Vet Blog

The Most Common Pet Toxins in Your Household

May 20, 2020

In order to avoid accidental poisonings, it's good to know what types of common household products are toxic to pets.

The veterinarians at Animal Care Center of Castle Pines want to help you keep your pets safe from harm. Many ordinary food items, medicines, and cleaning products that you use every day are unsafe for pets. Read on to learn more about which items around your house are dangerous or even deadly pet toxins.

In the Kitchen

  • Chocolate contains theobromine, which is toxic to pets. Small amounts will cause vomiting and diarrhea, while large doses can cause heart problems, tremors, or seizures.
  • Grapes and raisins are proven to be severely poisonous to pets, although the reason that they cause a toxic reaction is unknown. Large amounts can cause kidney failure and even tiny amounts will induce vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Onions and garlic are acutely poisonous to pets. Plants in the allium family have disulfides and thiosulphates, which damage the red blood cells and lead to anemia if cats or dogs ingest them.

In the Bathroom

  • Pain relievers and other medications are especially toxic to pets. Common over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen, cold medications, and herbal supplements can be deadly. Prescription medications, particularly antidepressants, ADHD medications, and heart medications are extremely toxic to pets. Secure all medications and prescriptions in a safe place.
  • Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs and can be fatal. Most commonly found in toothpaste, xylitol is a sugar substitute that is also an ingredient in sugar-free drinks and treats. It over-stimulates insulin release in dogs, leading to extremely low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) which can further lead to seizures and liver failure.
  • Household cleaning supplies are very dangerous. Always keep cleansers and solvents in a secure cupboard or closet that pets can't access. If you use bleach to clean litter boxes, kennels, or pet dishes, use a diluted solution-never use straight bleach.

In the Garage

  • Gardening Products such as fertilizers, weed killers, insecticides, and rodent poisons are extremely dangerous. Rat bait in particular smells tasty to dogs. Don't let your pet "help" you with gardening or yard work. Keep them inside and out of harm's way.
  • Antifreeze often attracts pets with its sweet smell. Clean up any spills carefully and thoroughly. If your pet licks any residue off of paws that walked through a puddle of antifreeze, it could be fatal. Ingesting even the tiniest amounts of antifreeze causes kidney failure and death.
  • Glue and paint must be kept away from pets as well. Polyurethane glues can expand in your pet's stomach and cause an obstruction that will require surgical removal. All types of paint contain volatile organic chemicals such as ethanol and formaldehyde. Keep paint away from pets and pets away from fumes.

Around the House

  • Flowers and plants could be deadly if your pet eats them. Many common decorative plants are poisonous to cats and dogs. Lilies are highly toxic to cats; ingesting even a small amount can cause acute kidney damage.
  • Marijuana can cause seizures, increased heart rate, and even induce a coma in pets if they ingest large amounts. Smaller amounts will bring about vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Trash produces many enticing smells, but eating trash is highly hazardous. Keep trash bins where pets can't get into them.

Reduce the Risks

Remember that child-proof does not equally pet-proof! Pets can use their strong, sharp teeth to chew through childproof containers. Take every precaution to secure hazardous substances in a place that your pets can't access. Keep trash secure, and teach children not to share their food or feed pets table scraps.

In an Emergency

Always keep our number close by! If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, call Animal Care Center of Castle Pines at (303) 688-3660 immediately. For after-hours emergencies, call the 24-hour ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435. The sooner you take action, the better your pet's chance for recovery.