How to Make Sure Your Pet Doesn’t Get Poisoned

When you least expect it, pets can ingest toxic food or human medication – it can happen quickly and without you ever noticing. I don’t have to tell you how bad the outcome can be. Please read on, so you know how to spot commonly found indoor and outdoor pet poisons and can keep your pets safe. I also include a substantial list of potentially toxic substances that you can find in and around your home below.

Identify Basic Household Pet Poisons

It’s essential to be aware of what can harm your pet. Such things include cleaning solutions, medications such as painkillers, blood thinners, antihistamines, and so forth.

Do not keep any of these types of items in areas accessible by animals, such as tabletops, shelves, or countertops. Make sure all bottles are labeled correctly and store any potentially hazardous items where your pets cannot get at them.

If you have a clever pet that can open cupboards, you can put child locks on the cupboard doors to keep your pet safe.

Poisonous household products and foods:

  • Cleaning solutions:   Bleach, ammonia, chlorine, formaldehyde, phenol, and isopropyl alcohol are often used in cleaning products – all of which can be harmful to pets. You can find one or more of these substances in household cleaners, such as:
    • Floor cleaners
    • Toilet bowl cleaners
    • Fabric softeners
    • Counter cleaners
    • Air fresheners
  • Pest control products: Pest control products can be lethal to pets. Before purchasing or using any pest control products, read the directions and safety use notes.
  • Medications
    • Painkillers
    • Heart medications
    • Anti-psychotic drugs
    • Antihistamines
    • NSAIDS: non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Vitamins:  Vitamins intended for humans can be toxic to pets if eaten in large amounts.
    • Chewable vitamins can be flavored with xylitol.
    • Too much vitamin D can result in a very elevated calcium level in your pet’s body, resulting in secondary kidney failure.
    • Prenatal vitamins often contain higher levels of iron, which can result in severe vomiting, diarrhea, and even organ damage and failure.
    • Too much calcium in a pet can lead to weakness, listlessness, increased drinking and urination, and loss of appetite.

Never Leave Food Open and Unattended

Pets are known for getting into the darndest things. Animals are curious; sometimes, the most interesting thing they find is something from your counter, floor, or garbage. Ensure that food items left out on a countertop or in the open are inaccessible to your animal. Secure lids firmly, and put away tempting foods like fruit, nuts, and sweets.

Human foods that cause the most pet deaths:

  • Coffee, Chocolate, Caffeine
  • Xylitol (this is a sweetener found in products like sugar-free gum, mints, and some candies.)
  • Onions, Chives, Garlic, and Leaks
  • Grapes, raisins, sultanas, currants
  • Alcohol

Secure All Dangerous Chemicals, Medicines, and Products

When shopping for products for your pet, be sure to purchase only those approved or prescribed for your pet.

Although some of the same medications we use can be effective in treating animals, the doses for animals are different and must be precise to the pet’s species, age, weight, etc. When the dosage is wrong or used on an animal without a prescription, it can be fatal for the pet. The same applies to pest control products such as flea and tick prevention. Never use such products intended for one animal on another animal without checking with us first. When using a tick or flea control product on your pet, choose one specifically formulated for your pet and follow the instructions carefully.

Indoor Plants Can Be Pet Poisons

It is nice to decorate your home indoors with houseplants and flowers. There are many you can choose from that are safe for pets. However, you must check if a plant is safe for your pet before bringing it into your home or keep plants poisonous to pets safely out of their reach. In addition to the plants named above, here are some common poisonous indoor plants:

  • Poinsettias
  • Aloe Vera Plant
  • Corn Plant
  • Jade Plant
  • Caladium or “Elephant Ear”
  • Dieffenbachia or “Dumb Cane”
  • Asparagus Fern

Inspect Outdoor Areas Before Letting Pets Enter

Inspect your yard and remove any potential hazards before allowing your pet to roam. Check for yard chemicals such as fertilizers, rocks, plants, mulch, and anything else your pet could explore. Also, watch for animals that pose a danger to pets – snakes, spiders (black widow and brown recluse), and other pests are possible threats. For information and pictures of poisonous snakes in Texas you can read the article: Identifying Venomous and Nonvenomous Snakes in Texas.

Call a professional pest control service to remove the problem from your yard if necessary. But let the professional know you have pets and ask them about their product’s toxicity to pets.

A person touching a plant, cat playing

Our blog, How to Plant a Pet-Friendly Garden provides safe choices for mulches, weed killer, and snail and slug control. The blog also gives some details about poisonous plants. But here is the list of common yard plants that are poisonous to pets.

  • Sago Palm
  • Castor bean or castor oil plant
  • Cyclamen
  • Dumbcane
  • Hemlock
  • English Ivy, both leaves and berries
  • Mistletoe
  • Oleander
  • Thorn apple or jimsonweed
  • Bulb plants such as tulips, daffodils, irises, lilies, and hyacinths

Beware of Antifreeze

Unfortunately, pets tend to be attracted to the taste of antifreeze. It is fatal for pets if ingested and they are not treated immediately. So, watch for spills or leaks from your car and clean them up immediately. WikiHow has step-by-step instructions on How to Clean Anti-Freeze off a Garage Floor. Store any containers of anti-freeze well out of reach of pets.

Know the Signs of Pet Poisoning

As a pet owner, you want to keep yourself informed so you can tell as rapidly as possible if your furry friend needs medical attention. These are some of the common things to watch out for:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Irregular/stumbling gait
  • Lack of appetite or water intake
  • Seizures
  • Trouble breathing: wheezing, shortness of breath, slowed breathing, and difficulty breathing. You may also see the gums turn blue in color.

If you observe any of these indicators or anything unusual about how your pet acts, act as quickly as possible. The faster you get help, the better the chances are that there will be no long-term adverse effects for your loved one. You can get more information about pet poisoning from the

Final Words

Being alert to pet poisons in and around your home is critical to the safety of your pets. Using our list of poisons, you can inspect your home for any poisons your pet could get into and take action to protect them from accidental poisoning and an emergency visit to their veterinarian.  Safeguarding your pets from poisons will give you peace of mind and keep your pets safe from harm.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or need to schedule an appointment. We are here to give your furry family members high-quality, compassionate care.

Dr. Stewart & Your Friendly Team

College Hills Veterinary Clinic

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