Household Items Poisonous to Pets

As a pet parent, we know that there is nothing you wouldn’t do to keep your furbabies healthy and safe. In honor of National Poison Prevention Week coming up (third week of March), we have put together a list of common items that may be found in and around your home that could be poisonous to your pets. Knowing what to avoid and the signs to look for can prevent your pet from becoming seriously ill.


  1. Xylitol: Xylitol is a substance that is commonly used as a sugar substitute in human food, medicin, candy and gum. For pets, Xylitol is extremely toxic and can lead to low blood sugar, seizures or death. Symptoms may develop within an hour of ingestion, but they also may occur up to 12 hours later. The symptoms include vomiting, lethargy, inability to control movements, collapsing and seizures.

  2. Chocolate: Chocolate contains theobromine, which neither dogs nor cats can process properly once ingested. The darker the chocolate, the more deadly it can be. Common first signs of chocolate poisoning: vomiting, diarrhea. It can also cause seizures or even a heart attack.

  3. Grapes/Raisins: Keep these away from your pups. Both have been shown to cause kidney failure in dogs. Common signs of grape toxicity in dogs: vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. They may also have trouble urinating, seem lethargic or develop bad breath.Macadamia nuts

  4. Macadamia nut toxicity is rarely fatal for dogs, but it can cause vomiting, diarrhea and depression. Your dog can also experience tremors or weakness.

  5. Onions, Chives, Garlic & Leeks: Plant species in the Allium genus, such as these, often make dogs and cats sick. They contain compounds called organosulfoxides. When the animal chews the plant, the organosulfoxides are converted into a mixture of sulfur compounds, which can cause the animal's red blood cells to break down. Symptoms of Allium poisoning may appear a day or several days after consumption, depending on the amounts ingested. Common first signs include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and loss of appetite. Animals that ingest these develop anemia, and show symptoms such as weakness, rapid breathing, high heart rate, pale color in mucous membranes and reddish or brown urine.

  6. Alcohol/Hops:

  7. Ethanol, or alcohol, poisoning in small animals generally occurs when an animal accidentally ingests an alcoholic beverage. When pets digest ethanol, it gets rapidly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and reaches the brain, just as it does in humans. Within an hour, the animals may show depression, loss of movement control, lethargy, sedation and high body temperature. Animals may go into a coma and develop a dangerously slow breathing rate.

  8. Hops contain a variety of compounds — including resins, essential oils and tannins — which can lead to fever when pets ingest them. Other symptoms include anxiety, rapid heart rate, panting, vomiting, abdominal pain and seizures. The affected animals may show symptoms within hours of eating hops. The risk of death can remain high even after the animal is treated for fever.


  1. Pest-Control Products: The poisons designed to kill pests can also kill your pet. Gopher bait causes intestinal necrosis, and a painful death can follow. Snail and slug bait causes tremors and seizures- again, a painful death can follow. Rat and mouse bait can cause life-threatening hemorrhages, brain swelling and death if ingested. Pesticides are designed to be attractive to pests - and therefore can also be attractive to dogs and cats.

  2. Antifreeze: Can be deadly to dogs. It can cause fatal kidney failure. The main ingredient in antifreeze, ethylene glycol, tastes sweet and is attractive to dogs. Symptoms can include: drunken behavior, wobbly movement, vomiting, excessive urination, diarrhea, rapid heart beat, weakness, seizures, fainting or coma.

  3. Detergents (dish washing, laundry, fabric softener): Detergents are much more dangerous for dogs than regular soap. They can cause serious damage to mucus membranes of the mouth and intestines. First signs are usually upset stomach and drooling from the mouth. They an also cause vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, swollen abdomen, lesions in the mouth, disorientation, seizures, or skin irritation.

  4. Batteries: Mouth ulcers, throat and stomach issues can all result from the acid in batteries if chewed and ingested by your pet.


  1. Human Pharmaceuticals:

  2. Acetaminophen in Tylenol and other drugs can interfere with oxygen flow or do irreparable harm to the liver. Especially poisonous to cats.

  3. Albuterol: If your pet likes to chew on things that they shouldn’t, be sure to keep your inhaler out of reach. For pets, Albuterol can cause severe poisoning. Symptoms can include: heart arrhythmia, increased heart rate, and vomiting. If not treated immediately, they may be at serious risk of death.

  4. NSAIDS (Advil, Aleve, ibuprofen): Can cause serious harm to pets. If ingested, nsaids can cause serious stomach and intestinal ulcers as well as kidney failure.

  5. ADD/ADHD Medications: These medications contain potent stimulants such as amphetamines and methylphenidate which, if ingested by pets, can cause life-threatening tremors, seizures, elevated body temperatures and heart problems.

  6. Veterinary Pharmaceuticals: They are prescribed for your pet, but make sure to keep them out of reach, because a dog can overdose on these drugs.Oral doses are often flavored and hence attractive: if your dog finds the stash they might gobble it down.


  1. Aloe Vera: It is mildly toxic to cats and dogs, and while it is usually not life-threatening, it can cause vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy.

  2. Holly: It is mildly toxic to both cats and dogs and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and depression if ingested.

  3. Azaleas, Rhododendrons, Oleander: These flowery bushes are highly poisonous to pets. Just a few leaves from azalea or rhododendrons can cause vomiting diarrhea, excessive drooling, abnormal heart rhythms or seizures. If not treated right away, your pet could fall into a coma or even die. Oleander can be just as deadly. In addition to the symptoms above, this plant can cause heart issues that can lead to death. It can also cause a dangerously high level of potassium.

  4. Lilies: Lilies are one of the biggest plant danger to cats. Any lily poses the risk of death for your cat, and should not be in cat friendly homes. Ingesting the petals, sniffing the pollen or drinking the water in the vase can be enough to send their system into shock. Symptoms to look for: vomiting, diarrhea, drooling and bad breath.

  5. Tulips & Daffodils: Many common flower bulbs are toxic to dogs who love to dig them up. Signs to watch for: vomiting, diarrhea, drooling and difficulty breathing.

  6. Sago Palms: These beautiful, ornamental plants are phenomenally toxic when consumed by dogs. They can suffer liver failure, vomiting, jaundice, loss of appetite, diarrhea, hemorrhage and death.

  7. Foxtails: Although foxtails pose a risk wherever they grow, dogs may be exposed in their own yards. Regularly check for these weeds and remove all that are found. The barbed seed heads of the foxtail plant can work their way into any part of your dog or cat, from the nose to between the toes and inside the ears, eyes, and mouth. They can even simply dig themselves directly into a patch of skin. Because these tough seeds don't break down inside the body, an embedded foxtail can lead to serious infection for your dog. It can even lead to death if left untreated.

If you suspect your pet has ingested any items on this list, or if they experience any of the symptoms above, contact your vet immediately.

Follow the link below to find the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Phone Number and more extensive, printable lists of plants, food, & products to keep out of reach of your four-legged family members.

If you want to learn about pet-proofing your home, CLICK HERE.

Sources: Mesa Northeast Animal Hospital, Live Science, The Dog People, Pet Poison Helpline


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