As a pet owner, I can attest our pets being like family. We make sure they eat. We make sure they receive the preventative care they need. We are their one source of affection and love. We are literally their whole world and it's our job to protect them.

Unfortunately accidents do happen and it's impossible to prevent our pets from coming into contact with absolutely everything that might be dangerous for them. So what do you do if Fido finds himself paw deep in that package of Easter chocolates or Fluffy finds herself up to her murder mittens in the neighbor's azalea bushes? I mean, I don't know about you but my puppy first aid skills aren't exactly what I would call sharp.

Do you know what the symptoms of macadamia nut poisoning are? What about exposure to xylitol - that sweetener used in all kinds of sugar-free candies, cookies and chewing gums? I don't either but as a pet-mom, I feel like I should know these things. I can't exactly carry a veterinary handbook with me everywhere I go.

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The good news is that the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center offers several resources. The folks are there around the clock, all day, every day. Christmas emergency? Someone is there. Late night midnight snack mishap? Someone is there. You can call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center 24/7, 365 days a year if you think your pet may have ingested a poisonous substance. Whether it's your dog, cat, bird or horse, you can call them (888) 426-4435 - it is worth noting that they may charge a consultation fee.

Want to skip the phone call and want something more convenient and easily within reach? The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center actually has a free app. In it you'll find a plethora of information.

  • A searchable database of hundreds of different substances including but not limited to: household hazards, medications and warm and cold weather toxins commonly found in or around an animal’s surroundings.
  • Details for each toxin including: scientific name, common names, sample images, severity of exposure and potential symptoms for at-risk dogs, cats, horses, and birds.
  • Color-coding to help you identify the toxins of most concern.
  • Chocolate and rodenticide poison calculators to determine severity level.
  • One-touch speed-dialing to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center

There are a number of other features as well. As a pet mom, I am downloading this now and adding it into a folder on my phone with my veterinarian's app that I use to manage my cat's appointments and view his medical history. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control App should be on every pet parent's phone. Learn how to get it for Android and Apple here.

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