While your pet can easily get into mischief outdoors with garden or shed items, your home can also contain health hazards for your furry friend. You’re probably well aware of many items that pose a threat to your pet, such as chocolate and grapes, but what about onions and garlic? To keep you updated about the most common toxins that can affect your four-legged friend, the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center releases an annual list of the most frequent offenders. Here are common toxins you’ll want to keep out of paw’s reach.

#1: Food

Foods that can pose a threat to your pet include:

  • Chocolate
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Xylitol
  • Raw yeast dough
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeinated beverages

Although we’ve grouped common food toxins together, the ASPCA addresses chocolate separately because it’s such a common toxin, with approximately 10% of their caseload stemming from this food item alone. 

Quite often, when your pet eats something she shouldn’t, vomiting and diarrhea ensue. Although gastrointestinal upset may occur, many of these toxins can also cause more severe issues. For example, onions and garlic can cause anemia, xylitol can lead to liver failure, and grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure. Keep your furry friend safe by shutting her out of the kitchen while cooking and placing all toxic foods out of reach.

#2: Human medications

People hate seeing their beloved pet in pain or uncomfortable for any reason, which may be why the ASPCA receives so many calls about human over-the-counter and prescription medications each year. Tylenol, ibuprofen, naproxen, cold medications, herbal supplements, and gastrointestinal products are frequently given to pets before consulting a veterinarian for safety, sometimes with disastrous results. Prescription medications, such as antidepressants and ADHD and heart medications, are often accidentally ingested by pets who gobble up anything that hits the floor, medications included. 

#3: Pet medications

Some pets are great about taking their medications, especially flavored chewable tablets or compounded products. Overeager pets may search out their tasty heartworm preventive or flavored oral medication and gulp down the entire package. Keep in mind that child-proof pill bottles may not be pet-proof, and your pet may chew through a bottle to get to the “treats” inside. 

Pet flea and tick medications can also pose a danger, particularly to cats. Choose only veterinary-approved products for your pet, and never use dog products on your cat—pyrethrin-based products are safe for dogs, but can be deadly to sensitive cats.

#4: Household cleaners

Although household cleaners, such as bleach, do not taste or smell good, pets don’t always discriminate when sampling unknown substances. Keep your furry friend safe from chemicals by preventing her from walking on your freshly cleaned floors before they’re dry. If necessary, place cleaning products in an upper cabinet or on a top shelf to keep your pet out of mischief. Child-proof locks may be effective for toddlers, but determined pets might destroy them to reach the dangers inside your cabinets. 

#5: Craft supplies

Craft supplies, such as glue and paint, can create beautiful artwork and messy disasters, both which may pique your pet’s interest. Spilled glue or paint may entice your furry friend to take a lick, while drying art projects can be quickly eaten if left unattended. Keep your four-legged pal safe from arts-and-crafts time by blocking access to your child’s playroom. Don’t forget about your own painting projects around the home as well, since many pets like to investigate what you’re doing, and may track through paint trays and knock over cans. Whenever glue or paint are being used, keep your pet away. 

#6: Rodenticides and insecticides

Rodenticides are especially dangerous for pets, and since these products are designed to attract rodents, they’re also likely to tempt your pet. Rats and mice—and pets—who eat the blocks, granules, or pellets will suffer from internal bleeding, high calcium levels, brain swelling, or toxic gas production. While many rodenticides made for in-home use come in pet-proof containers, play it safe and ensure all products are placed in inaccessible areas. 

In addition to rodenticides, ant baits, foggers, and bug sprays can also be poisonous to your pet. Before using an insecticide, read the label instructions regarding safe use around pets, as many products may need time to dry or air out before your pet can re-enter your home. 

Although many products can be hazardous to your pet’s health, keeping your furry friend away while you clean up messes can prevent toxin exposure. After cleaning, place all products out of your pet’s reach to ensure she can’t knock over cleaners or chemicals. 

If you suspect your pet has been exposed to a toxin, call us immediately, or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.