National Pet Poison Prevention Week

This week marks National Pet Poison Prevention Week, so we can’t think of a better opportunity to introduce you to some of the myriad of toxins out in our everyday environment that can pose a risk to our pets’ health.

Most all are familiar with the dangers of rodenticides, slug bait and anti-freeze if ingested. The irresistibly sweet odor and taste of anti-freeze attracts many pets to lap it up like candy. The same goes for many foods that are otherwise healthy for humans. Take grapes, for example, a perfect snack for us, but just one grape, if ingested, can cause acute renal failure in some dogs. The same goes for raisins. The health benefits of garlic and onions have been touted for years, but not so for your pet. Ingestion can cause anemia, vomiting, organ damage and even death.  And that goes for all forms of the plants:  dry, cooked, powdered or raw. Even certain nuts, like walnuts and macadamia nuts, pose a risk. And since trail mix can contain many of these items, it should be kept out of reach of pets at all times.

Artificial preservatives and some sweeteners can also be dangerous to pets. Xylitol, a common, natural sweetener found in sugarless gum and other products such as cough syrup, cookies and even peanut butter, is particularly deadly in dogs. Ingestion can cause liver failure, seizures and even death.

We tend to regard our pets getting into the garbage or kitchen waste as more of a nuisance than anything else, but even when shorn of the aforementioned no no’s, it can contain fatty foods, which can cause pancreatitis, or parts of indigestible foods, such as corn cobs, that pose a major danger of causing GI obstructions.

Many plants are toxic to pets as well. Spring is here! And with it brings the harbingers of the season like daffodils, lilies hyacinths and azaleas. They are beautiful and fragrant, but toxic to dogs and cats. And with the Easter holiday around the corner, many Easter Lily plants will be purchased and planted or displayed in the home. Though this type of lily is not considered dangerous in dogs, it can cause vomiting, lethargy, renal failure and death in cats.  Many other beautiful plants purchased for the indoors in this region, fit in this category as well.

Human medications that make us feel good can make our pets very ill.  The list includes:

  • Acetaminophen
  • Naproxen
  • Ibuprofen
  • Clonazepam
  • Certain Antidepressants
  • Statins
  • Cardiac Medications

Recreational drugs should not be ignored in this category either. Veterinary emergency rooms are often brimming with patients who’ve accidentally ingested marijuana. And with the legalization of marijuana in more states and the availability of the drug in many more forms, i.e., candies and baked goods, that scenario will probably become more prevalent as well.

This graphic points out what signs to look for if a pet has ingested marijuana.


Our pets’ own medications can cause major illnesses if given incorrectly. It is also important to be careful with “chewable” pet meds. They are usually flavored to entice your pet to readily take them, but that, in itself, can be a danger.

The intention of this blog is not to scare, but to make us aware of the dangers that lurking in elements in our everyday lives.

Posted March 23, 2017 by Animal Surgical in Noteworthy, Pet Health with No Comments

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