In this month’s article we will be discussing common items that can be found in the average household that one should be wary of around dogs or cats. These are toxic things that often are fed to pets unknowingly by their owners. A common misconception is seen when owners feel that their pets can tolerate certain foods that they can as humans; however, this is not always applied when it comes to the anatomy of our pets.

Common household food items that should be avoided: Chocolate, Onions, Alcohol, Grapes, Raisins, Caffeinated beverages, Macadamia nuts, Cherry pits, Xylitol (commonly found in sugar-free chewing gum), raw yeast dough or raw/undercooked meat. When such toxic foods are ingested, the most common initial signs are seen in the Gastrointestinal system. These signs would present commonly as vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, dry heaving, loss of appetite or extreme salivation. In more extreme cases, your pet may also exhibit internal bleeding consequently. This would result in physical signs of weakness, lethargy, collapsing, pale gums, fast heart rate and coughing up or vomiting blood. If your pet shows any of the signs listed above at any time, it is highly advised to see your local veterinarian as soon as possible.

Along with food items, there are also many types of common household medications that can also be very toxic to your pets. Often owners will feel that a simple problem in their pet might be treatable in the same way that it can often in humans; however, this is very inaccurate and can prove to be deadly towards your pet. Such medications are Ibuprofen, Cold medications, Naproxen, heart medications, ADHD medications, antidepressants and herbal supplements. Ibuprofen and Naproxen fall under the drug category of Nonsteroidal antiinflammatories. Giving such medications to your pet without consulting your veterinarian can result in acute kidney failure. Therefore, it is detrimental to make sure that such medications and foods are kept out of reach of your pet and in closed cupboards.

One of the most common poisonings seen in dogs and cats are caused by rodenticides. Rodenticides are commonly found in mouse/rat traps around the house. The chemical in the traps causes the trapped rodents to suffer from internal bleeding, brain swelling, high calcium levels and toxic gas production. Similarly, when ingested by your pet accidently, the same symptoms can occur. We highly recommend to avoid buying mouse traps with rodenticides in order to help your pet from avoiding such a fatal occurrence. It is also more humane to trap the rodent and set them free away from your residence, rather than having them suffer in such a manner. Garden products used in lawns and flower beds can also prove to be very toxic to your pets as well. Fertilizers that are made from bone or blood meal products can tempt your pets to ingest them, causing blockages or problems in the pancreas.

Common household plants that are toxic to your pets are Lily of the valley, Sago palm, Tulips, Hyacinth, Daffodils, Cyclamen, Lilies, Oleander, Autumn Crocus, Azalea, Dieffenbachia, Kalanchoe and others.


 Dr. Sifti Bhullar