Do You Know Which Common Household Items Are Toxic to Cats and Dogs?

Emergency Situations

Pet poisonings are some of the most common for veterinary visits. There are a multitude of seemingly innocuous common household products that can be potentially fatal to your pet. Since prevention is always better than cure, it is vital that pet parents are aware of the potential risks involved with everyday items.

Sometimes a Single Dose Can Be Fatal

In most cases, the dose makes the poison. This is true for anything from ingesting certain house plants to eating onions/garlic and dark chocolate. However, there are certain items that can be fatal to your pet, even with the smallest dose.

A glaring example is antifreeze, a common automobile fluid, found in essentially everyone’s garage. It is an odorless chemical that also happens to have a sweet taste (But don’t try it!). Even a fraction of a teaspoon of antifreeze (ethylene glycol) can be a fatal dose for a cat due to its harmful effects on the kidneys. Other examples of highly toxic items (even at small doses) include Lilies for cats, Tulips for dogs, Tylenol (acetaminophen) and other NSAIDS, and rodenticides (rat bait).

If your pet did ingest something dangerous, don’t hesitate to bring it to a vet. Veterinary professionals are not here to judge, our aim is the well-being of your pet. Call the ASPCA’s poison control hotline immediately: (888) 426-4435

Other Common Household Items That Cause Toxicity in Pets

Human and Veterinary Medications

Over the counter pain medications, which include Aspirin, Tylenol, Excedrin, Ibuprofen, and decongestants, are never safe for your pet. Same with any prescription medications. Keep these in their childproof containers and out of reach.

Please consult with a veterinary professional before administering any medications to your pet, even those meant for animals. If prescribed, only use these products as instructed and NEVER use topical flea/tick medications meant for dogs on a cat.

Dangerous Foods for Cats and Dogs

Please keep potential toxic foods out of pet’s reach, whether in higher cabinets or sealed Tupperware containers. Some of the most dangerous include:

a. Chocolate (dark)
b. Coffee
c. Garlic and Onions
d. Grapes/Raisins
e. Avocados
f. Nuts
g. Alcohol

Household Plants and Garden Products

Please either refrain from planting these around your home or as indoor plants within reach of your pet:

a. Lilies
b. Tulips
c. Pothos
d. Dumbcane
e. Sago palm
f. Mistletoe/Poinsettias
g. Marijuana

Household Chemicals, Cleaning Products, and Pest Control

Please keep any household chemicals in properly sealed containers and in cabinets away from your pet. This is particularly important for anti-freeze, paint thinner, bleach, and soaps. Also be sure to store insecticides, essential oils, and heavy metals.

You should also be careful to keep your pets away from any poisonous rat traps (rodenticides). There are many different types of rodenticides on the market current that can affect a variety of organ systems. Newer D-con rodenticides contain a large amount of Vitamin D, which can cause kidney failure. Older, more traditional rat bait are Vitamin K antagonists, and can affect the liver and cause a large amount of bleeding.

Treatment for both is very different, therefore it is vital to the health of your pet, you are aware of what type of rat bait you are using and are monitoring your pet as they go outdoors.

You Can Be Your Pet’s Savior!

If your pet does ingest anything they’re not supposed to, your detailed memory of the event is your veterinarian’s most important diagnostic tool! Therefore, it is crucial that you are honest with your veterinarian about the potential toxic item your pet has ingested – whether it is a prescription medication or illicit drugs. Each poisoning not only has a different way of being diagnosed and treated but time can be a huge factor as well, therefore any misinformation can be fatal to the animal.

For more complete and comprehensive information on household toxins, please visit the ASPCA Animal Poison Control website.

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center provides toxicology education, consulting services, review of case data and a 24/7 veterinary diagnostic and treatment hotline.

– Dr. Sonali Kadam, DVM

Companion Animal Clinic has been serving Blacksburg, Virginia and surrounding Montgomery and Christiansburg communities since 1974. We are an AAHA accredited veterinary hospital and provide quality, professional care for dogs, cats, exotics, and small mammals. Learn more about our amazing team.

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