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Nov 07

The following are some of the most common household items, people foods and plants that are poisonous to pets. This is NOT an all inclusive list; if your pet ingests any of the following seek veterinary care immediately.

Household Poisons

Ant and Roach baits
Most of these insecticide products are non-toxic to animals. Two exceptions are products that contain chlorpyrifos or arsenic. Cats are especially sensitive to chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate, causing drooling, vomiting, runny eyes, small pupils, anxiety, urination and diarrhea. Pets should be decontaminated immediately by emesis (vomiting) and activated charcoal. Arsenic is a stomach irritant and will usually cause vomiting, the pet has decontaminated itself. If the animal does not vomit veterinary care should be given.

Button batteries often stick to the esophageal wall causing severe burns. Lithium batteries are more likely to cause esophageal perforation. If batteries have been ingested whole and not bitten into, feed a large soft meal and induce vomiting. If the battery is not expelled surgical removal is suggested. If the battery has been bitten into vomiting may cause further burning of the esophagus lining and surgical removal is the best option.

Chocolate contains methylxanthines, theobromine and caffeine, which vary in amount depending on the type of chocolate. Baker’s chocolate contains the highest amount of methylxanthines while white chocolate contains very little. Signs of toxicity include increased heart rate, vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, increased urination and drinking of water, lethargy, heart arrhythmias, seizures and death. Inducing vomiting, giving activated charcoal and IV fluids to increase elimination are all methods of treatment your veterinarian may use.

Tobacco products contain varying amounts of nicotine. Signs of ingestion/toxicity occur within 15-45 minutes causing excitation, increase breathing rate, salivation, vomiting and diarrhea. This is followed by weakness, twitching, depression, increased heart rate, shallow respirations, collapse coma and even death. If patient is not showing signs of toxicity vomiting should be induced and activated charcoal given.

Cleaning Products
Most household cleaning products contain acidic or alkaline ingredients, which will cause caustic or corrosive lesions in your pets GI tract. Usually these products have been diluted in water and will result in mild vomiting if ingested. If your pet happens to ingest full strength cleaning products the best course of action is to see your veterinarian for treatment with GI protectants.

Most fertilizers will cause mild GI upset. However some fertilizers contain significant amounts of iron which may be toxic to your pet. Fertilizer that contains disulfoton, an organophosphate, are highly toxic to your pet and can cause seizures and pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) requiring veterinary treatment. Bone meal and blood meal are also used in fertilizers making them palatable to your pet and can cause significant GI upset and may cause an obstruction of your pets GI tract.

Naphthalene is the active ingredient in most mothballs. Common signs after ingestion are vomiting and blood disorders causing severe anemia. Your pet will need veterinary care immediately if mothballs are ingested by your pet.

As little as one teaspoon in a cat or a tablespoon for dogs can be fatal. Signs of early poisoning include acting drunk, incoordination, excessive thirst, and lethargy. Signs usually improve after 12 hours, but internal damage has been done to the kidneys which will result in kidney failure. Immediate treatment is vital after antifreeze ingestion.

Mouse and rat poisons (rodenticides)
These poisonous baits can be fatal for your pet and if ingested require immediate veterinary care. Rodenticides also pose the potential for relay toxicity; if your pet ingests a mouse or rat that has been poisoned your pet will be poisoned as well. The safest option is to keep all these poisons out of reach from your animals and do not allow your pet to eat small rodents.

Top 10 people foods to avoid feeding your pet.
Remember, if your animal ingests any of the following (NOT inclusive list) seek veterinary care.

Chocolate, Coffee, Caffeine
These products all contain substances called methylxanthines, which are found in cacao seeds, the fruit of the plant used to make coffee and in the nuts of an extract used in some sodas. When ingested by pets, methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. Note that darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate. White chocolate has the lowest level of methylxanthines, while baking chocolate contains the highest.

Alcoholic beverages and food products containing alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death.

The leaves, fruit, seeds and bark of avocados contain Persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. Birds and rodents are especially sensitive to avocado poisoning, and can develop congestion, difficulty breathing and fluid accumulation around the heart. Some ingestions may even be fatal.

Macadamia Nuts
Macadamia nuts are commonly used in many cookies and candies. However, they can cause problems for your canine companion. These nuts have caused weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs. Signs usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and last approximately 12 to 48 hours.

Grapes & Raisins
Although the toxic substance within grapes and raisins is unknown, these fruits can cause kidney failure. In pets who already have certain health problems, signs may be more dramatic.

Yeast Dough
Yeast dough can rise and cause gas to accumulate in your pet’s digestive system. This can be painful and can cause the stomach or intestines to rupture. Because the risk diminishes after the dough is cooked and the yeast has fully risen, pets can have small bits of bread as treats. However, these treats should not constitute more than 5 percent to 10 percent of your pet’s daily caloric intake.

Raw/Undercooked Meat, Eggs and Bones
Raw meat and raw eggs can contain bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli that can be harmful to pets. In addition, raw eggs contain an enzyme called avidin that decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin), which can lead to skin and coat problems. Feeding your pet raw bones may seem like a natural and healthy option that might occur if your pet lived in the wild. However, this can be very dangerous for a domestic pet, who might choke on bones, or sustain a grave injury should the bone splinter and become lodged in or puncture your pet’s digestive tract.

Xylitol is used as a sweetener in many products, including gum, candy, baked goods and toothpaste. It can cause insulin release in most species, which can lead to liver failure. The increase in insulin leads to hypoglycemia (lowered sugar levels). Initial signs of toxicosis include vomiting, lethargy and loss of coordination. Signs can progress to recumbancy and seizures. Elevated liver enzymes and liver failure can be seen within a few days.

Onions, Garlic, Chives
These vegetables and herbs can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage. Although cats are more susceptible, dogs are also at risk if a large enough amount is consumed. Toxicity is normally diagnosed through history, clinical signs and microscopic confirmation of Heinz bodies. An occasional low dose, such as what might be found in pet foods or treats, likely will not cause a problem, but we recommend that you do NOT give your pets any of these foods.

Top 10 poisonous plants to dogs and cats
Remember, if your animal ingests any of the follow (NOT inclusive list) seek veterinary care.

Tiger, Day, Adiatic, Easter and Japanese Show lilies are highly toxic and cause kidney failure in cats. Other types of lilies cause minor signs from tissue irritation resulting in drooling.

Extremely toxic especially the leaves and flowers. Ingestion causes severe vomiting, slow heart rate and possibly death.

Sago Palm
Leaves and seeds can cause vomiting, bloody stools, damage to the stomach lining, severe liver failure and sometimes death.

Same family as Rhododendrons. Common signs after ingestion are vomiting, diarrhea and excessive drooling. Without immediate care your pet could become comatose and possible die.

The roots of this particular plant are extremely dangerous and can cause severe vomiting and even death.

Can cause vomiting, diarrhea and heart arrhythmias.

Popular house and office plant. Ingestion can cause intense oral irritation, drooling, nausea, vomiting and difficulty swallowing.

Ingestion of the bulb, plant or flower can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and possible heart arrhythmias or respiratory depression.

Lilly of the Valley
Ingestion can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased heart rate, hararrhythmias and possibly seizures.

Tulips and Hyacinths
The bulbs of these flowers are especially toxic. Small amounts ingested can cause drooling, vomiting and diarrhea. If large amounts are consumed, more severe signs are seen such as an increased heart rate and respiratory changes and veterinary care in necessary.

For more information please visit ASPCA Poison Control.