When your pet needs protection from common toxins, your knowledge is power. You likely keep many common pet-toxic products in your home, but do not realize the significant dangers they pose to your pet. Therefore, our Wales Animal Clinic team is sharing information about common household products toxic to pets—information that could save your cat or dog’s life.
Medications: Store out of your pet’s reach
All medications, including prescription veterinary medications, are potentially hazardous for pets. Over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications can be found in most homes, often stored in purses and backpacks where curious pets can sniff out and ingest them.
- OTC medications — Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, naproxen, joint rubs, cold medicines, and certain supplements are all potentially hazardous for dogs and cats.
- Human prescription medications — Antidepressants, and ADHD, heart, and thyroid medications are some of the most common human prescriptions—and some of the most dangerous for pets.
- Veterinary prescriptions — Ensure your pet does not have access to veterinary prescriptions, especially chewable medications, because they may eat the entire bottle or package and suffer an overdose.
Store all medications—for humans and pets—securely, out of pets’ reach. Take medication in a room without your pet, preferably behind a closed door, to ensure your pet can’t snatch a pill that you accidentally drop.
Food: Do not share table food with pets
You may find that resisting your pet’s pleading eyes while you are eating is almost impossible, but many common foods are toxic to pets. Keep food away from pets and never share the following foods, or dishes in which they are ingredients:
- Chocolate — Chocolate is delicious, and those of us with a sweet tooth find this treat irresistible. But, chocolate is unsafe—not sweet—for pets, and can be life-threatening. Chocolate contains two methylxanthines (i.e., caffeine and theobromine) that are toxic for pets. Chocolate toxicity affects each pet differently, according to their size and the amount they consume—but can result in coma or death.
- Xylitol — Xylitol is a natural sugar substitute, originally used in sugar-free candy, mints, and gum, that now is found in an ever-increasing number of food and non-food products. Xylitol can be beneficial for people watching their sugar intake, but is highly toxic for pets.
- Grapes and raisins — Pets who ingest only a small amount of grapes and raisins can go into kidney failure.
- Onions, chives, garlic, and leeks — Vegetables in the Allium family, including onions, chives, garlic, and leeks, contain N-propyl disulfide, a toxin that breaks down your pet’s red blood cells, causing anemia.
Plants: Beautiful foliage is often not pet-friendly
Curious kittens and playful puppies can turn anything into a chew toy, including plants and flowers. Pet owners must beware of the several plant species that are dangerous, and sometimes life-threatening, for pets. They include:
- Lilies — Although these plants are widely popular, especially around springtime and Easter, they are toxic to all pets, and can be deadly to cats.
- Snake plant — This houseplant can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea in pets.
- Aloe — This medicinal plant may work for humans, but can harm a pet’s digestive system, if ingested.
- Tulips — Tulip bulbs are extremely toxic to pets, causing gastrointestinal (GI) irritation, drooling, lack of appetite, lethargy, convulsions, and cardiac abnormalities.
- Azaleas — These common flowering shrubs cause serious GI issues in dogs.
- Chrysanthemums — Chrysanthemums contain pyrethrins and other irritants that cause vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, and lack of coordination in pets.
Before you buy any plants or flowers for your home or garden, always check the ASPCA toxic plant list to ensure they are not toxic for pets.
Household products: Store carefully to protect your pet
Nearly all household products can be dangerous for pets, and ensuring your pet is not exposed is vital, and potentially life-saving. The following household products are extremely toxic to pets:
- Glue and other adhesives
- Laundry and dishwasher detergents
- Rodenticides and insecticides
Keep household products stored in their original containers, with tight-fitting lids, in a closed, high cabinet, and clean up spills immediately.
Knowing which foods and household products are toxic for your pet and must be inaccessible can protect your pet from life-threatening consequences. If you have questions about pet toxins, or you suspect your pet has eaten something dangerous, do not hesitate to contact our Wales Animal Clinic team for advice and treatment.