Pet Poisons – call (888) 426-4435 or your Veterinarian if in doubt.
Understanding Common Pet Poisons
Too often, we expose our loved pets to life-threatening poisons and other unknown hazards. Many common household products we consider safe can be extremely toxic to our pets, acting as common pet poisons. We must first understand that the habits of our pets are much different than that of humans, creating situations unforeseen even by the most experienced pet owners. Dogs and cats groom themselves with their tongues. They ingest virtually everything their bodies come in contact with. Household floor cleaners often contain toxic chemicals such as Phosphates and Ethylene Glycol. Since puppies and kittens often clean their paws with their tongues, they are most vulnerable and susceptible to common pet poisons on the floor and within reach, which is compounded by their low body weight and fragile tolerances.
Proper Use of Flea and Tick Medications: Avoiding Common Pet Poisons
Flea and tick medications are often misused and can become common pet poisons. Product labels should be thoroughly read and understood prior to application. Never use dog medications for your cat and vice-versa. Never assume medications deemed safe to use on humans are safe to use on our pets. Never overdose due to insect infestation; remember, these insects have probably already compromised the health of your pets, rendering them more prone to overdose as a result of common pet poisons. Read the product safe use labels thoroughly and check for expiration dates. Never repackage pet medications without transferring all pertinent labels. Never assume a new and improved product is the same as previously used similar products. Our Pets can’t read, so to become a responsible pet owner, always give them your best efforts.
Rat Poisons: A Lethal Threat to Pets
Rat poisons are extremely toxic since a very small dose can be lethal, even for large healthy dogs. Ingesting rodents already exposed to rat poison, a form of common pet poison, can also be lethal for your pet. These poisons incorporate anticoagulants such as Brodifacoum and Warfarin. Once the blood clotting factor of your pet is compromised, your pet will bleed out internally without immediate Veterinarian help.
A Comprehensive Look at Common Pet Poisons: Other Hazards and Toxic Considerations
Below are just a few of the many hazardous and toxic considerations for your pets. As responsible pet owners, it’s essential to recognize and protect our beloved animals from these common pet poisons. Whether it’s avoiding accidental ingestion or proper medication handling, awareness and caution can go a long way in keeping our pets safe from the common pet poisons lurking in our homes.
- Acetaminophen, found in Tylenol and other medications, can cause liver damage in dogs. Cats are even more sensitive: Ingestion of a single 325 mg tablet by a 10-pound cat can cause anemia and even be fatal. Toxicity Ranking: moderate to severe.
- Batteries are toxic to both dogs and cats, leading to ulcers in the mouth, esophagus, and stomach. Toxicity Ranking: moderate to severe.
- Chocolate can cause seizures and death in dogs and cats. Darker chocolate, such as unsweetened baker’s chocolate, is more toxic than milk or white chocolate. Even cocoa bean mulch, when eaten in large quantities, can be a problem. Toxicity Ranking: moderate to severe.
- Detergents and fabric softeners, including softener sheets, can cause ulcers in the mouth, esophagus, and stomach in dogs and cats. Toxicity Ranking: mild to moderate.
- Ethylene glycol is found in antifreeze, windshield de-icing agents, floor cleaners, and motor oils. Dogs and cats are attracted to its sweet taste, but as little as a teaspoon in cats or a tablespoon in dogs can cause kidney failure. These products and the injury they cause can accumulate in your pet’s body. Recently, antifreeze and engine coolant manufacturers have agreed to voluntarily add bittering agents to reduce the products’ appeal to pets and children. Use propylene glycol instead, or whenever available. Toxicity Ranking: severe to fatal.
- Fertilizers can potentially contain toxic amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, iron, zinc, herbicides and pesticides. Keep dogs and cats away from and off of treated lawns until they are completely dry. Check the product packaging safe use labels, though, since some products must be rinsed into the lawn before it is safe to walk on. Toxicity Ranking: mild to moderate.
- Grapes, raisins, and currants – even grape juice – in small amounts can cause kidney failure in dogs. Toxicity Ranking: moderate to severe.
- Household cleaners, such as bleach, drain cleaners, ammonia, toilet bowl cleaners, and again floor cleaners, can cause gastrointestinal ulcers and other often more serious problems in dogs and cats. Toxicity Ranking: varies.
- Insecticides in flea and tick products can cause problems if not used according to labels. Insecticides that are meant for dogs can cause severe toxicity in cats, leading to signs such as vomiting, seizures, and difficulty breathing. Products intended for treating the yard or house should not be used on pets. Toxicity Ranking: mild to severe.
- Jimson weed, also known as devil’s trumpet, can cause restlessness, drunken walking, and respiratory failure in dogs and cats. Toxicity Ranking: moderate.
- Kerosene, gasoline, and tiki torch fluids can cause drooling, drunken walking, and difficulty breathing in dogs and cats. If these products contain antifreeze, they are even more problematic. Toxicity Ranking: moderate to severe (potentially life-threatening).
- Lilies – Easter, day, tiger, Japanese, and Asiatic varieties – can cause kidney failure in cats. Lilies of the valley can cause heart rhythm problems and death in dogs and cats. Toxicity Ranking: moderate to severe.
- Mothballs, especially if they contain naphthalene, can be toxic to dogs and cats, resulting in vomiting, diarrhea, increased drinking and urination, and seizures. Toxicity Ranking: moderate to severe (potentially life-threatening).
- Nonprescription medications, such as ibuprofen, can lead to severe ulcers and anemia, as well as liver and kidney failure in pets. Toxicity Ranking: moderate to severe (potentially life-threatening).
- Onions, Garlic, Leeks, and Chives can be toxic in dogs and cats. When chewed or swallowed, these ingredients can cause anemia and gastrointestinal upset. Toxicity Ranking: mild to moderate.
- Prescription Medications, such as anti-depressants, ADHD medications, and cardiac drugs, are commonly ingested by pets when pills are dropped or left out on counters. Even a small dose can cause problems. Toxicity Ranking: varies.
- Queensland Nuts, also known as macadamia nuts, can cause lethargy, vomiting, and difficulty walking in dogs. Toxicity Ranking: mild to moderate.
- Rodenticides, such as mouse and rat poisons, can contain a number of different toxins which have different effects on dogs and cats. Several common ingredients, like warfarin, brodifacoum, and coumarin, can cause blood clotting problems and hemorrhaging. Toxicity Ranking: mild to severe.
- Sago palms are one of a number of toxic plants for dogs and cats. Ingestion can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures, as well as liver failure in dogs. Toxicity Ranking: severe.
- Tobacco can be toxic to both dogs and cats. Ingestion of nicotine in the tobacco plant or in cigarettes or patches can lead to vomiting, tremors, collapse, and death. Toxicity Ranking: moderate to severe.
- Unbaked bread dough can expand in the stomach. If the stomach twists, cutting off the blood supply, emergency surgery is needed. The yeast in the dough can also produce alcohol, leading to seizures and respiratory failure. Toxicity Ranking: mild to severe.
- Veterinary prescriptions, such as arthritis medications, are often meat-flavored, which can be enticing to dogs. Ingestion of large quantities can result in stomach ulcers, liver failure, or kidney failure. Toxicity Ranking: moderate to severe.
- Windshield wiper fluid can contain methanol or ethylene glycol. Ingestion of methanol can cause low blood sugar and drunken walking in dogs and cats. Toxicity Ranking: mild to moderate.
- Xylitol is a sugar-free sweetener commonly found in chewing gum, breath mints, and toothpaste. In dogs, it can lead to dangerous drops in blood sugar and liver failure. Toxicity Ranking: mild to severe.
- Yard products, including snail and slug bait, insecticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, are never good for pets. Signs will vary by the ingredient. Toxicity Ranking: varies.
- Zinc toxicity can happen when dogs and cats eat metal or coins. Ingestion of even a single zinc penny can be fatal. Zinc can cause anemia, as well as liver, kidney, or heart failure. Toxicity Ranking: moderate to severe.
- Pet collars, be aware that these decorative collars used on kittens and puppies can often result in strangulation or even hanging. Kittens and puppies grow rapidly, requiring frequent readjustments of their collars. I recommend that collars only be used on puppies and kittens when they are attached to a leash that is attached to a responsible pet owner or handler. The use of collars is not toxic but cause enough injury and death to add them to this list.
- Fur, through the grooming process of your pets, especially cats, fur balls can form in their digestive tracts, causing a host of symptoms and potentially serious health problems. Providing cat grass, especially during the spring when pets are shedding fur, is highly recommended. Many other products work well, but I always try to rely on natural remedies first.
- Water, left out for just a few days, can become infected with bacteria, protozoans, spirochetes, etc… The added chemicals (Chlorine or Bromine) that prevent this contamination in drinking water dissipate in just a few hours when exposed to air and sunlight. Provide fresh drinking water in clean sanitized bowls for your pets daily.