page contents

Cats and Dogs, Critter Chatter, Healthcare

CRITTER CHATTER: Poison Prevention Week

The Paw Print

Essential Pet Blog

black and white dog sniffing crackers and cookies

“If your poison gets you, I will be on time.”

Black Francis, If Your Poison Gets You

National Poison Prevention Week (March 17-23) reminds us that some of the deadliest and most dangerous items in our homes are hiding in plain sight beneath kitchen and bathroom sinks or in laundry rooms, medicine cabinets, backyards, and garages. It’s easy to overlook art supplies, plants and even foods that can potentially harm your pet. The following is a list of the most common household items involved in pet poisonings as compiled by the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center:

Over-The-Counter Prescriptions

Almost 50% of calls to the poison control center were for dogs that ingested over-the-counter drugs and prescriptions. The majority involved antidepressants such as Prozac Paxil, Celexa and Effexor and OTC drugs containing aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol) and NSAIDs such as Advil, Aleve, and Motrin. Most dietary supplements, such as vitamins C, K, and E are fairly safe, but excessive amounts of iron or vitamin D can be toxic.


The most prevalent cases of poisoning from foods for humans were in dogs that ingested chocolate, coffee, alcohol, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, and avocados. Garlic and onions are toxic only if ingested in large amounts. Xylitol is used as a sweetener in many products, including gum, candy, baked goods, and toothpaste, but can be quite harmful to pets.


Tobacco products, including cigarettes, chew and E-cigarette liquid, should be kept out of pets’ reach because of the nicotine content. Although medical marijuana and cannabis products may play an effective role in alleviating certain conditions in humans (and dogs), excessive consumption by pets pose a danger to their health.

Household Items

Household items such as glue, cleaning products (drain openers, oven cleaners, and disinfectants), laundry detergents, batteries, and paint can be harmful to pets. Anti-freeze is extremely toxic to dogs and cats and often ingested because of its sweet taste. Swifter Wet Jet products and Febreze does not contain cleaning agents in large enough quantities to present a serious health risk to pets, contrary to Internet rumors.


Several indoor and outdoor plants pose a threat to pets. Avoid azaleas, daffodils, lilies, sago palms, oleander, and tulips. During holidays prevent your pets from chewing poinsettias and mistletoe.


Insecticides that contain active ingredients like carbamates, organophosphates, pyrethroids, pyrethrins, and permethrins that are often sprayed on lawns and household plants can be toxic to cats and dogs. Snail and slug baits are quite toxic to cats. Be sure that any flea and tick medications are approved for a particular species before use. Some are okay for dogs, but toxic to cats.

These common household items are likely already in your home and you need to be pro-active to ensure they are well out of reach of your dog or cat. If you know or suspect that your pet may have ingested something poisonous, contact your veterinarian immediately or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888-426-4435.) Don’t let poison get your pet.


a vet and his dogABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Brown holds a Doctorate Degree in Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from the University of California at Davis, a Master of Science Degree in Animal Science and Bachelor of Science Degree in Animal Physiology from the University of California.  Following discharge from the Air Force as a Captain, he owned and operated the largest veterinary hospital on Cape Cod for almost twenty years. Brown is the past President of the Yavapai Humane Society Board of Directors, Branding Committee Chairman for National Animal Supplement Council and member of the American Veterinary Medical Association.  He writes and lectures frequently on the benefits of natural and organic foods and supplements for animals and lives with his wife and a Golden doodle named Charlotte.

Please share this post