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Protect your pet from household chemicals and poisons

Be aware of the hazardous items that lurk in your own laundry rooms, medicine cabines, garages, and backyards that can be harmful to your pet
Be aware of the hazardous items that lurk in your own laundry rooms, medicine cabines, garages, and backyards that can be harmful to your pet
Image by photo stock, Photostock/

March is poison prevention month. As pet parents we strive to keep our pets healthy and safe from harm. Knowing the dangers of common household chemicals and other poisonous substances found in our own home and backyard is imperative to protect our pets from life-threatening situations.

Household Chemicals

You may already be aware of the severe toxicity of household chemicals such as laundry detergents, antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid, paint, and batteries. But do you know that dryer sheets, hand sanitizers, and plant fertilizers, hand and foot warmers, are also hazardous to your dog’s or cat’s health if ingested?

Mothballs are also among one of many household items that are severely toxic and can cause death if inhaled or ingested and its use is strictly not recommended around children and pets. Exposure to scented candles, shoe and nail polish and any type of substance that produces harmful vapors can be fatal for pet birds, thus should not be used near the pet’s enclosure.

Keeping these and other household chemicals out of your pet’s reach, ideally on the highest shelf of a locked cabinet, can save the life of your dog, cat, or small pet.

Poisonous Plants & Harmful Foods

Who doesn’t love a beautiful flower or vegetable garden? Fruits and vegetables can be a healthy and tasty reward or supplement to your pet’s meals and letting your pet roam around the backyard smelling the sweet scent of the flowers can be entertaining. But beware of toxic plants that can be more harmful than wholesome to your pet’s health.

Among a long list of moderately and severely toxic plants are the Mountain Laurel, Morning Glory, Azalea, Day Lily, Easter lily, and Lily of the Valley. Symptoms of poisoning due to ingestion range from lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, seizures, and death. The easiest and best way to prevent accidental poisoning is to avoid growing toxic plants in your garden and creating a dog or cat friendly garden by choosing plants that don’t pose a threat to your pet’s health if they get the sudden hankering for chowing down on greens from the garden.

A few fruits and veggies that can cause significant complications when ingested are apricots, avocados, cherries, onions, garlic, and chives, grapes (and raisins), green tomatoes and potatoes, peach pits, macadamia nuts, mushrooms, and yucca. Dogs and cats should never be fed these harmful foods.

Salt and artificial sweeteners such as significant amounts of salt or even moderate amounts of xylitol, which is commonly used in sugar free gum and oral care items, can cause lethargy, collapse, seizures, organ failure, coma, and death. Preventing accidental ingestion can be as simple as keeping your purse off of the floor, accessible tables, and other furnisher. Choosing items that substitute sugar with sorbitol is a safer option in case your little one finds a way to access the item. Enemas, paintballs, and rock salt which contain large amounts of salt should also be kept out of reach.

Poisonous Animals & Pest Control Poisons

If poisonous animals are endemic to your home state, protecting your pet is of optimal importance, since the venom of most poisonous insects and snakes are deadly. This can be a difficult task since most poisonous animals such as black widows, brown recluse spiders, venomous snakes, and scorpions are experts at finding their way into yards and homes.

Checking your back yard for snakes and scorpions before letting your dog or cat out and supervising your pet while outdoors is one way you can reduce the chances of your pet’s exposure to these deadly creatures. Making sure your home’s foundation, walls, and windows are void of cracks and that your home’s vents and attic area cannot be accessed by insects or rodents through the outdoors, shaking out your bedding and your pet’s bedding before going to bed, and having a secure fencing without holes, are all active ways of protecting yourself and your pet from being bitten by a venomous insect or snake.

Beware of using toxic chemicals and products to kill insects and rodents since these are extremely toxic and can kill your pet if they are exposed to them. Avoid using rodent poisons and insecticides in your home. If your home is being fumigated it is exceedingly important to remove your pets and children from your home for the time being.


All medications can be toxic to your pets if accidently ingested, even small amounts of medications such as Acetaminophen, NSAIDS, thyroid and blood pressure medications can cause coma, organ failure, and death in pets.

Keep all medications, whether they are intended for human or animal use, out of the reach of pets and children at all times. Also, never administer any type of medication to your pet without consulting a veterinarian.

If your pet were to ingest any type of poisonous substance whether it be a household chemical, poisonous plant or food, medication, pest control poison, or has been bitten by a venomous animal, take your pet to the closest emergency Veterinary Hospital immediately. The quick timing of your response can improve your pet’s odds of survival. Never try to “ride out” your pet’s symptoms, emergency medical treatment is the only way to save your pet if they have been poisoned.

For a complete list of poisons, please follow the link provided:

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