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As a responsible pet owner you try to keep your pets out of harm's way as much as possible. But there may be hidden dangers in and around your home which you may not realize are a problem when ingested by your pet. Here are some common toxicities with which pets may have problems.



Dried Grapes (Raisins)


Did You Know?
Grapes and raisins can cause
kidney failure in dogs.

There are foods eaten by humans which can cause serious problems when eaten by our pets.

  • Chocolate can be toxic (especially baker's and dark chocolate, but even milk chocolate in large amounts).
  • Xylitol, a sweetener found in many sugarless gums and candies, can cause a severe drop in blood sugar level and even liver failure in dogs.
  • Grapes or raisins can result in kidney failure in dogs.


Always consult your veterinarian before medicating your pet, even when using over the counter medications. They are often not as harmless as you may think.

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Advil or Motrin (Ibuprofen) or Aleve (Naproxen) can cause stomach and intestinal ulcers and potential kidney failure. Even some veterinary NSAIDs such as Carprofen (Rimadyl) can cause signs when over ingested in large amounts.
  • Anti-depressant drugs such as Prozac, Paxil, Celoxa, and Effexor can cause neurological signs such as sedation, incoordination, tremors and seizures.
  • ADD/ADHD medication such as Adderall and Concerta contain stimulants which can cause neurological signs, increased body temperature, and heart problems.
  • Acetominophen, found in Tylenol and some cough and cold medications, in large amounts can cause liver failure in dogs. Even a single Tylenol tablet can be fatal for cats.
  • Cough or cold medications containing acetaminophen as mentioned above, or decongestants like pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine can cause problems.
  • Glucosamine joint supplements can, with overdose, cause liver problems.

Household Products

  • Strongly acidic or alkaline cleaners found in toilet bowl cleaners, lye, drain cleaners, rust removers, and calcium/lime removers can cause stomach and respiratory tract problems, even chemical burns due to their corrosive nature.
  • Insecticides—always use according to recommended guidelines. Sprays, bait stations, and even some spot-on flea and tick products meant for your pet can cause problems when ingested. Some products meant for dogs can cause severe toxicity when used in cats.
  • Lawn and garden products
  • Antifreeze
  • Rodenticides—symptoms depend on the type poison. Signs may not present until several days after consumption

Toxic Plants

The ASPCA has an online list of toxic plants: Toxic and Non-toxic Plants. Some common problems are azaleas and rhododendrons, sago palms, tulip and daffodil bulbs.

Of course preventing the problem of toxicity is best, but what should you do if you suspect your pet has been poisoned? Firstly, try to stay calm and rational. Gather together the remaining poison and packaging to try to get an idea of how much is missing. This will be important information to your veterinarian or outside experts who may help. Then call your veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) at (888) 426-4435.

Pet Proofing Your Home

  • Store all chemical and cleaners in areas inaccessible to your pet.
  • Keep medications in child-proof containers inaccessible to your pet.
  • Follow guidelines for flea and tick products.
  • Place rodenticides on high shelves where your pets can't find them. Tell your neighbors if you put out rodenticides and ask that they do the same.
  • Opt for non-toxic plants, or keep toxic plants out of reach.

Top Pet Toxins of 2013*

  1. Perscription human medications
  2. Insecticides
  3. Over-the-counter human medications
  4. Household products
  5. People food
  6. Veterinary Products and medications
  7. Chocolate
  8. Rodenticides
  9. Plants
  10. Lawn and garden products

*According to ASPCA Animal Control Center in Urbana, Illinois