In the average household, pets are only one bite away from danger. Toxic substances lurk in every room of your house, in addition to spilling across the garage floor and being sprayed on the lawn. The best strategy to keep your pet safe from toxin exposure is to learn where poisons may be hiding in your home, and then storing them securely out of your pet’s reach. Follow our Haskell Valley Veterinary Clinic team as we go room to room, pointing out pet toxins, and offering tips on how to prevent your furry pal from being poisoned.

Pet toxins in the kitchen and dining room

Rooms in which you eat, or store, cook, and serve food are the tastiest, but often most toxic to your four-legged friend. While dogs are more likely to gulp down foods they shouldn’t, cats ingest their fair share of hazardous snacks. Do not feed your pet these toxic foods:

  • Chocolate — Most pet owners know chocolates’ dangers. However, each year the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty for Animals (ASPCA) Animal Poison Control Center handles numerous calls concerning chocolate toxicity in pets. If your pet eats a large quantity of chocolate, they can develop vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, arrhythmias, or seizures. 
  • Xylitol — A popular sugar alternative, xylitol is included in many foods, medications, and cosmetics. If your pet eats sugar-free desserts, candies, or gums, peanut butter, cough syrup, or toothpaste, they can develop a severe blood sugar drop, which can lead to liver failure.
  • Onions and garlic — If your pet eats enough of these bold ingredients, they can experience red blood cell damage.
  • Grapes and raisins — Grapes and raisins contain tartaric acid (i.e., cream of tartar), which veterinarians believe can cause a pet to develop severe, acute kidney failure. 
  • Yeast dough — Ensure your pet cannot access rising yeast dough. Raw yeast dough ferments in your pet’s stomach, releasing alcohol, creating excess gas, and causing a potential digestive tract obstruction.
  • Alcohol — Alcohol affects a pet’s nervous system, and can cause them to experience confusion, weakness, panting, and vomiting.

Pet toxins in the living room and bedroom

The living room and bedroom present various pet-toxic items. When your pet is in the living room or bedroom, ensure they cannot access these common toxins: 

  • Essential oils — While most pets do not have problems when simply smelling essential oils’ aromas, those who have respiratory disorders can experience breathing difficulty. In addition essential oil diffusers can pose a threat to your furry pal if they knock over the item. Pets who come in contact with or ingest essential oils may appear depressed, vomit, have diarrhea, and become unsteady on their feet. 
  • Batteries and coins — If your pet ingests a button battery, the item can burn their esophagus, even if the battery is not punctured. If your pet punctures a battery while chewing it, the ingested caustic substance will cause burns throughout your furry pal’s gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Pennies minted after the year 1982 have a zinc core, and eating a single penny is enough to cause some dogs zinc poisoning.

Pet toxins in the bathroom

The bathroom contains many items that are the most hazardous to pets. Your pet can become seriously ill and may die if they ingest the following:

  • Medications — Store your medications securely in a medicine cabinet, and to prevent your pet from gobbling down a dropped pill, keep your furry pal out of the room when opening medicine bottles or taking your pharmaceuticals. Pets commonly ingest their owners’  cardiac, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), antidepressant, and pain medications. Remember, over–the-counter (OTC) medications intended for people are as poisonous to pets as prescription drugs. Never give your pet OTC products for diarrhea and pain, because these products can cause cats and dogs to become seriously ill and potentially die.
  • Cleaning supplies — Bathroom and kitchen cleaning supplies are exceptionally hazardous to pets. If your pet ingests any household cleaner, their signs can include vomiting, diarrhea, hemorrhagic gastritis, lung injury, and mouth, esophagus, and stomach burns.

Pet toxins in the garage

The garage is often a catchall for a multitude of chemicals and toxins that can severely harm your pet. To keep your pet safe from toxin exposure, prevent them from accessing your garage,  or if you allow your pet in the garage, ensure they cannot get into the following poisonous chemicals:

  • Antifreeze — This sweet substance is toxic, and if your pet laps up even a small amount, they will typically be unsteady on their feet, and experience depression and seizures. An affected pet may also vomit, drink abundantly, and urinate excessively. Once kidney failure develops, most pets will die. If you know or suspect your pet has ingested antifreeze, immediate veterinary treatment is critical to help ensure a good prognosis.
  • Rodenticides — If your pet ingests a rodenticide, their signs will depend on the poison’s type. Rodenticide ingestion can cause clotting issues, anemia, brain swelling, hind end paralysis, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, breathing difficulty, or convulsions.

Pet toxins in the yard

A pet’s lawn or garden chemical toxicity most frequently occurs because the products have been improperly stored, enabling the pet to nose into the container. In addition to keeping these chemicals out of your pet’s reach, carefully follow the product’s label directions. The most hazardous lawn and garden products include:

  • Fertilizers — Organic fertilizers that contain blood, bone, or feather meal are particularly appealing to pets, but if your furry pal ingests them, they can experience vomiting, diarrhea, or a GI obstruction. Rose fertilizers are especially toxic to pets, and a tiny amount can be fatal.
  • Herbicides — To prevent poisoning, follow herbicide package instructions carefully when spreading these lawn and garden chemicals. Most products require a two- to three-day drying time before your pet can safely play in the area again, so keep your furry pal confined to an untreated yard section until then.

Pet toxins lurk throughout your home, but you can take simple precautions to keep your furry pal safe even if they regularly find ways to get into trouble. If you know or suspect that your pet has come in contact with or ingested a poisonous substance, immediately call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center or contact our Haskell Valley Veterinary Clinic team.