!!!   POISON   !!!

in Dogs and Cats


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:: Chocolate :: Raisins & Grapes :: Related Links ::


Pets & Poisons

Many things in your home may be poisonous to your pets. Dogs, cats, and other animals are curious. They like to lick and chew. This places your pets at risk of being poisoned. You can help keep your pets safe by storing and using poisons safely. Be aware of these common poisons in and around your home:

Because of your pet's small size, it cannot tolerate any beer, wine, or liquor. Large amounts of alcohol can be deadly. Do not give your pets alcohol or let them lick up spilled drinks.

Automotive Products
Many automotive products, including car cleaners, antifreeze, windshield washer fluids can be deadly to your pets. Store automotive products in tightly closed containers kept out of the reach and sight of your pets. Make sure you clean up any spills or leaks right away. When getting rid of automotive products, follow the product label directions. Do not pour products into the street or onto the grass or yard.

Chocolate can be deadly to your pets. Baking chocolate is more dangerous than semi-sweet and milk chocolate. Store all chocolate out of the reach and sight of your pets.

Raisins & Grapes
As few as seven Raisins or Grapes can kill your pet! Go HERE to read more!

Keep your pets away from yards and gardens when you are using fertilizers. Your pets may get poisoned by licking their paws after walking on a newly fertilized lawn.

Flea and Tick Sprays
When you use flea and tick products, always read the product label and follow the directions carefully. If your pet begins to act strangely, stop using the product. Wash your pet off with soap and water, and call the Poison Center or your veterinarian right away. Never use products meant for dogs on your cats or products meant for your yard or house on your pets.

Household Cleaners & Chemicals
Toilet bowl cleaners, bleach, dishwashing detergents, drain cleaners, pine oils, and other cleaning products can be deadly to your pets. Keep your pets out of rooms where cleaners are being used. Your pets can easily get into cleaners left in open buckets or spilled on the floor. Make sure you clean up cleaning supplies and spills right away. Keep cleaners stored in tightly closed containers, out of the reach and sight of your pets.

Medicines and Vitamins
Medicine and vitamins meant for people may not be safe for your pets. This includes over-the-counter medicines like aspirin, ibuprofen, cough or cold medicines and decongestants. Never give medicine meant for one animal to another. Always check with your veterinarian before giving your pets any medicine. Make sure you follow directions when giving your pets medicine. Keep medicines stored out of the reach and sight of your pets at all times. With their curiosity and strong teeth, dogs can easily open medicine bottles and tubes.

Pesticides are chemicals used to kill weeds, bugs, rats, mice, and other rodents. They can also kill your pets. Before you use any pesticide, read the product label and follow directions. If you use baits or powders, put them where your pets cannot find them. Keep your pets off lawns sprayed with lawn chemicals until they are completely dry. Store pesticides in tightly closed containers kept out of the reach and sight of your pets.

Plants and Mushrooms
Many indoor and outdoor plants and mushrooms are poisonous to pets. Pets, especially cats, love to chew on plants. Keep poisonous plants away from your pets! Make sure you know the names of your plants.


This page deals only with dogs and cats, the most popular pet species in the United States. In 1995 the Arizona Poison Control and Drug Information Center received nearly 2000 calls regarding poisonings in pets. Pet poisonings can occur in many ways; the most common are the ingestion of medications, foods, plants and toxins, and encounters with poisonous animals. In general many pet poisonings can be avoided through some simple precautions.

Pet Poisoning Prevention

Pets are not little humans and have different reactions than humans to many substances. Because of this, foods that are safe for humans may not be for pets. Did you know that chocolate is poisonous to dogs? It is important to only feed pets pet food. Do not feed a pet food that may be spoiled. Prevention of poisonings is not hard and may save your pet's life.

Never leave poisons where your pets may drink or eat them. Keep out of reach all household cleaning products, insecticides, fertilizers or other lawn care products. Discard empty containers safely in a place where your pet will not play with them.

Gasoline, cleaning solvents, and antifreeze are poisonous. Clean up spills and do not leave these liquids in a bowl or jar that a pet can drink from. Antifreeze is especially dangerous as it tastes sweet, and even a small amount can be fatal. Always clean up spills.

Pets will often eat a pill that has been dropped on the floor or playfully knock over a bottle of pills left where they can reach it. Always pick up dropped pills quickly. Do not allow pets to play with pills. Most pain medications such as aspirin or Tylenol can be deadly to cats and harmful to dogs. Always check with your vet before you give your pet any medicine for pain. 
Know what plants are in your house. Many young pets play with house plants and may eat them. Unfortunately many house plants are poisonous and you may want to remove or secure plants that are especially dangerous.

Flea and tick sprays, shampoos, collars and dusts contain insecticides and should be used cautiously. If your pet becomes confused or does not act normally, discontinue the use of the product, rinse the animal well in clean water and call your veterinarian.

Many poisons made to kill mice or rats smell and or taste good to pets. Always place these products where your pet can not get to them. If they are poisonous to mice they are probably poisonous to your pet.

Pets will chew on almost anything. Give them safe non-toxic pet toys to chew and play with. This not only helps to entertain us and the pet but also keeps them busy so they don't chew on toxic plants or other things they should not have.

Do not allow or encourage your pet to drink alcohol, which may have very dangerous effects.

Pets and Plants

Many plants found in and around the house are dangerous to pets that play with or eat them. It is important to know the types and names of the plants that you have in case of an accident. Of course any plant treated with an insecticide is treated with a substance that may be poisonous to the pet. Some plants that are known to be very toxic to pets include: apple trees, apricot trees, azaleas, black acacia, black locust, carnation, Carolina jasmine, china berry, coffee tree plant, delphininium, English ivy, four o'clocks, geranium, ivy, jimson weed, lantana, lobelia, lupine, mock orange, morning glory, mountain laurel, oak tree, oleander, peach tree, photinia, potato plant, pregnant onion, rhododendron, rosary bead, sago plant, string of pearls, vinca, and wisteria. These are only some of the plants commonly found around the house or in the yard that are poisonous to pets. (Click here for list of poisonous plants).

What to do:
In the event that you suspect a plant poisoning of your pet:

  • Remove any plant parts remaining in the mouth and attempt to rinse around the mouth with water. Do not use a forceful stream from the hose directed at the back of the mouth you may force water into the animal's lungs. Allow the animal to drink a small amount of water (one glass). 

  • Look for changes in the skin around the mouth, eyes, or paws, such as swelling, reddening, or blisters. 

  • Watch for excessive or foamy salivation. 

  • Identify the plant your pet ate. 

  • Call the poison center or veterinarian.

  • Always take the suspected plant or remaining parts of the plant with you if going to the veterinarian's office or an emergency clinic.

  • Never try to induce vomiting by sticking your finger down your pet's throat.

Pets and Medications

Pets do not react to medications the same as humans. Trying to adjust the amount of medicine to give a pet based on the amount to give to a child or adult normally does not work and may result in the death of a loved pet or needless suffering due to a drug that does not work. It is very important to ask a veterinarian about which medicines can safely be given to a pet. Some examples of the dangers are listed below.

Pain medications

Aspirin, Tylenol and other over-the-counter pain medications can be very dangerous for pets. Cats should not be given any medication containing aspirin, phenylbutazone, indomethacin, ibuprofen, naproxen, or acetaminophen as they may cause serious illness or death. In dogs, naproxen is very dangerous, ibuprofen can cause stomach bleeding and vomiting, and indomethacin is toxic. The amount of aspirin given to dogs is very small and usually given only once or twice a day. It is very important to ask your veterinarian what drugs can be given safely and in what amounts. 

Cats are particularly sensitive to any medication containing morphine, codeine or similar products. These products result in excitement of the animal and may result in death.


Do not give your pet antibiotics that were prescribed for humans or other pets. Certain antibiotics are prescribed for certain types of infections and may not be effective for the particular problem of your pet. Topical antibiotics such as bacitracin and neomycin may be applied to cuts or scrapes, but the injury should be watched closely for swelling, reddening and puss until healed. If this occurs seek the advice of your veterinarian. Bites and punctures require special care and are best handled by veterinarians.

Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center
Web Site

Things You Should Never Feed Your Dog

Unfortunately, there are a number of household items which we tend to take for granted that are potentially very dangerous to your dog's health. It is especially important to be aware of this because as you know, dogs are essentially scavengers and will often eat just about anything they can sink their fangs into. I would say that my own dog is more like a mobile garbage disposal. It is also very important to be aware of these items since their sense of smell is so well developed that your pooch will be able to find what you may think is well hidden.

One of these dangerous household items, it turns out, is simple chocolate. While chocolate has been reported recently to be high in human-friendly antioxidants, it appears to be potentially lethal for our pets, and particularly for our dogs. Cats are mostly unaffected since they do not care for the taste of chocolate, but dogs tend to be crazy about it. Certain breeds of dogs react differently to chocolate. The root of the problem is that chocolate contains various chemicals which are called methylxanthine alkaloids (some types have more of these chemicals than others). Sadly, relatively miniscule amounts of these chemicals are capable of causing such serious problems as constriction of the arteries and an increased heart rate. Large amounts may cause even more dire symptoms and a pound of milk chocolate could possibly kill a sixteen pound dog. If you find that your dog has eaten chocolate then by all means take note of the it's type and try to estimate the amount eaten. Then get on the phone with a veterinarian or an emergency facility. Be sure that your children know how important it is to keep chocolate out of your dog’s reach.

If you are not aware that your dog has consumed chocolate, the consequences could be severe. If consumption is not found within 4 to 6 hours without the right treatment, cardiac failure, seizures, coma and death could result, according to veterinarian Dr. Jane Bicks.

In addition to seemingly innocent chocolate, there are a number of other common household items that may seem safe for our dogs but that can be downright dangerous.

Some mushrooms, for example, can produce abdominal pain, liver andd kidney damage and amenia. So be aware of wild mushrooms when you are out walking your dog in wooded areas. Garlic may seem benign but can cause vomiting, liver damage, anemia and diarrhea so do not give your pet baby food since it can contain garlic.

Anti-freeze can shut down your dog's kidney and they tend to love the taste. Miscletoe can cause vomiting, abdominal pain and depression. Onions can cause liver damage, anemia and diarrhea. Onion can also sometimes be found in baby food. Cats are actually somewhat more sensitive to this one so keep out of the reach of both.

Coffee, like cocoa, is especially dangerous, and may cause heart rate increase, diarrhea, seizures, coma, death. Caffeine just does not have the same effect in dogs.

When outside be careful around apple and cherry trees. While the fruit is safe, the leaves and roots are not. And be very careful about Moth Balls. it's primary chemical naphthalene is extremely toxic to dogs and can result in tremors and seizures.

Concerning dog food, you should be looking for dyes and other chemicals, according to Dr. Jane BHA, for instance, which is one of the main synthetic antioxidant preservatives used to prevent food discoloration, has been observed to cause cancer in laboratory rats at certain doses. Small doses are as yet unclear but since dog food is eaten every day caution is advised. Many conventional dog food brands have large quantities of sodium to make them palatable, and this can be quite harmful to a dog. 

Aaron Wilmont is an author and researcher in the fields of human and pet health.
Web Site

Alcohol Poisoning in Pets 
Alcohol is a dangerous substance for pets. Common sources include:
  • Rubbing alcohol disinfectant used for first aid in the home (methanol)
  • Alcoholic beverages (ethanol)
  • Bread dough (in raw rising dough, ethanol)

Dogs in particular may be attracted to alcoholic beverages left out by the pool or on tables, so keep drinks and bottles are out of reach at all times.

Bottles containing first aid alcohol may also be chewed open by curious pets so make sure that these are locked away in a cabinet along with other home medications.

Signs of alcohol intoxication in pets may include:

  • vomiting

  • wobbly gait

  • depression and disorientation

  • hypothermia (low core body temperature)

High doses may result in:

  • heart arrhythmias

  • seizures and tremors

  • death

Signs of alcohol poisoning usually begin 30 to 60 minutes after ingestion. If alcohol ingestion is suspected, bring your pet to see a veterinarian immediately. Call the veterinary clinic before you leave to let them know you are on the way and to get instructions for care during transport. If you find a chewed bottle and are not sure what concentration of alcohol it contains, bring it along as well. 

Animal Health Care
Web Site

  • Tylenol (acetaminophen) and Advil, Motrin IB (ibuprofen) are toxic to dogs and cats.
  • Ointments containing zinc can cause stomach irritation in pets
  • Mosquito and lice sprays formulated for humans are toxic if applied to pets (because they are likely to lick themselves and ingest the DEET or permethrin). 
Links to related sites


:: Poisonous Plants :: Non-Poisonous Plants :: Poisoned! :: Foods to Avoid ::
:: Chocolate :: Raisins & Grapes :: Related Links ::

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