One of the most fun parts of having is pet is watching their curious personalities explore the world. However, sometimes their curiosity causes our pets to get into things or situations that are dangerous for them.
To help keep our pets safe and healthy it is good to be mindful of the most common pet toxins and poisons and do periodic reviews to make sure that harmful substances are kept out of our pets reach! The below items are the most common substances that result in calls to pet poison help lines each year.
It can be fun to feed our pets a little bit of our food occasionally. However, there are foods that are extremely toxic to pets and can poison them. Below are a few of the most toxic foods. We recommend researching any foods before feeding them to your pet!
Alcohol: Alcohol can be toxic to pets and cause serious health problems such as vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, and even coma or death. It is important to keep alcohol out of reach of cats and dogs and seek veterinary attention immediately if you suspect your dog has ingested any amount of alcohol.
Chocolate, Coffee, and Caffeine: Methylxanthines are present in cacao seeds, coffee, and other caffeine foods and drinks. These substances can cause various symptoms in pets when ingested, including vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures, and even death. Dark chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate, and baking chocolate contains the highest amount of methylxanthines. White chocolate has the lowest level of methylxanthines.
Grapes and Raisins: Ingesting even a small amount of grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in pets.
Xylitol: Xylitol is used as a sweetener in many sugar-free products, including things like gum, candy, etc. Xylolital (also known as birch sugar) can cause liver failure in pets very quickly. Initial signs of xylitol poisoning are vomiting, lethargy, and loss of coordination. Symptoms can even progress to seizures. Elevated liver enzymes and liver failure can be seen within a few days.
Medicines are super helpful at keeping us feeling our best, but they should never be given to pets without direct instruction from a veterinarian. What is considered a small dose for a human can be a fatal dosage for a pet.
Common human drugs including acetaminophen, NSAIDs (Aleve, Tylenol, Advil, etc), antidepressants, and muscle relaxers can all be toxic to pets. Acetaminophen is known to damage red blood cells in cats, which makes it harder for their body to carry oxygens. In dogs, acetaminophen can cause severe liver damage. NSAIDs can harm your pet’s stomach and kidneys, Antidepressants and muscle relaxers can lead to neurological problems, including seizures.
Plants and flowers are a beautiful way to add life to our homes, however, there are many common varieties of plants that will poison dogs and cats.
Cardiotoxic plants that can harm your pets’ heart include azaleas, foxglove, yew, oleander, and lilies of the valley. Shamrocks and rhubarb leaves can cause kidney failure in cats and dogs. Sago and cycad palms can cause liver damage in cats and dogs.
Lilies are especially dangerous for cats!
There are many, many plants that can be harmful to pets if ingested, so it is safest to research any plants you bring into your house, in case your pet sneaks a forbidden green snack.
If your pet has craving for munching on plants, there are many grass-planting kits that are designed for consumption. These kits are not only pet-safe species of plants- they are made without herbicides that can harm your pet! This is a great example of a pet-safe grass kit.
Chemicals like soaps, detergents, etc can cause severe stomach issues and oral burns if ingested. Strong cleaners such as oven cleaners and bleach can cause lung damage if your pet is directly exposed.
Essential oils, often used to add a fresh smell to the house, can also harm pets. If breathed in, essential oils can cause long-term respiratory issues and difficulty breathing. If directly consumed through the skin or mouth (such as by grooming), pets can experience drooling, vomiting, fast heartbeat, neurological problems, and liver problems.
Since even all-natural pesticides and herbicides are designed to kill pests, they are generally highly toxic. When using these products, always pay close attention to all directions and warnings to keep yourself and your pets safe.
When applying things like flea and tick treatment, make sure you are using treatments made for the species- cats and dogs cannot handle the same ingredients and dosing.
Even though you do your best to keep your pet safe, accidents can happen. If you think your pet has consumed or been exposed to any of these items, seek immediate veterinary assistance. Common symptoms of dogs and cats who have eaten or been exposed to poisonous or toxic substances food can include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, difficulty breathing, and seizures. It’s very important to seek veterinary care immediately if you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic or poisonous.
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