Treating our companions to some of the foods we relish can be very dangerous to pets. Find here a guide to some of the common dangers in a household including a list of toxic foodstuffs, human medication, poisons, plants, and more.

Protecting Your Pet

  • There are a number of things you can do to protect your furry friend.  
  • Make sure that all chemicals are out of reach at all times.  
  • Ensure that you dispose of your medications, chemicals and foods safely.
  • Pets do like to sniff around bins, if this happens make sure that he/she has not eaten and or picked up anything.  
  • If you are using any types of poisons eg Rat poison.
  • Ensure that you restrict your pets from the contaminated area.  
  • Use alternative baits (e.g Rat and Snail baits).
  • If you have to use cockroach baits, keep them well out of your pets reach.  
  • Only administer medication to your pets that has either been recommended or prescribed by your veterinarian.  
  • Keep your pet on a naturally balanced diet.

Your pet doesn’t have to directly ingest a toxin to be poisoned. If your cat rolls around in your garden that has been treated with insecticide or weed killers, traces will get stuck in his or her fur. When he or she then grooms him/herself later on, he/she will ingest the toxins.

Human Medication

Human drugs including common painkillers can cause severe complications in pets. Consult your veterinarian before providing any human medication to your pets. If you provide any “human sized” dose to your pets, this could be fatal. Only use medication prescribed by your veterinarian.

Chocholate Toxcidity

Chocolate contains theobromine, a compound that is a cardiac stimulant and a diuretic. When affected by an overdose of chocolate, a pet can become extremely excited and hyperactive. Theobromine will either increase the dog’s heart rate or may cause the heart to beat irregularly. Death is quite possible, especially with exercise.

After a pet has eaten a large quantity of chocolate, many owners assume their pet has not been effected. However, the signs of sickness may not be seen for several hours, with possible death following within 24 hours.  Cocoa Powder and cooking chocolate are the most toxic. A 10 Kg dog can be seriously affected if he/she eats a half of a 250 gm block of cooking chocolate. Even licking a substantial part of the chocolate icing from a cake can make a pet extremely unwell.

Onions And Garlic

Onions and garlic contain a toxic ingredient thiosulphate. Pets affected by onion toxicity will develop haemolytic anaemia, where the red blood cells rupture while circulating in the body.

At first, pets affected by onion poisoning show gastroenteritis with vomiting and diarrhoea. They can show no interest in food and can be dull and weak. Breathlessness can occur because there are reduced number of red blood cells that carry oxygen through the body.

Onion poisoning can occur with a single ingestion of large quantities or with repeat meals containing small amounts of onion.

Poisonis Plants

Your pet may have a sensitivity or allergy to a plant resulting in toxicity. Always contact your veterinarian immediately, if you think your pet may have ingested a poisonous plant.

Snail Baits

Various manufacturers claim their snail baits are ‘pet friendly’. They make this claim on the basis that the bait includes a bittering agent. Bittering agents only act as a deterrent. There are some pets that will still eat the baits which are extremely toxic. We recommend that these products are used with great caution. If your pet does ingest these baits, contact your veterinarian immediately.  Parasit Control Products  Please read the instructions carefully on all parasite control products. Some common supermarket flea treatments for dogs are toxic to cats.

List Of Toxic Household Items For Pets

  • Acetaminophen (Paracetamol)
  • Alcohol
  • Antifreeze Poisoning
  • Aromatherapy Oils
  • Aspirin
  • Avocado Flesh
  • Bleach
  • Boric Acid
  • Broccoli (large amounts)
  • Brake Fluid
  • Cleaning Fluid
  • Chocolate
  • Cigarette, Tobacco, Cigars
  • Coffee Grounds, Beans & Tea (caffeine)
  • Deodorants and Deodorizers
  • Detergent
  • Disinfectants
  • Dye
  • Furniture Polish
  • Fungicides
  • Garlic
  • Herbicides
  • Hops (used in home brewing)
  • Insecticides
  • Laxatives
  • Lead  
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Marijuana
  • Metal Polish
  • Mineral Spirits  
  • Mouldy /Spoiled Foods
  • Mothballs
  • Nail Polish and Remover
  • Paint  
  • Paint Remover Preservatives
  • Pear Pips, The Kernels Of Plums,Peaches & Apricots, Apple Core Pips (contains cyanogenic glysides resulting in cyanide poisoning)
  • Petrol
  • Potato Peeling & Green Looking Potatoes
  • Raisins & Grapes
  • Rat and Ant Poison (including Ratsak)
  • Rhubarb Leaves
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Shoe Polish
  • Snail/Slug Bait
  • Tar
  • Téflon
  • Tomato Leaves & Stems (green parts)
  • Weed Killer
  • Windshield Washer Fluid
  • Wood
  • Yeast Dough
  • Zinc

What To Do If Your Pet Is Showing Signs Of Poisoning?

If you suspect your pet is acting out of the norm or may have had access to a potential toxin do not hesitate in seeking veterinary attention.

There are several signs of poisoning but these also vary on the type of toxin involved.

Here are just some of the signs that indicate toxicity

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Increased urination
  • Restlessness
  • Hyperactivity
  • Muscle twitching or shaking
  • Seizures

If your pet is showing any of these signs – do not delay in seeking veterinary attention!  


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