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How to Protect Your Pets from Poisons Around The House

Feb 27, 2023Pet Health

Cat sniffing pills

From human medications and vitamins to cleaning products and garden supplies, there can be many products that are poisonous to pets. In this article, I hope to help you spot these items and keep your furry family members safe.

Identify Basic Household Pet Poisons

It’s essential to be aware of potential poisons in your home. Many are common items such as cleaning solutions, medications such as painkillers, blood thinners, antihistamines, vitamins and such. Make sure you clean up and don’t leave these types of items open on tabletops, shelves, or countertops.

Your pets can be pretty clever – some have even been known to open cupboards. If you have such as rascal around, then you can put child locks on the cupboard doors to keep your pet safe.

Here are some household products that are poisonous to pets:

Cleaning solutions:   Bleach, ammonia, chlorine, formaldehyde, phenol, and isopropyl alcohol are often used in cleaning products – all of which can be harmful to pets. You can find one or more of these substances in household cleaners, such as:

  • Floor cleaners

  • Toilet bowl cleaners

  • Fabric softeners

  • Counter cleaners

  • Air fresheners

Pest control products: Pest control products can be lethal to pets. Before purchasing or using any pest control products, read the directions and safety use notes.


  • Painkillers

  • Heart medications

  • Anti-psychotic drugs

  • Antihistamines

  • NSAIDS: non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Vitamins:  Vitamins intended for humans can be toxic to pets if eaten in large amounts.

  • Chewable vitamins can be flavored with xylitol.

  • Too much vitamin D can result in a very elevated calcium level in your pet’s body, resulting in secondary kidney failure.

  • Prenatal vitamins often contain higher levels of iron, which can result in severe vomiting, diarrhea, and even organ damage and failure.

  • Too much calcium in a pet can lead to weakness, listlessness, increased drinking and urination, and loss of appetite.

Pet Poisonous Human Food Items: 

Pets are known for getting into the darndest things. Secure lids firmly, and put away tempting foods like fruit, nuts, and sweets. Here are the top foods that cause the most pet deaths:

  • Coffee, Chocolate, Caffeine

  • Xylitol (this is a sweetener found in products like sugar free gum, mints and some candies.)

  • Onions, Chives, Garlic, and Leaks

  • Grapes, raisins, sultanas, currants

  • Alcohol

Shopping for Your Pet’s Medications

When shopping for products for your pet, be sure to purchase only those approved or prescribed for your pet.

Although some medications intended for humans can be used in treating animals, the doses for animals are different and must be precise to your pet’s species, age, weight, etc. When the dosage is wrong or used on an animal without a prescription, it can be fatal for the pet. The same applies regarding pest control products such as flea and tick prevention. Never use such products intended for one animal on another animal without checking with us first. When using a tick or flea control product on your pet, choose one specifically formulated for your pet and follow the instructions carefully.

Indoor Plants Can Be Pet Poisons

It is nice to decorate your home indoors with houseplants and flowers. There are many you can choose from that are safe for pets. However, you must check if a plant is safe for your pet before bringing it into your home or keep plants poisonous to pets safely out of their reach. In addition to the plants named above, here are some common poisonous indoor plants:

  • Poinsettias

  • Aloe Vera Plant

  • Corn Plant

  • Jade Plant

  • Caladium or “Elephant Ear”

  • Dieffenbachia or “Dumb Cane”

  • Asparagus Fern

Inspect Outdoor Areas Before Letting Pets Outside

 Inspect your yard and remove any potential hazards before allowing your pet to roam. Check for yard chemicals such as fertilizers, rocks, plants, mulch, and anything else your pet could explore. Also, watch for animals that pose a danger to pets – snakes, spiders (black widow and brown recluse), and other pests are possible threats. For information and pictures of poisonous snakes in Pennsylvania, you can read this article from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission: Venomous Snakes in Pennsylvania.

Call a professional pest control service to remove the problem from your yard if necessary. But let the professional know you have pets and ask them about their product’s toxicity to pets.

Some common garden plants are toxic to pets. Below we’ve named some of the common ones. For a more complete list of toxic plants for pets you can visit www.almanac.com and read the article: Plants That are Toxic to Cats, Dogs, and Other Pets.

  • Sago Palm

  • Castor bean or castor oil plant

  • Cyclamen

  • Dumbcane

  • Hemlock

  • English Ivy, both leaves and berries

  • Mistletoe

  • Oleander

  • Thorn apple or jimsonweed

  • Bulb plants such as tulips, daffodils, irises, lilies, and hyacinths

Beware of Antifreeze

 Unfortunately, pets tend to be attracted to the taste of antifreeze. It is fatal for pets if ingested and they are not treated immediately. So, watch for spills or leaks from your car and clean them up immediately. WikiHow has step-by-step instructions on How to Clean Anti-Freeze off a Garage Floor. Store any containers of anti-freeze well out of reach of pets.

Know the Signs of Pet Poisoning

As a pet owner, you want to keep yourself informed so you can tell as rapidly as possible if your furry friend needs medical attention. These are some of the common things to watch out for:

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • Lethargy

  • Irregular/stumbling gait

  • Lack of appetite or water intake

  • Seizures

  • Trouble breathing:  wheezing, shortness of breath, slowed breathing, and difficulty breathing. You may also see the gums turn blue in color.

If you observe any of these indicators or anything unusual about how your pet acts, act as quickly as possible. The faster you get help, the better the chances are that there will be no long-term adverse effects for your loved one. You can get more information about pet poisoning from the PetPoisonHelpline.com.

Final Words

Being alert to pet poisons in and around your home is critical to the safety of your pets. Now that you know what to look for, you can inspect your home for any poisons your pet could get into and take action to protect them from accidental poisoning. Safeguarding your pets from poisons will give you peace of mind and keep your pets safe from harm.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or need to schedule an appointment. We are here to give your furry family members the high-quality and compassionate care they deserve.

Dr. Ashley Tuma and the Pine Creek Team