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30 Common Pet Poisons

By Colleen Williams
published: March 12, 2023 - updated: March 13, 2023 • 3 min. read
dog sniffing grapes

As pet parents, we try to give our pets the best possible lives, including researching the healthiest foods, providing the ideal amount of exercise, and making sure they get their daily pets and scritches. It’s important to understand what potential threats could harm a pet, including potential toxins they may come in contact with. Poisoning is one of the most common reasons for vet visits – pet parents spend upwards of $8 million on poison treatments every year. From A to Z, here are 30 common pet poisons you should be aware of.

1. Acetaminophen. Brand name Tylenol, it’s also found in DayQuil and other pain relief medications.

2. Alcohol. Beer and liquor are the obvious hazards, but fruitcake and unbaked dough are also common pet poisons.

3. Antifreeze. Its sickly sweet flavor attracts pets; drips or puddles on garage floors are responsible for most dogs’ antifreeze poisoning.

4. Caffeine. Also known as methylxanthine toxicity, caffeine poisoning can result from soda, coffee, chocolate, energy drinks, and diet pills or supplements.

Chocolate is poisonous to dogs

5. Chocolate. The most well-known of common pet poisons, the darker the chocolate – dark and baking chocolates can be deadly – the more severe the reaction.

6. Detergent. Similar to antifreeze, laundry detergents, and fabric softeners have a sweet scent and taste that’s tempting to pets but can result in burns to the mouth and digestive system.

7. Fertilizer. During spring and summer, pets’ paws can easily track in fertilizer; the problem arises later when they ingest the poison while grooming.

8. Garlic. A little-known pet poison, too much can lead to intestinal upset, diarrhea, and vomiting in pets.

9. Gorilla Glue. Ingestion can have deadly effects, as the warm, humid stomach environment causes the glue to foam, rise and harden in the digestive system; surgery is typically required to remove the resulting mass.

grapes are poisonous to dogs

10. Grapes and raisins. A very random pet poison, grapes and raisins are particularly toxic to dogs; the reasons are currently unknown.

11. Hand warmers. Pet parents should keep these iron-containing pouches out of paws’ reach.

12. Herbicides. Roundup is notorious for pet poisonings and is also thought to cause cancer in humans; keep pets inside for 24 hours if you must use weed killers or use an all-natural method like vinegar.

13. Ibuprofen. An NSAID medication, ibuprofen poisoning typically results from pet parents unintentionally overdosing their pets. Never give your pet a non-animal-specific medication without direction from your vet.

14. Marijuana. With the rise of medicinal and recreational marijuana, more pets than ever are experiencing marijuana poisoning, often from consuming marijuana-infused foods like brownies, cookies, and candy.

15. Mothballs. When doing spring cleaning, keep these pesticide-filled products away from pets and discontinue use.

16. Mouse/rat poison. Rodent poisons are extremely toxic to pets, and are typically kept within reach of curious noses; if you have a pest problem, consult a professional exterminator for pet-safe options.

17. Mushrooms. We’re not just talking about magic ‘shrooms here – even household mushrooms can be toxic, so any ingestion is considered an emergency by vets.

18. Nicotine. Similar to issues surrounding marijuana poisoning, increased use of flavored e-cigarette products is dangerous for pets who find them sweet treats.

19. Onions. Cats and Japanese dog breeds seem more sensitive to onion toxicity, which can lead to intestinal issues and anemia.

20. Pesticides. Spray-on products can cause mild gastrointestinal symptoms if ingested after application; the real danger arises when pets consume straight from the container in large doses.

21. Playdough. Homemade dough, in particular, is a common pet poison, as it contains high amounts of salt.

22. Poison hemlock, ivy, and oak. Symptoms of contact or accidental ingestion are identical to humans; however, pets’ fur typically prevents them, so most danger lies in the transfer to pet parents.

23. Rhododendrons. Pet parents should also beware of azaleas, rhodies’ smaller cousin; even the tiniest of ingestion can cause severe cardiovascular and gastrointestinal symptoms.

24. Rhubarb. A common pie ingredient, rhubarb is native to the Pacific Northwest and in warmer climates; symptoms are generally mild, except in large doses consumed by small animals.

25. Tick/flea medication. Overapplication or ingestion of these products can cause damage to the central nervous system and affect the heart.

26. Toads. The Colorado River and Marine toads are common throughout the southwest U.S. and tropical areas; immediate treatment is essential even for brief contact with a toad, as its secretions can be deadly.

27. Tulips and hyacinths. Commonly grown in household gardens, these flowers are beautiful but mildly toxic to pets..

28. Xylitol. While it may sound fancy, xylitol is an artificial sweetener in sugar-free items like snacks, toothpaste, and gum.

29. Yew. Every part of the yew tree is considered poisonous, especially to animals, who may experience life-threatening changes in vital signs and seizures.

30. Zinc and lead. So-called “heavy metal poisoning” occurs when pets consume products containing the metals, like diaper creme, nuts and bolts, and some coins.

colleen williams
By Colleen Williams

Over the past decade, Colleen has written about health, wellness, beauty, and even pets for The New York Times, The Cut, Refinery29, xoVain, Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, and Seattle Met Magazine, as well as many beauty brands. She has a BFA in Art History from the University of New Mexico and an AAS in Fashion Design from Parsons School of Design in New York.

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