March is "National Pet Poison Awareness Month."

Each year, thousands of dogs and cats suffer from accidental ingestion of household items. Our pets need their humans to protect them from the many common household items that may be a toxic risk. Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter (FAAS) encourages you know what to do if your pet comes in contact with or ingests poisons.

Pet-proofing and awareness are important. Think about all the places your pet can access in addition to the main area in your home. Do your pets have access to the laundry room where they come in contact with cleaning products or the garage where you may store fertilizers, weed killer or other harmful poisons? Can they get into the bathroom cabinets where you have medicines? It is important to think about all of the possible hazards and protect your pet as best you can.

For a list of toxins or other chemicals harmful to pets, please visit http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poisons. FAAS recommends preparing a pet poison first aid kit to save your pet's life. You can find a helpful list of poison first aid kit items at http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-owners/basics/pet-poison-first-aid-kit.

If you are unsure if your pet has ingested a potentially poisonous item, call your veterinarian the Pet Poison Helpline at (800) 213-6680, available 24 hours a day. Timely identification and treatment can save the health and life of your pet.

PET OF THE WEEK: HOLLY is a 4-year-old, neutered mini-lop. His foster family calls him a playful rascal.

DOG ALLEY: There are 21 dogs available at the Alameda Animal Shelter. TOMMY LEE is a 4-year-old dachshund mix. He is a mellow, sweet guy who's happy in your lap or out walking with you. RUFUS is a 2-year-old Labrador and pit bull mix with beautiful black and white markings. He's a big, mellow goofy guy that loves people, other dogs and everyone.

CAT LAIR: There are 29 cats available at the Alameda Animal Shelter. O'MALLEY is a 7-month-old, orange-and-white tabby that is friendly and affectionate. INKY is a sweet, 18-month-old black cat with beautiful amber eyes that loves attention.

RABBIT ROW: PUTI, a 5-year-old New Zealand white, HOLLY, a 4-year-old mini-lop, and BELLE, a 1-year-old Rex, are in foster care. Contact the shelter for more information. Visit FAAS on Facebook for frequent updates on what is available or already adopted!

upComing FAAS events

  • Mobile Adoptions -- Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at West End Flea Market, College of Alameda, 555 Ralph Appezzato Memorial Parkway. March 16 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at See Spot Run, 2510 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda.

  • Pet Loss Support Group -- March 20 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the FAAS Shelter, 1590 Fortmann Way, Alameda, led by Jill Goodfriend, RN, LCSW. For more information or to RSVP, contact Jill at 510-393-1359.

    For more information on these events, visit the FAAS website at http://www.alamedaanimalshelter.org/or call 510-337-8565.

    Mim Carlson, Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter's executive director, is filling in while Linda Treml is away. Visit the Alameda Animal Shelter at 1590 Fortmann Way at Grand Street, call the shelter at 510-337-8565 or visit petharbor.com to view the animals.