Poisons in the home

If owners are ever concerned their pet is ill or has ingested a poisonous substance they should contact their vet immediately.

Chewing Gum – Xylitol is a natural, sugar free sweetener commonly found in many chewing gums, mints, foods, oral rinses, toothpastes.  The Xylitol content of these products can vary widely depending on brand and flavour.  Large ingestions can result on acute liver necrosis and liver failure.  Signs of xylitol poisoning in dogs include weakness, lethargy, collapse, vomiting, tremoring, jaundice, malaise.  

Chocolate – human choccies contain a chemical called theobromine that can be fatal to our pets. The darker the chocolate and the higher the cocoa content, the higher the risk. Any foods containing chocolate, such as cakes, sweets, and cocoa powder, should be kept well out of reach of all pets. 

Caffeine – Caffeine in large quantities can affect a pet’s heart. Tea bags and coffee should be kept out of reach of cats and dogs. Caffeine is contained in many high energy drinks, chocolate and human pain killers, so keep all of these well away from curious paws.

Grapes, Currants, Raisins, Sultanas – The toxins found in these fruits are potentially fatal to dogs. Make sure your pets don’t eat any food containing these ingredients.

Onions, Garlic, Chives – These foods contain chemicals called organosulphoxides, which can harm dogs and cats, if enough of the toxin is absorbed. Foods containing these ingredients are also poisonous to pets, when eaten over a number of days.

Avocado – Contains the chemical persin, which can affect birds. The avocado stone can also obstruct a pet’s intestines so it’s best kept safely well away from pets.

Macadamia Nuts, Peanuts – These can cause weakness and tremors. Macadamia butter can also affect pets. Peanuts can cause upset tummies and occasionally lead to fits. This might be due to the salt on the peanut.

Salt – Salt, or sodium chloride, is extremely poisonous to pets. Salt can also be found in dishwasher tablets and salts, bath salts, rock salt (for de-icing roads and pavements), play dough and of course, sea water.

Vitamin D – This vitamin is found in supplement tablets, cod liver oil, human medicines and rat poisons. It can also be found in skin creams and can be very poisonous if pets eat vitamin D as it affects their heart, kidneys and liver.

Alcohol – Apart from alcoholic drinks, a chemical called ethanol can be found in antiseptic preparations, mouthwashes, perfumes, aftershaves, colognes and glues. Methylated spirit is 95% ethanol and drinks like gin and vodka can contain between 20 to 60%. All are extremely toxic to dogs and cats.

Iron – This essential mineral is found in supplements and iron tablets are also used to treat anaemia in humans. Iron is also commonly found in lawn moss killers and lawn “feed and weed”. If a dog eats an iron-rich substance, it can sadly prove fatal.

Antifreeze – This is very poisonous to pets. It is also found in screen washes, brake fluids and inks – so be sure to wipe up any spills when topping your car up in the cold winter months.

Rat and mouse poisons – As you’d imagine, many of these types of substances are highly poisonous to pets.

Human Painkillers –Human painkillers can be poisonous to dogs and cats. Never treat your pet yourself or give your pet any human medication. A single paracetamol tablet would be fatal to a cat. It’s best to seek advice from your vet if you suspect that your pet is ill.

Garden Poisons

Laburnum, Rhododendron, Azalea, Daffodils – These common garden plants are poisonous for pets.

Lilies – All parts of the Lilium species are very harmful to cats. They are often bought as garden plants, house plants and in bouquets of flowers. Even the pollen can affect a cat.

Cocoa shell mulch – This garden mulch, contains one of the highest concentration of deadly theobromine (the same toxin found in chocolate) and should not be used in gardens where pets play.

Slug /Snail Pellets – The poisonous ingredient metaldehyde contained in slug pellets can kill a dog or cat within hours. Our vets advise to avoid using slug or snail pellets in gardens where pets play or purchase pet-friendly versions from a reputable retailer.

Pet Treatments

Dog Flea Treatments – Some flea treatments for dogs may contain an insecticide called permethrin. Cats can be affected if they receive too much of this chemical, so only use a cat treatment on a cat, following the instructions with great care and to the letter. Never use a dog treatment on a cat, or give your cat too much of the preparation. Your vet will be able to recommend a suitable product to use, so it’s best to talk to them about what would be suitable for your pet.