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Is that poisonous to my pet?

May 15, 2016

Every year we see many pets that have ingested poisons. Depending on how a particular substance affects your pet’s body and how much was ingested or inhaled, pet poisoning symptoms can include tummy upsets, shaking, wobbliness, seizures, breathing difficulties, coma and even death.

Some poisons we see more commonly are:

  • Rodenticides/rat bait

Symptoms depend on the nature of the poison and signs may not start for several days after consumption. These signs include lethargy, weakness, increased breathing rate, pale gums and blood in the stools.


  • Human prescription medications

Drugs that might be beneficial or even lifesaving for people can have the opposite effect in pets. It doesn’t always take a large dose to do major damage. Pain medications, antidepressants, blood pressure medications.


  • Household products and cleaners

Just as cleaners like bleach can poison people, they are also a leading cause of pet poisoning, resulting in stomach and respiratory tract problems. Not surprisingly, chemicals contained in anti-freeze, paint thinner and chemicals for pools can also be poisonous.

Cleaning items isolated on white background

Cleaners need to be kept out of reach of both children and pets.

  • Overdose of pet medications

Pet medications, if taken at too high a dose/doses, or repeated too frequently can lead to toxicity. It’s very important to stick to the label dosages.


  • People food

Animals have different metabolisms than people. Some foods that are perfectly safe for people are poisonous for pets. Chocolate, coffee, caffeine, alcohol, onions, garlic, macadamia nuts, avocado, grapes, raisins and xylitol (artificial sweetener).


  • Plants

Not all plants are pet friendly. Some of the more toxic plants to dogs include: Azalea, Rhododendron, Lilly, Tulip and Oleander.

Rhododendrons and Picket Fence


If you suspect your pet has ingested any kind of poison, please seek immediate veterinary attention. It is important we know exactly what product your pet may have ingested, so please bring the packaging where possible.