Pets will be pets and get into things they shouldn’t from time to time. It’s just in their nature. If and when your pet ingests a potential toxin, what should you do? The truth is, there’s no standard protocol; it depends on what was ingested and how long it’s been in his or her system before you realize what happened. Different toxins affect pets differently, and require specific treatment. Making your pet vomit is not always the answer.

When you discover that your pet has ingested a toxic substance, remember to remain calm. Immediately call an animal poison control center to determine the severity of the situation and what you should do to help your pet. The sooner a dog or cat poisoning is diagnosed, the safer it is to treat your pet.

There are many items in your home that, if ingested by your pet, can cause them harm and may require medical attention. Some of these are less obvious than others. Here’s a list of some of the items you should keep away from your pets and why:

Type Examples Symptoms
Food Grapes or Raisins Kidney failure in dogs
Sugar Free Candy or Gum (containing Xylitol) Low blood sugar and liver failure in dogs
Chocolate (Dark Chocolate and Cocoa are the most dangerous) Pancreatitis, elevated heart rate, seizure
Macadamia Nuts Muscle weakness, tremors
Yeast Dough Dough can rise once ingested and cause bloat
Medications ANY human medication ingestion warrants a phone call to poison control.
Tylenol is toxic to dogs and cats Dogs: Liver Toxic and Methemoglobinemia.
Cats: Methemoglobinemia
Ibuprofen GI upset, GI ulceration, kidney disease, and with high enough dosage, seizures and coma
Plants Many can cause GI upset (vomit, diarrhea, hypersalivation)
Sago Palm Liver failure in dogs
Lily Flowers (not including peace lily, calla lily or lily of the valley) Kidney failure in cats
Household Cleaners
Detergent Packs Vomiting, cough, lethargy, dyspnea, wheezing and respiratory irritation
Bleach Local tissue damage like oral burns or lesions, burns to the face or body, and could lead to risk of infection if the skin becomes open and exposed
Liquid Potpourri Pawing at the mouth, vomiting, retching, inappetence, lethargy, weakness, dehydration, abdominal pain, difficulty swallowing, organ damage
Rodenticide or Rat Bait Dogs: Internal bleeding (anticoagulants such as brodifacoum and bromadiolone), brain swelling (bromethalin), or hypercalcemia and hyperphosphatemia with resultant organ damage (cholecalciferol). Cats: Brain swelling and fatal paralysis
Antifreeze Drunkenness, excessive thirst or urination, vomiting, panting, sedation, halitosis, lethargy, coma, acute kidney failure, death
Food

Grapes or Raisins

  • Kidney failure in dogs

Sugar Free Candy or Gum (containing Xylitol)

  • Low blood sugar and liver failure in dogs

Chocolate (Dark Chocolate and Cocoa are the most dangerous)

  • Pancreatitis, elevated heart rate, seizure

Macadamia Nuts

  • Muscle weakness, tremors

Yeast Dough

  • Dough can rise once ingested and cause bloat
Medications

ANY human medication ingestion warrants a phone call to poison control

Tylenol is toxic to dogs and cats

  • Dogs: Liver Toxic and Methemoglobinemia.
  • Cats: Methemoglobinemia

Ibuprofen

  • GI upset, GI ulceration, kidney disease, and with high enough dosage, seizures and coma
Plants

Many can cause GI upset (vomit, diarrhea, hypersalivation)

Sago Palm

  • Liver failure in dogs

Lily Flowers (not including peace lily, calla lily or lily of the valley)

  • Kidney failure in cats
Household Cleaners

Detergent Packs

  • Vomiting, cough, lethargy, dyspnea, wheezing and respiratory irritation

Bleach

  • Local tissue damage like oral burns or lesions, burns to the face or body, and could lead to risk of infection if the skin becomes open and exposed

Liquid Potpourri

  • Pawing at the mouth, vomiting, retching, inappetence, lethargy, weakness, dehydration, abdominal pain, difficulty swallowing, organ damage

Rodenticide or Rat Bait

  • Dogs: Internal bleeding (anticoagulants such as brodifacoum and bromadiolone), brain swelling (bromethalin), or hypercalcemia and hyperphosphatemia with resultant organ damage (cholecalciferol).
  • Cats: Brain swelling and fatal paralysis

Antifreeze

  • Drunkenness, excessive thirst or urination, vomiting, panting, sedation, halitosis, lethargy, coma, acute kidney failure, death

Remember – if you pick up on one of the symptoms listed in the chart, and suspect that your pet has ingested a toxin, call an animal poison control center first. Based on what they tell you, call either your primary vet or CARE for additional advice or medical attention. We are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Poison Control Information:

ASPCA Poison Control
888.426.4435
$65 per case, paid by owner
Free if pet has a HomeAgain Microchip and pays for annual registration

Pet Poison Helpline
855.764.7661
$59 per case, paid by owner

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