As pet owners, we’re responsible for keeping our companions happy, healthy, and safe. There are many common household items that can pose a danger to your pet’s health, so we’ve compiled a list of substances that can be dangerous for your pets to ingest. This isn’t a complete list, so if you’re ever unsure about whether something your pet ingested is potentially harmful, please contact us and we’ll let you know!
Food and drink
- Alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, blood acidity, coma and even death. Under no circumstances should your pet be given any alcohol.
- Bones, both cooked and raw, can splinter, leading to dangerous injuries in a pet’s digestive tract. Store-bought treats made for chewing are a safer alternative.
- Chocolate, coffee, and coffee beans all contain substances known as methylxanthines. When ingested by dogs and cats, these substances can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. The darker the chocolate, the more methylxanthines it contains–white chocolate contains the smallest amount of methylxanthines, while baker’s chocolate contains the highest concentration. Cocoa bean mulch also contains methylxanthines. Avoid giving any type of chocolate to your pets.
- Citrus fruits, like oranges, lemons, and limes, contain citric acid and essential oils. While small doses will only result in irritation and an upset stomach, larger doses may result in central nervous system depression.
- Coconut products contain coconut oil, which can cause an upset stomach and diarrhea, due to the high fat content. Coconut water is high in potassium, which may harm your pet.
- Grapes, raisins, and currants can cause kidney failure in dogs. Even grape juice is dangerous for dogs to ingest.
- Onions, garlic and leeks are toxic to dogs and cats. They contain a substance called thiosulphate that damages the red blood cells in your pet’s body and causes them to burst. Ingredients like onion powder and garlic powder also contain this substance. This is one of the many reasons why you should not feed your pet table scraps.
- Macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs and cause symptoms like lethargy, vomiting, and difficulty walking.
- Milk and dairy products should not be fed to dogs or cats. Contrary to popular belief, dogs and cats are lactose-intolerant, which means that eating or drinking dairy products can cause upset stomach, gas, and diarrhea.
- Nuts, such as almonds and walnuts, are high in fat, which can cause stomach upset, diarrhea, and even pancreatitis in some cases.
- Raw bread dough is very dangerous for animals to ingest, because it expands in the stomach, which blocks blood circulation in the digestive tract. This requires emergency surgery. The yeast in the dough can also produce alcohol in the stomach, leading to severe intoxication and death.
- Raw meat and eggs may contain dangerous bacteria like salmonella and E. coli. Raw eggs contain an enzyme that reduces the absorption of biotin, resulting in coat and skin problems. Although animals in the wild have no problem eating raw food, your pets have been domesticated over thousands of years and their digestive systems are now adapted to eating cooked foods.
- Salty foods can cause excessive thirst, dehydration and even sodium poisoning in pets. Symptoms of sodium poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, high body temperature, seizures and even death. It’s best to avoid giving your pet salty foods like potato chips and pretzels.
- Xylitol is a sugar-free sweetener commonly found in gum, sugar-free candies, toothpaste, and mints. This substance is toxic to dogs and even small amounts can lead to dangerous drops in blood sugar and liver failure.
- Acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol and other painkillers, is highly toxic for dogs and cats. Even a single tablet can lead to liver damage in dogs and a fatal reaction in cats.
- Prescription drugs, like antidepressants, ADHD medication, and sleep aids, can cause serious harm to your pet. These drugs are often eaten by pets after they’ve been accidentally dropped on the ground.
- Tobacco is toxic to both dogs and cats due to the nicotine content. This also means that e-cigarette juice, nicotine gum, and nicotine patches are also dangerous for dogs and cats. When ingested, it can cause vomiting, tremors, collapse and death.
- Veterinary medicine, such as heart medication, is usually made to be flavorful for your pets. That’s why pets may sometimes get into their medication and eat a large dosage of it. This can be extremely dangerous, so be sure to store your pet’s medication in a safe place where they cannot reach it.
- Batteries contain caustic substances that can lead to ulcers when chewed on or ingested by dogs and cats.
- Detergents can cause ulcers when ingested by dogs and cats.
- Fabric softener sheets can cause ulcers when ingested or chewed on by dogs and cats.
- Household cleaners, like bleach, ammonia, and clog removers, can cause ulcers and severe poisoning in dogs and cats. Be sure to store your household cleaners in a safe location that your pets can’t access.
- Mothballs are toxic to dogs and cats. They can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and death, especially when they are treated with naphthalene.
- Mouse and rat poison can also cause toxic effects in cats and dogs when ingested. Some of the common ingredients in these poisons will cause internal bleeding when ingested by cats and dogs.
Outdoor products and plants
- Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol, which tastes sweet to dogs and cats. As little as a teaspoon can cause irreversible kidney failure in dogs and cats.
- Fertilizers may contain poisonous substances like pesticides and herbicides, as well as dangerous amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, iron, and zinc. When treating your lawn, make sure that the fertilizer has dried before letting your dogs and cats outside. Some fertilizers require rinsing before your lawn is safe to walk on—check your product packaging to make sure.
- Insecticides can cause vomiting, seizures and difficulty breathing when ingested. Even insecticides found in flea and tick products can cause poisoning when they are not used correctly.
- Jimson weed, also known as datura, stinkweed, and devil’s trumpet, is a plant in the nightshade family that can cause restlessness, stumbling and respiratory failure in cats and dogs.
- Kerosene and gasoline can cause drooling, stumbling, and difficulty breathing in dogs and cats. Be sure to keep lighters and tiki torch fluid in a safe place away from your pets.
- Lilies cause kidney failure in cats. Lily of the valley causes heart failure and death in both dogs and cats.
- Sago palms are poisonous to dogs and cats. They can cause liver failure, vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures.
- Windshield wiper fluid is poisonous to dogs and cats. It can cause low blood sugar and stumbling.
- Zinc is toxic to dogs and cats and can lead to anemia, kidney failure, liver failure and heart failure. Even consuming a single zinc penny can result in health problems.