Protecting Your Pet From Poisons

We all know that we must keep our pets away from rat poison and antifreeze; however there are many items in our homes that can be also harmful to our pets. On this page you will find many common items around your home that are toxic to your animals, what symptoms to look for if you think a toxin been ingested, and what steps you should take after the poison is in your pet's system.

Human medications are number one on the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) list for top 10 poisons. Both over the counter and prescription medicines need to be kept out of the reach of your pets. Common side effects for the consumption of human medications include fatigue, nervousness, stumbling, vomiting, irregular heartbeat, facial swelling, trouble breathing, muscle tremors, and seizures.

Most houseplants have some level of toxicity and should be kept out of your pet's nibble range. Some of the more common toxic house plants include (but not limited too): Philodendron, Peace Lilies, Schefflera, Shamrock Plant, Ivy, Jade Plant, Lilies, Hyacinth, Amaryllis, Aloe, Azalea/Rhododendron, Babies Breath, Begonia, Cyclamen, and Bamboo. Poinsettia, commonly considered a highly toxic plant, is actually quite overrated - consumption of an entire plant will cause only transient vomiting. If you would like a more complete list of poisonous plants visit the ASPCA List of Poisonous Plants.

Below is a list of the other most common poisons found in and around your home. There are many other toxins not found on the list, so if your pet has gotten into something you think might be poisonous and is not found on the list, please call us immediately!

ToxinSide Effects
Acetaminophen, Tylenol, Ibuprofen Blue gums, shortness of breath, facial swelling, depression, lowering body temperature
Ant/Roach Baits Panting, shortness of breath, stumbling, blue gums, facial muscle twitching, trembling, seizures
Antifreeze Nausea, vomiting, depression, wobbling, stumbling, seizures, irregular heartbeat, irregular breathing
Apple Seeds, peach pits, Apricot Pits, Cherry pits Breathing problems, signs of shock, red gums and nose, staggering, seizures, confusion
Batteries Salivation, burns in the mouth, vomiting, pain, abdominal tenderness, breathing fast, increased heart rate
Birth Control Pills Vomiting and diarrhea
Bone Meal or Blood Meal Stomach upset and can cause blockage in the digestive system
Bread Dough Abdominal pain, bloat, vomiting, stumbling, depression
Chocolate High blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, nervousness, tremors, seizures, panting
Cigarettes, Tobacco Products and Tabaco Quitting Aids Excited, hyperactive, fast heartbeat, salivation, diarrhea, urination, muscle twitching, seizures, shallow respiration
Cleaning products Irritation of mouth, drooling, difficulty swallowing, pain, lesions in mouth, vocalization, panting, airway swelling, abdominal pain, bloody vomit
Coffee, tea, pop, coffee Grounds Irregular heartbeat, low body temperature, tremors, seizures, easily excitable
Compost or molding foods Excessive salivation, restlessness, muscle tremors, seizures
Fertilizers Vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, gum and nose irritation, fever, tremors, weakness, seizures
Garlic Pale gums, irregular heartbeat, lethargic, weak vomiting, diarrhea
Glow in the Dark items Severe drooling, aggression, hiding, hyperactivity
Gorilla Glue Painful abdomen, hunched posture, gaging, lethargy
Grapes, Raisins Kidney failure: vomiting, lethargy, abdominal pain, diarrhea, irregular urine production
Herbicides Irritated nose, gums, eyes, seizures, easily excited, incoordination, vomiting, diarrhea, problems breathing
Hops Panting, irregular heartbeat, rapidly temperature raising, seizures
Ice melting products Vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, tremors, seizures (Can also cause sore paws!)
Insecticide Lack of control of facial muscles, salivation, blindness, deafness, shortness of breath, shedding tears, constricting pupils
Liquid Fuels Inflammation of the eye, nausea, vomiting, depression, blue gums, weak pulse, convulsions, diarrhea - possibly bloody, wobbling, fixed pupils
Macadamia Nuts Weakness pronounced in the rear limbs, depression, vomiting, stiffness, shaking, toe tapping hind leg, abdominal pain, high temperature
Mothballs Nausea, vomiting, seizures
Mushrooms Seizures, hallucinations, depression, stumbling, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, salivation
Nuts: Walnuts, peanuts, almonds Excessive salivation, restlessness, muscle tremors, seizures
Onions Pale gums, irregular heartbeat, lethargic, weak vomiting, diarrhea
Pennies Vomiting, diarrhea, depression, weakness
Plants Species dependant (See below!) - Vomiting, depression, diarrhea, abdominal pain, hyper salivation, tremors
Potpourri Irritation of the gums, mouth, tongue, esophagus, vomiting, salivation, intense pain, low body temperature
Rodenticides Coughing, depression, weakness, bleeding from gums and nose, bloody stool, bloody vomit, bloody urine
Silica Gel Packets Nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite
Xylitol (Sugarless candies, gums)Weakness, lethargy, vomiting


Gfeller, Roger W., and Shawn P. Messonnier.Handbook of Small Animal Toxicologyand Poisonings. St. Louis: Mosby, 2004. Print.

Lee, Justine A. DVM, DACVECC. Veterinary Information Network, INC. Top Ten Small Animal Toxins: Recognition, Diagnosis, Treatment. ACVIM, 2010.Web. 15 Dec. 2010.

Richardson, Jill DV. "Medical FAQ’s: Common Household Hazards." Veterinary Information Network, INC. Web. 15 Dec. 2010.

"Top Ten Pet Poisons of 2009." n.p.Web. 15 Dec. 2010.

"Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants." n.p.Web. 15 Dec. 2010.

Waddel, Lori S. DVM, DACVECC. Veterinary Information Network, INC. Household Hazards and Toxins (V306).University of Pennsylvania, 2009.Web. 15 Dec. 2010.