Household Pet Toxicities


4 Common Household Pet Toxicities

Your home should be the place where your pet is the safest, but as a pet owner, you may have to take a few extra measures to keep it safe. There are many household items, foods, and plants that are toxic to dogs and cats if ingested, causing a variety of potentially serious symptoms for your companion. Remember, at Colony Animal Hospital in Newport News, VA we’re pet lovers, just like you are, so we want to do everything we can to educate you on some of the common pet toxicities so your pet can be safe. Four major categories are listed below.

  1. Human Medications

While human medications are designed to provide relief for humans, they can cause a range of health problems for pets. These include stomach and intestinal ulcers, neurological problems, tremors and seizures, and even kidney failure. Below is a list of some of the common drugs and prescription medications that are toxic to dogs and cats:

  • Advil
  • Aleve
  • Motrin
  • Antidepressants
  • Tylenol
  • Amphetamine
  1. Table Foods

You might be tempted to feed your pet the last piece of your dessert, but regardless of how much they beg, it’s better NOT to give your pet any sweet foods. Chocolate is one of the most common toxic foods to both dogs and cats, especially dark chocolate, due to the presence of theobromine (similar to caffeine). Symptoms of food toxicity can range from vomiting to a drop in blood pressure to kidney failure. Your pet’s size and the amount of food ingested determine the severity of the toxicity. Some other common toxic foods to pets include:

  • Foods/gum/candy with xylitol (sugar substitute)
  • Raisins and grapes
  • Macadamia nuts

As a rule of thumb, simply avoid giving your pet any sweet food. It’s just not worth the risk. Instead, keep some dog or cat treats nearby, so your pet can enjoy their own dessert—without getting sick.

  1. Toxic Plants to Pets

They look beautiful in our homes and gardens, but some plants can be poisonous to pets if ingested. Sometimes consuming even a small amount of certain plants can result in kidney failure. Other common symptoms of plant toxicity include vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures. So as you plant your garden and consider which plants to bring into your home, be aware of the following plants—all of which are toxic to dogs and/or cats:

  • Lilies (toxic to cats)
  • Sago palms (toxic to dogs and cats)
  • Chrysanthemums (toxic to dogs and cats)
  • Azaleas (toxic to dogs and cats)
  1. Household Chemicals

This should be no surprise, since most chemicals have warning labels for humans, too. Whether your pet accidentally ingests a certain chemical indirectly or just inhales too much of it while you’re cleaning your home, both can put your pet at risk. Although pets typically wouldn’t deliberately ingest most household chemicals, there is one chemical that many pets DO drink intentionally, and that’s antifreeze. This is due to its sweet taste and smell, but if even just a tablespoon is ingested, it can lead to kidney failure. Always read the warning labels on all of your household cleaning and other chemical items, especially the ones below:


  • Antifreeze
  • Detergents
  • Polishes
  • Sprays
  • Mildew removers

Think Your Pet Has Been Poisoned?

If you ever suspect that your pet has come in contact with a toxic substance, call your local poison control hotline for immediate assistance. All poison control hotlines are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For more information about household toxicities and/or ways to protect your pet, give us a call at (757) 877-6464.

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