March 18, 2022 3 min read

This month is all about Pet Poison Prevention Awareness. Something that all pet parents have thought about and may have, unfortunately, experienced at one point or another. When our pets get into things they shouldn’t, it is a very alarming experience. The best way to avoid emergency vet visits due to our furry friends eating something bad, is to take extra care in familiarizing yourself with things that should be avoided.

1. Toxic Food

While there are many human foods our pets can enjoy, there are several that should be avoided as they can lead to vomiting, gastrointestinal issues, and in some instances, kidney failure and death.

These are some foods that should be kept out of reach and never fed to your pet:

1. Alcohol – Can cause several harmful side effects if your pet ingests it, including coma and death. You should never feed your pet alcohol.

2. Chocolate – Any and all types of chocolate are toxic to pets, but baker’s chocolate or dark chocolate poses the greatest threat.

3. Onions/garlic – Any root vegetable in the onion or garlic family (i.e. shallots, chives, scallions, etc. ) are considered toxic to pets.

4. Raw dough – That contains yeast is especially harmful to pets. The yeast can actually expand in your pets’ stomach. This expansion of the stomach leads to bloating and they could become ataxic.

5. Grapes/raisins – Both contain a substance toxic to pets – tarcaric acid. In both cats and dogs, grapes and raisins can lead to kidney failure if consumed in larger quantities.

Remember – always consult your veterinarian before giving your pet any new food!

2. Houseplants

Houseplants should always be something every pet owner takes extreme caution with when bringing into their home. Many houseplants are toxic to pets, especially cats. While there are many pet-friendly houseplants, here are a list of several common houseplants that should be avoided:

1. Lilies – Nearly all lilies are toxic to cats and a few varieties are toxic to dogs. Unless you are 100% certain the kind of lily you have isn’t toxic – keep it outside and away from your pets!

2. Aloe Vera – Aloe plants contain a substance called anthraquinone glycosides which can result in vomiting and diarrhea if ingested.

3. Mother-In-Law’s Tongue – Another common houseplant that can cause vomiting and diarrhea in pets and is best kept out of the house completely.

3. Medication

All medications should be kept locked away securely and safely. Keep them out of reach from your pet by storing them in medicine cabinets or using child-safe locks on cabinet doors that could be easily reached.

If your cat is feeling sick, don’t try to medicate them yourself with common pain killers such as Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen. These medicines are useful to us humans when we’re feeling sick, but unless your veterinarian recommends something, don’t give it to your pet.

4. Cleaning Supplies

You should never allow your pet to lick, drink, or eat any cleaning supplies. Always try to use cleaning brands that make pet and child-safe products when cleaning around areas that they commonly hang out in. Cleaning supplies should be kept locked away securely in the house or kept outside in the garage or shed where your pet won’t have access to them.

5. Common household items

There are many other household items that may not be as obvious that can pose a threat to our pets’ health. Here is a list of a few items to keep out of reach:

1. Products containing xylitol – sugar-free gum, some peanut butters, toothpaste, etc. Can all contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is toxic to pets.

2. Gorilla glue – Any kind of strong glue, such as wood glue or construction glues pose a serious health risk to your pets.

3. Playdough/slime – Due to the high salt content of play dough and the presence of borax and other chemicals in slime, makes both of these items toxic to our pets.

4. Coffee grounds – Make sure your pets are not able to get into your trash cans as the amount of caffeine present in coffee grounds makes them especially toxic to cats and dogs. Ingestion of caffeine poses many serious side effects in our pets.

5. Potpourri / Oils – Many essential oils that we commonly enjoy as people are harmful to pets. Liquid oils such as sweet birch, peppermint, and pine are all toxic to pets. Even skin exposure can be harmful.

If you are worried that your pet may have eaten or come into contact with a potentially harmful substance, contact Poison Control (800) 222-1222 or the Animal Poison Control (888) 426-435 line immediately.

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