pet toxinsAs responsible pet owners, we do everything we can to protect our furry companions; we protect them from the elements, have them microchipped, and make sure they are up-to-date on their vaccinations and parasite preventives (among many other safety precautions). Even with all of the daily care and concern we show our pets, it’s easy to overlook the pet poisoning dangers lurking in our own homes.

Pet toxins can be found almost anywhere, and our kitchen cabinets, purses, backpacks, and garage shelves are no exception. Understanding what constitutes a pet toxin is essential to protecting our pets.

Pet Toxins in the Home

You may be surprised to discover that many of the items your family uses daily may pose a danger to your pets. Take a moment to go through your home and remove or securely store the following items:

  • People food such as chocolate, Xylitol (an artificial sweetener found in sugar-free gum, candy, baked goods, peanut butter, and more), alcohol, grapes, macadamia nuts, onions/garlic, and fatty foods
  • Garbage and leftover food scraps
  • Prescription and over-the-counter human medications, including acetaminophen, anti-inflammatories, ADHD medication, sleep aids, birth control pills, antidepressants, blood pressure and cholesterol medications, and asthma inhalers
  • Pet medications (these are generally engineered to taste good to pets which can increase the danger of overdose if a pet has access to them)
  • Household cleaners and other chemicals, such as paint/paint thinner
  • Toothpaste, shampoo, cosmetics, hand sanitizer, and other personal care products
  • Cigarettes, nicotine gum or patches, or vaping products
  • House plants, such as lilies (extremely toxic to cats), philodendrons, english ivy, sago palm, aloe, and holly

According to the Animal Poison Control Center, purses and backpacks are the most common places for pets to access toxic substances. Make it a habit for everyone in the home to hang up or store backpacks, purses, coats, and bags out of reach of pets each and every day.

Garage and Yard Concerns

Inside the home isn’t the only place where pet toxins can be found. Accidental pet poisonings can occur in our garages and yards as well, so be on the lookout for the following items as you prepare for spring:

  • Antifreeze (extreme caution should be taken to ensure pets never come into contact with antifreeze; clean up spills immediately and keep unused portions tightly capped and out of reach of pets)
  • Pesticides, herbicides, rodenticides
  • Blood meal, bone meal, and other fertilizers and soil amenders
  • Compost (may contain coffee grounds or other hazardous food items)
  • Cocoa hull mulch
  • Certain outdoor plants

Preventing a Pet Emergency

Familiarize yourself with ways to pet-proof your home and the safe storage of household chemicals. If you know or suspect your pet has ingested a potentially toxic substance, give us a call or seek emergency care immediately. Have the Pet Poison Helpline number in your phone, and keep your pet’s medical records in an easy to access location.

For more information about pet toxins, give your team at Dickinson Animal Hospital and Pet Wellness Center a call.