Protect Your Pets: Pet Poison Prevention Month

March is National Pet Poison Prevention Month, a time to spotlight the importance of safeguarding our pets from the unseen dangers lurking in our homes. Pets, with their curious natures, often stumble upon items that, while harmless to humans, can pose severe threats to their health. The key to pet poison prevention lies in awareness and proactive measures. Simple steps, such as storing hazardous substances out of reach, can significantly reduce the risk of pet poisoning.

Household Hazards to Watch Out For

Sweet Danger: Xylitol

Found in many sugarless gums​, candies,​ and toothpaste, xylitol is a common culprit in pet poisonings, especially in dogs. A small amount can be dangerous. Symptoms like vomiting, weakness, and seizures are red flags for xylitol poisoning.

Infographic by the ASPCA for Pet Poison Prevention Month. The many hiding places of Xylitol. Medications, Dental Health Products, Food, personal Care Items.

Medication Mishaps

Medicines that heal humans can harm pets. NSAIDs, acetaminophen, and antidepressants are particularly hazardous, leading to a range of issues, from stomach ulcers and kidney failure to severe neurological problems. Keeping medications out of reach can prevent accidental ingestions.

Floral Foes

The arrival of spring brings blooms that, while beautiful, can be deadly to pets. Lilies, for instance, are highly toxic to cats and can cause kidney failure with minimal exposure. Dogs aren’t immune to the dangers of spring bulbs either, with tulips and daffodils causing severe gastrointestinal distress.

nfographic by the ASPCA for Pet Poison Prevention Month. Identifing Poisonous Lilies for cats.

Chocolate: A Bitter Risk

Chocolate is a well-known hazard for pets, particularly dogs. The toxicity level increases with the darkness of the chocolate, with baker’s and dark chocolate being the most dangerous. The symptoms of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and even heart failure.

Garden Products: Hidden Dangers

Fertilizers may keep our gardens lush but can be deadly to our four-legged friends. Some contain harmful chemicals that can lead to drooling, seizures, and even death if ingested. Similarly, pest control products that eliminate rodents or snails can be fatal to pets, causing severe health issues without prompt veterinary care.

Prevention and Preparedness

By taking these precautions and educating others about the risks, we can make our homes safer for our beloved pets. Remember, a little effort in pet-proofing can go a long way in preventing emergencies and ensuring our pets lead happy, healthy lives. Let’s use this opportunity to spread awareness and take action to protect our furry family members from these preventable hazards.

If you suspect your pet has gotten into something toxic, please contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center or your emergency veterinarian.

Luna’s Story: Keeping Families Together

Luna the beagle sits in a medical kennel under a blanket in the St. George Spay and Neuter Clinic.

Luna, a senior Beagle, age ten, with big, beautiful eyes and long, drooping ears, was not doing well when her guardian, James, brought her to an emergency clinic in St. George late one January night.  She was lethargic and had stopped eating. She also had a distended abdomen and appeared to be in pain. 

 While at the ER, Luna was diagnosed with pyometra, a life-threatening disease resulting from hormonal changes in the female’s reproductive tract. The best and only prevention for pyometra is to have your dog spayed, which Luna was not. James was concerned for his beloved dog and over the cost of the surgery she needed to save her life. As a veteran living on a fixed income, he couldn’t afford it, and he’d already spent hundreds of dollars at the emergency clinic. 

Luna’s second chance

Upon hearing James’ concerns, the ER staff contacted the Humane Society of Utah’s St. George Clinic to see if we could help. After discussing the situation with James and realizing he would do anything he could to care for Luna, Dr. Gray, our compassionate veterinarian, offered to provide the surgery through our Pet Retention Program at an affordable price.  

Regarding her decision to help, Dr. Gray said, “Unfortunately, animals are sometimes euthanized for pyometra because their guardians cannot afford the cost of surgery. Our Pet Retention Program provides medical care and other support to guardians who have fallen on hard times or to individuals like James, who are caring veterans living on a fixed income.”

During Luna’s surgery, Dr. Gray discovered that her uterus was severely infected and filled with pus. She explained, “her uterus was one of the largest we have ever seen in a dog her size because of how pus-filled it was. Without the surgery, she would not have survived.” The surgery went well, and Luna reunited with a tearful James that same day. As he picked her up from our clinic, James expressed his sincere gratitude for our help in saving his beloved companion’s life.

Dr. Gray gives Luna an exam at our St. George Clinic.

While Luna’s surgery only took 30 minutes, it would take two full weeks for her to regain her energy and start eating normally again. Once she was feeling better, her sweet personality came to life, and when she walked into our clinic for a free check-up, her tail was wagging, and her eyes were bright. During the exam, Luna received lots of love and affection from our medical team, who were happy to see her doing well. 

Dr. Gray shared, “We want other guardians to hear Luna’s story so they can be aware of pyometra and take preventive measures for their beloved cats and dogs by having them spayed early on in life. Pyometra is quite common but 100% preventable. One in four unspayed female dogs over ten will get pyometra, which is life-threatening and generally expensive to treat. When female dogs are spayed, pyometra is no longer a risk later in life.”

Helping dogs like Luna

HSU offers affordable spay services to ensure our community members can easily access this critical service for their pets and to prevent pyometra. But HSU understands that even a low-cost service can be unaffordable to some. Through HSU’s Pet Retention Program, our St. George Clinic has helped many members of the homeless community and those who have experienced domestic violence by waiving or reducing costs for services and providing much-needed supplies like pet food, cat litter, etc. 

Luna receives pets from St. George Clinic staff.

“We don’t want anyone to have to surrender a pet due to lack of funds,” said Dr. Gray. “It means a lot to us to be a resource to our community members in this way.  We feel privileged to share our skills with individuals and families in need.” 

Learn more about Pet Retention Program here.

RHDV-2 & Leptospirosis Vaccines Available

RHDV-2 Vaccine for Rabbits & Leptospirosis Vaccine for Dogs Available

Our affordable pet clinics in Murray, Utah and St. George, Utah are offering Leptospirosis vaccines to the public. Our Murray clinic is also offering RHDV-2 Vaccines to pet rabbits.

Dog kissing a lady

Leptospirosis has been associated with water sports in contaminated lakes and rivers, especially in tropical or temperate climates, so it can be a hazard for those who travel and do a lot of outdoor activities with their dogs.


Leptospirosis is a disease caused by infection with Leptospira bacteria. Dogs can become infected and develop leptospirosis if they come into contact with infected urine, urine-contaminated soil, water, food or bedding; through a bite from an infected animal; by eating infected tissues or carcasses; and rarely, through breeding. It can also be passed through the placenta from the mother dog to the puppies. Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease, which means it can be spread from animals to people. Infection in people can cause flu-like symptoms and can cause liver or kidney disease. Leptospirosis is more common in areas with warm climates and high annual rainfall but it can occur anywhere.

  • The vaccination requires a booster 3-4 weeks later. After the booster is given, the vaccination is effective for one year.
  • Customers do not need to schedule an appointment for vaccinations at our Murray Clinic. Appointments are recommended at our St. George clinic to make sure you have a short wait, but they accept walk-ins.
  • Dogs must be at least 8 weeks old to receive the vaccination.

The Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Vaccine is now available at our Murray, Utah clinic by appointment


RHDV-2 in domestic rabbits has recently been documented in Salt Lake and Washington County.


Rabbit hemorrhagic disease is a highly contagious, fatal disease in rabbits and is currently classified as a reportable, foreign animal disease in the United States. It has been spreading to multiple states across the Southwest since 2020. The vaccine should be fully protective 14 days after the second vaccine booster, which should be given 3 weeks after the first dose.

  • It requires an appointment in the Murray clinic. Customers can call 801-261-2919 ext 230 to schedule and need to make sure to mention upfront that they are scheduling for a rabbit (since we don’t take appointments for other pet vaccinations). Appointments will allow us to provide a lower-stress environment for rabbits.
  • Rabbits must be at least 8 weeks old to receive the vaccination.
  • The vaccination costs $40 and the USDA requires that the bunny is microchipped to receive the vaccine. We can provide the microchip implant for an additional $35. Your rabbit will need a booster (or second dose) three weeks later, which costs an additional $40.

If you have any questions about the preventative health services provided by our Affordable Clinics in Murray or St. George, please visit Clinic Locations to learn more.