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Toxic Household Products

Adapted from the American Animal Hospital Association

As a pet owner, you want to keep your furry friend safe and healthy, but their curious nature can occasionally get them into trouble. Animals investigate the world with their mouths, and they can ingest poisonous substances accidentally. 

Pets and Medications

Even medication that does not require a prescription can be extremely dangerous to your pet. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen and naproxen can cause acute kidney failure and should never be given to pets. Do not try to treat a pet’s medical problem at home without consulting a veterinarian, and never give them medication that is not approved for veterinary use.

Prescription animal medications often are flavored to increase palatability, so pets may mistake them for treats and eat more than prescribed. Inquisitive pets may even eat pills that aren’t flavored, so keep all medications out of reach. Remember, animals can chew through plastic bottles, so child-proof may not mean pet-proof.

What foods are toxic to pets?

Many foods that are safe for people can be deadly to pets and this is not a comprehensive list. Keep the following toxic foods away from your beloved companion:

  • Avocado seed
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeinated drinks
  • Chocolate
  • Cooked Bones
  • Garlic
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Milk
  • Onions
  • Raw yeast dough
  • Xylitol (often found in sugar-free gum and some peanut butter)

Never leave food where your pet can reach it, and keep pets out of the kitchen when children are eating to prevent them from gobbling up dropped morsels.

What other household items are dangerous to my pet?

Products such as paint, glue, and cleaning chemicals often are left out on the assumption that pets won’t eat these bad-smelling/bad-tasting substances, but it’s not worth the risk. Some pets lap up liquids because they have an interesting texture or feel good on the tongue. Household products can contain dangerous chemicals and some glues expand in the stomach, causing a life-threatening blockage.

Ant baits, bug sprays, and foggers can also be poisonous to your pet. Read labels to ensure proper use of these products and prevent pets from exposure during and after use. Store all insecticides on high shelves out of a pet’s reach.

Products designed to kill rodents are particularly dangerous to pets, as they may be tempted to eat the tasty bricks, granules, or pellets left out for mice and rats. Rodenticides kill rodents by causing internal bleeding, high calcium levels, brain swelling, or toxic gas production. Never put rat bait out where your pet can find it and keep your pet confined to your yard to prevent him from eating your neighbors’ rodenticides. Find safe, humane solutions to wildlife conflicts by visiting

Plants Toxic to Pets

Plants found in flower beds, vegetable gardens, and indoor planters or arrangements can be toxic to pets. Cats – who particularly like to munch on greenery – are sensitive to many plant types, but dogs can also be at risk. A complete list of toxic and non-toxic plants can be found on ASPCA’s website, but the most common toxic plants include:

  • Aloe
  • Autumn crocus
  • Azalea
  • Begonia
  • Boxwood
  • Burning Bush
  • Creeping Charlie
  • Cyclamen
  • Daffodils
  • Hyacinth
  • Hosta
  • Hydrangeas
  • Kalanchoe
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Lilies
  • Oleander
  • Sage palm
  • Tulips 

If your pet eats leaves, flowers, or stems, immediately take them and a plant sample to your veterinarian. Although toxicity signs may not be apparent, it is vital to remove poisonous material as soon as possible to prevent toxin absorption in the body.

Many products used on lawns, gardens, and flower beds can cause toxicity in pets. Fertilizers made from bone or blood meal are tempting to pets and can cause pancreatitis if ingested, or can clump in the intestines or stomach, causing a blockage. Other fertilizers and herbicides applied to lawns also may contain toxic chemicals.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Animal Poison Control Center is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to advise pet owners about potential pet toxicities. If you think your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, call (888) 426-4435. A consultation fee may apply.