Most ingestion of harmful substances in pets is caused by everyday household items. We don’t mean to harm our pet but accidental poisonings cause thousands of pets to suffer each year. Sadly, ingestion of poisonous substances can lead to death, but luckily it is completely preventable by knowing how to poison-proof your home. University Veterinary Hospital wants to provide you with helpful tips to educate you on the symptoms of poison ingestion and how to care for your pet if they have ingested a poisonous item.
Common Pet Poisons
The Pet Poison Helpline has compiled a list of some of the most common poisonous substances for both cat and dogs. Please note these items are not listed in any order in terms of the level of toxicity.
- Carpet Fresheners
- Essential oils
- Fabric Softener Sheets
- Grout sealers
- Scented litter
- Swiffer Wet Jet
- Toilet Cleaning Tablets
Medications and Cosmetics:
- Aspirin (includes Baby Aspirin)
- NSAIDs (Ibuprofen, Advil, Aleve, Motrin)
- Pepto Bismol
- Acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol)
- ADHD/ADD medications
- Benzodiazepines and sleep aids (e.g. Xanax)
- Birth control pills
- Petroleum Jelly
- Topical Creams and Ointments
- Bar Soap and Cleansers
- Breath Fresheners
- Cigarettes and Nicotine Patches
- Mosquito Repellent
- Nasal decongestants (pseudoephedrine)
Human Foods Dangerous to Pets
ASPCA Animal Poison Control provides additional insight on the top human foods to avoid giving to your pet, despite how much they may be begging for a scrap!
- Coffee (caffeine)
- Milk and Dairy
- Grapes & Raisins
- Macadamia Nuts
- Tea Leaves
- Raw undercooked Meat, Eggs, and Bones
- Spoiled/Rotten Foods
- Raw Yeast/Dough
- Coconut & Coconut Oil
- Salty Foods
- Xylitol (Sugar-Free Foods)
Poisonous Plants to Pets
Although there are many types of plants there are a few that are especially toxic to pets. This list contains plants that have been reported as having universal effects on animals and/or intense effects on the gastrointestinal tract. Keep in mind that the information contained in our plant lists is not meant to be all-inclusive, but a collection of the most frequently encountered plants. Please keep the list below in mind when gardening, decorating or playing outside with your pet.
- Autumn Crocus
- Lily of the Valley
- Sago Palm
*Check out the ASPCA’s full list of plants, including photos here: Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants (aspca.org)
Recognizing the Signs of Poisoning in Your Pet
The symptoms that your pet will display can vary depending on what type of poison they have ingested. However, there are some common signs of poisoning that you can look out for.
- Gastrointestinal Symptoms: diarrhea, vomiting, drooling, lack of appetite, nausea.
- Internal Bleeding Symptoms: racing heartbeat, pale gums, vomiting/coughing up blood, weakness/tiredness, and unconsciousness.
- Liver Failure Symptoms: vomiting, diarrhea, black tarry stools, jaundice or yellow coloring to the gums, unusual behavior, weakness, and subsequent unconsciousness.
- Kidney Failure Symptoms: vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst or urination, lack of appetite, halitosis/bad breath, and decreased/no urination.
*If you suspect that your pet may have been poisoned, please contact us immediately at 510-841-4412 or contact:
Pet Poison Helpline (855) 764-7661
ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888) 426-4435
Poison-Proof Your Home
To reduce the likelihood of your pet being poisoned, please be proactive in poison-proofing your home by doing the following:
- Secure all medications and cleaning products in an out-of-reach cupboard.
- Prior to using cleaning products, please ensure that no pets are in the room and wait at least one hour before you let your animals re-enter.
- Close your toilet lid to prevent your pets from drinking the water.
- Evaluate the flowers and other plants in your yard to ensure they are not poisonous. The full list of poisonous plants is available on the Pet Poison Helpline website.
If you suspect your pet has been exposed to any poisonous substances, please contact your veterinarian immediately or call the 24/7 Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661. University Veterinary Hospital proudly services the pets in Berkeley, CA. Give us a call at 510-841-4412 if you have any questions.