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Pet Poisoning: Signs and What to Do

May 10, 2021Pet Health

2020 was a uniquely challenging experience for all of us. Working from home, going out less (or not at all), and becoming an expert in video conferencing are just a few of the new experiences that most of us have gone through. With these changes, there are more chances of exposing our pets to pet poisoning without us even knowing it.

In 2020 alone, there were over 260,000 pet parent calls to the ASPCA about pets being exposed to potentially poisonous substances.

For the above reason, we want to educate pet parents about pet poisoning and how to tell when your pet has ingested something they shouldn’t have.

Common Household Pet Poisons to Watch Out For

The top 10 toxin-related cases for pet owners in 2020 involved a variety of ingestions.  Below are some of the common pet poisons to keep away from your pets:

  • Medications — both human & animal (for a complete list, go to Pet Poison Helpline)

    • Painkillers

    • High blood pressure medications

    • Birth control pills

    • Anti-anxiety/sleep aids

    • Cholesterol medications

    • Thyroid hormones

    • Veterinarian prescription products

  • Various food items (for a complete list, go to U.S. Humane Society)

    • Chocolate

    • Xylitol

    • Avocados

    • Onions & garlic

    • Caffeine drinks (coffee, tea, etc.)

    • Grapes & raisins

    • Macadamia nuts

    • Fat trimmings and bones

    • Peaches & plums

    • Salty Foods

  • Insecticides/rodenticides (all types)

  • Plants/Herbs (for a complete list, go to ASPCA)

    • Lilies — any type

    • Marijuana

    • Sago Palm

    • Tulip/Narcissus

    • Azalea/Rhododendron

    • Oleander

    • Castor Bean

    • Amaryllis

  • Household products

    • Anti-freeze

    • Brake fluid

    • Bleach

    • Carpet fresheners

    • Toilet bowl cleaners/tablets

    • Disinfectants

    • Paint

    • Glue

    • Grout

You can read the complete list from the ASPCA here.

Signs that your pet may have ingested or come in contact with a poison

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

  1. Vomiting
  2. Diarrhea
  3. Lethargy
  4. Irregular/stumbling gait
  5. Lack of appetite or water intake

There can be other symptoms. If you observe any of these symptoms or anything else unusual about your pet, act fast! Contact your veterinarian. The quicker you get help, the better the chances for your pet to survive and not suffer any long-term adverse effects.

What to if you think your pet has been poisoned

Sometimes your furry friend can get into something when you aren’t looking, or maybe you are looking, and they sneak something anyways. You know your pet better than anyone else. If you see or suspect that your pet has ingested something that may be poisonous, don’t wait. Act fast! Treat it as an emergency.

If you see something that seems “off” about your pet, the Pine Creek Animal team is always willing to answer your questions, so contact us now.

If your pet ingests a poison after hours, then here are some of the other resources that can assist you around the clock:

Pet Poison Helpline – (855) 764-7661

Animal Poison Control – (888) 426-4435

If you or our office contacts the poison control numbers there will be a nominal fee, but then it gives us access to the toxicologist for the ongoing care of your pet.

As an important reminder: do not induce vomiting in your pet after poison ingestion unless a trained professional directs you to do so.


We know you love your pets and want the best for them. So, here are some tips to keep them safe:

  • Read Labels! If you read labels, you will know which products are not safe for your pet. The same goes for pet medications from your veterinarian and giving the correct dose to your pet.

  • Keep Out of Reach! Just like when you have a baby or children in the house, treat your pets in the same manner – keep any potential hazards that could attract your pet’s interest out of reach.

  • Do not let your pets hang out in the garage where they can get to paints, car fluids, and the like.

  • Keep cupboards secure. Pets can be pretty crafty when it comes to getting access to human food or their food and treats.

  • When in doubt, look it up! We have access to everything on the internet. For example, you want to send your mother flowers for Mother’s Day, and she owns a pet. Check what you are sending and make sure the flowers are not toxic to her pets.

  • Post emergency numbers. Keep our number, an emergency veterinarian number, Pet Poison Control, and the Animal Poison Control numbers where you can easily find them in case of an emergency.


Ashley Tuma, D.V.M.