Your pet and toxins in the home

Many common household items can pose a threat to our animal companions. We have provided a list of some of the most common toxins. If you suspect your pet has ingested or come in contact with any of the toxins listed, then please phone Townsend Veterinary Clinic for advice. 

· Chocolate: all forms can be toxic however dark and baking chocolate ingestion is more dangerous 

· Coffee grounds and beans: similar toxic profile to chocolate and can lead to erratic heart rhythms, tremors and seizures, and vomiting and diarrhoea 

· Onions: (and less so garlic, chives, leeks) ingestion can result in anaemia (red blood cell destruction) 

· Xylitol: artificial sweetener found in chewing gum and some candies/mints. Ingestion can result in a rapid decline in blood sugar due to insulin release, resulting in weakness and possibly seizures 

· Human medications: such as pain killers (including aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen), cold medicines, anti-cancer drugs, anti-depressants, vitamins and diet pills can all be toxic to animals

· String, yarn, rubber bands, dental floss: are easy to swallow and can cause intestinal blockages 

· Garbage: ingestion can cause severe gastroenteritis and neurological symptoms  

· Bread dough: can cause severe bloating and abdominal pain 

· Macadamia nuts: ingestion of these nuts can lead to weakness and paralysis 

· Playdoh: ingestion can lead to salt poisoning 

· Rat bait: ingestion can lead to internal bleeding 

· Snail bait and slug pellets (e.g. Baysol, Defender, Multiguard): we have seen serious illness after ingestion of even the “pet friendly” snail baits

· Grapes and raisins: consumption of grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs 

· Lilies: all parts of the plant are highly toxic to cats and may result in kidney failure. Most poisonings occur as a result of a flower bouquet that has been gifted 

· Antifreeze (ethylene glycol): this has a sweet taste which is attractive to pets; consumption results in a rapid, serious illness and fatalities have occurred  

· Fertilisers, herbicides, pesticides: consumption can cause severe bowel upset and possibly neurological symptoms 

· Household cleaners and detergents: especially toilet bowl or drain cleaners can cause corrosive damage to the mouth and bowel 

· Zinc: ingestion can lead to red blood cell damage and severe bowel irritation