of the eye-drops (a prescription drug for treating glaucoma) in the bathroom, not to worry — not realizing that my main concern was for Chloe’s health.

Happily, she’d only mangled and emptied the bottle, not swallowed it, and I found the cap as well, so my worries really focused on the solution itself and its possible effect on a small dog. There are a couple of excellent veterinarians on San Juan Island, thank goodness, but there’s no local emergency vet — and I didn’t actually know if I had an emergency on my hands.

Within moments, my husband found a web page for the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. It’s available 24/7 and is staffed by doctors who answer the phone themselves — and answer your questions right away. There is a $65 fee per call, but that seemed fair for the quick answer, the quality of care I received and the wacky time of night I called. (It turns out that my in-laws’ glaucoma drops might cause Chloe some vomiting or diarrhea, so we followed instructions and gave her a half-slice of bread and a biscuit and watched her and her output for a couple of days. All was well, and Chloe was thrilled to learn about bread.)

ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center

I urge you to add the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center to your phones and Rolodexes — what a relief to know that this kind of resource is instantly available wherever you can find a phone or phone coverage.


  • Deborah Flick

    Yes indeed. I have relied on the ASPCA poison control center twice for Sadie. One was no big deal. Pistachio nuts. The other was a big deal. Raisins. They held my hand through inducing vomiting and going to the ER. Then the ER called them to confirm what I had said the vet at the ASPCA had recommended. I know the ASPCA is a controversial organization because of some of their practices. But, I have to say, the poison control center was very helpful.

  • Oh, my heavens, Deborah — you must have been sick with worry. I’m so glad that the Poison Control Center was a good resource for you and Sadie.

  • Lanae

    My cat once stepped into a pan of deck stain and we had no idea until I heard her meowing very strangely by the front door. I was only about 13 or 14 at the time; my mom was the one who left it out. I didn’t even know the stain was in the house, so I went to check on her and noticed she just wreaked of this strong, strong smell and her paws were wet. I got very scared and called my mom and mom guessed that she must have gotten into the stain. So, we called a local emergency vet and they told us the stain was probably burning her sensitive kitty skin and we just needed to wash it out with some soap in the bath. Well, I think that was the only time my kitty was actually thankful to get wet! Thank God she didn’t ingest any, but it was still scary!

  • And that’s the kind of thing that can happen — you leave a bottle of eyedrops out, or a pan of deck stain, and you never give it a second thought until your pet blunders into it. How upset you must have been! Thank goodness for emergency vets (and for your powers of observation!).

  • Thanks so much! I really appreciate the shout-out — and it’s great to get that phone number into more people’s hands!

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