Avoid These 10 Everyday Things Toxic to Pets


In honor of March being Poison Prevention Month, I thought this would be a great time to remind you about some everyday household items that can be toxic and even deadly to your pets. We all want to keep our pets healthy and safe. If at any time you believe your pet has consumed something that can be harmful, you should contact your vet immediately or call the ASPCA’s 24-hour poison prevention hotline at 888-426-4435. Here are a few items to avoid.



Flowers in the lily family can be extremely toxic to cats. If consumed, these plants can cause kidney failure or even death to your cat. Other plants such as poinsettias can also cause vomiting, diarrhea, blistering in the mouth and can make it difficult for your pet to breathe.


Caffeine, Coffee & Chocolate

Caffeine, chocolate and coffee all contain methylzanthines. When ingested, this substance can cause problems such as diarrhea, vomiting, abnormal heart rhythms, tremors, seizures and even death. The severity increases depending on how much is consumed.

Xylitolbubble gum a 1

Xylitol is used as a sweetener in products such as gum, candy, baked goods and toothpaste. If your pet consumes this, it can cause too much insulin to release in their system, which can lead to liver failure. Symptoms of this include vomiting, lethargy and loss of coordination and seizures.


NSAID stands for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These drugs include Advil, Motrin and Aleve. If consumed by your pet, it can cause gastrointestinal ulcers as well as kidney failure.


Although the toxic substance in grapes and raisins is unknown, ingesting these items can cause kidney failure in your pet. The reaction can be more severe if your pet also has other chronic illnesses.

Macadamia Nuts

Consuming these nuts can make your pet feel weak or depressed. They can also present heart issues or vomiting, tremors and hypothermia in dogs. They can affect the digestive and nervous systems in cats as well. Symptoms can appear between 12 and 48 hours after they consume the nuts.

Cough, Cold or Allergy Medicine

Many of these over-the-counter medicines contain to things acetaminophen and pseudoephedrine. These two items, one a pain killer the other a decongestant, can be highly toxic if consumed by pets. Keep all medicines in closed cabinets out of the reach of your pets.


Poisons used to catch mice or rats contain ingredients that can also be appealing to your dog or cat. Not only can eating the poison be damaging to your pet, but eating a mouse or rat that has digested the poison can also be harmful. Exposure to this can cause seizures, bleeding and kidney damage to your pet. If using rodenticides, make sure to place them somewhere where mice and rats and get to them, but larger animals cannot such as under a piece of furniture, behind a shelf, etc.


Beer, liquor and wine can have damaging effects on your pet’s liver and brain. In fact, you two teaspoons of whiskey can cause a 5-pound cat to go into a coma. Just one additional teaspoon could be deadly for your cat. It is safer to avoid alcohol all together for your pets and instead give them fresh, clean water.


Raw, cooked or in a powder form, onions, garlic and chives can damage your pet’s red blood cells and can also cause gastrointestinal irritation. Cats tend to be more susceptible to these health problems that other animals.


Do you have a question for Brian? E-mail him at AskBrian@hsdayton.org. Brian Weltge is the President and CEO of the Humane Society of Greater Dayton. The Humane Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to building loving relationships between people and pets. Founded 113 years ago, it is the largest and most established “no-kill” animal welfare agency in the area. It focuses on pet adoptions, eliminating pet overpopulation, providing education and ensuring the humane treatment of animals. For more information about the Humane Society of Greater Dayton, call 937- 268-PETS (7387) or visit www.hsdayton.org