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Is This Poisonous To My Pet?

Updated on October 7, 2017

Please Read This First!

A disclaimer by the writer.

This lens was created to create awareness for responsible pet owners. It only gives a general overview of different household items and foods that pets can make your pet sick. It is not a complete list.

It is not intended as a medical guide!

Please do not try to self-diagnose your pet by using this list! This can take away precious time that might save your pet if they are indeed seriously ill!

While information on the internet might be able to give you some ideas, I am not a doctor nor a veterinarian. Only a licensed veterinarian can give you a correct diagnosis and medically treat your pet!

If you suspect your pet is ill, please take them to a reputable veterinarian and/or pet hospital immediately!!

"People" Foods


Why is it dangerous?

All parts of the apricot tree (seeds, leaves, stems) contain cyanide, a toxin that inhibits cytochrome oxidase, which prevents appropriate oxygen uptake in cells.

Signs & Symptoms

If ingested, animals can suffer from breathing difficulties, bright red guns, reduced or dangerously low oxygen levels, shock, and possible death.

Bread Dough

Why is it dangerous?
Yeast in the dough can produce alcohol. Unbaked dough can also expand in the stomach.

Signs & Symptoms
The alcohol created by the yeast can cause respiratory failure or seizures. Expanded dough can cause a pet's stomach to twist, cutting off blood supply. This can require emergency surgery to correct, or it will be fatal.


What kinds?
All types of chocolate: White, Dark, Milk, and unsweetened Baker's chocolate. Cocoa powder is also toxic to animals.

Why is it dangerous?
Chocolate contains an alkaloid called theobromine, a type of stimulant. An animals body cannot metabolize theobromine as quickly as humans.

Signs & Symptoms
Diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, increased urination, muscle spasms, seizures, and rapid heart rate. Depending on the amount ingested, or the severity of the listed symptoms, it can prove fatal.


What kinds?
All forms of grapes (table, seedless, seeded, juice), raisins, and currants.

Why is it dangerous?
Medical testing has posed the theory that a type of mycotoxin (a type of toxin developed by molds) is the cause, but it is still being investigated.

Signs & Symptoms
Vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, decreased or no appetite, increased drinking, and abdominal pain. Acute renal failure can develop within 48 hours of ingestion, which can become fatal.

Macadamia Nuts

Why is it dangerous?
Macadamia nuts contain high levels of phosphorus, a chemical element. It is still unknown exactly what part(s) of the Macadamia nut is toxic, but it is known to effect nerve function. Macadamia nuts are sometimes mixed in or coated with chocolate, making them doubly toxic to pets.

Signs & Symptoms
Lethargy, inability to stand, ataxia (wobbly walking), vomiting, muscle tremors, swollen limbs, hyperthermia, weakness, and an elevated heart rate. A dog may go into shock and die, as a result.

Onions, Leeks, Garlic and Chives

Plants of the Allium genus

What kinds?
Any kind of raw, cooked or dehydrated onions (white, yellow, red); leeks, chives, and garlic.

Why is it dangerous?
Onions, leeks, chives, and garlic all from the same family of plants, known as the Allium genus. All contain thiosulphate. While garlic contains the least amount of thiosulphate (and is sometimes used as a flavoring in dog treats, which shouldn't harm them) onions contain large amounts and can seriously harm your pet.

Signs & Symptoms
Thiosulphate causes hemolytic anemia, where red blood cells burst during circulation. Can also cause labored breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, elevated heart rate, discolored urine, and possible liver damage.


What kinds?
Sugar-free or sugarless gums (Trident, Orbit, etc), sugar-free foods (puddings, gelatin, etc), breath mints, chewable vitamins, mouth washes, sorbitol, malitol, toothpastes, nicotine gum.

Why is it dangerous?
Xylitol, in even the smallest doses, causes a drop in blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) in dogs. Larger doses can cause liver failure and death.

Signs & Symptoms
Lethargy, loss of coordination, weakness, collapse, tremors, seizures, vomiting, acute liver necrosis, liver failure, and possible death.

If you believe your dog has ingested Xylitol, immediately seek medical attention from your veterinarian!



What kinds?
Usually found in OTC pain relievers such as Tylenol, Anacin, Percoset, Excedrin and various sinus, cold and flu medications. Also called Paracetamol.

Why is it dangerous?
Acetaminophen is a type of analgesic (pain reliever) and antipyretic (fever reducer). Animals should not be given acetaminophen for pain treatment. Usually ingestion is accidental, due to spilled pills or bottles left where dogs can chew them open. Acetaminophen is more toxic to cats then dogs; one pill may be fatal for a cat.

Signs & Symptoms
Labored breathing, swollen face or limbs, hypothermia, vomiting, hemolytic anemia, liver damage, death.

"Over the Counter" (OTC) Medications

What kinds?
Aleve, Advil, Motrin, or store-brand NSAIDs or Naproxen pills.

Why is it dangerous?
Over the counter pain relievers, known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) and naproxen, are not safe for use in pets.

Signs & Symptoms
Can cause stomach ulcers, intestinal ulcers, kidney and/or liver failure.

Prescription Medication

For Humans and Pets

What kinds? (Not a complete listing -- if you take it, don't give it to your pet!)

  • ACE Inhibitors (Altace, Zestril, etc)
  • ADD/ADHD medications (Concerta, Adderall, Ritalin, etc)
  • Antidepressants (Zoloft, Effexor, Cymbalta, Prozac, Lexapro, Celexa, etc)
  • Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Klonopin, Ambien, Lunesta, etc)
  • Beta-blockers (Tenormin, Toprol, Coreg, etc)
  • Birth control (Estrogen, Estradiol, Progesterone, etc)
  • Statins (Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor, etc)
  • Thyroid Hormones (Armour desiccated thyroid, Synthroid, etc)

Why is it dangerous?
Medications designated for humans are not created for use in pets.

Signs & Symptoms
(Dependent upon type of medication ingested) Sedation, incoordination, dizziness, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle tremors, seizures, elevated heart rate, elevated or decreased blood pressure and elevated body temperature, aggression, heart problems, agitation, respiratory problems, liver failure, kidney failure, death.


What kinds?
"Meat-flavoring" the medications is meant to entice your pet to take his or her medication, tricking them to thinking they're getting a meaty-flavored treat. Keeping them safely stored and following dosing directions will prevent accidental overdoses.

Why is it dangerous?
Medication prescribed for your pet by your veterinarian should be only given in the prescribed doses. Overdoses or accidental ingestion can cause problems.

Signs & Symptoms
Stomach ulcers, liver failure, kidney failure.

Household Items

Automotive Fluids

What kinds?
Antifreeze, de-icing agents, windshield wiper fluid, motor oil, solvents, rust removers, film processing solutions, and taxidermist's preservation solutions.

Why is it dangerous?
Ethylene glycol is a organic compound, when absorbed through ingestion, metabolizes through the liver to become oxalic acid, which is toxic to humans and animals alike. May also be combined with phosphorus rust inhibitors, resulting in higher levels of phosphorus in the body. Because it tastes sweet, it can be very enticing to children and animals.

Signs & Symptoms

  • After initial ingestion, pets might suffer from ataxia, seizures, hyper-excitability, stupor, lack of appetite, vomiting, drop in body temperature, and an increase in drinking and urination.
  • 12-24 hours after ingestion, cardiopulmonary system signs are seen, including increased heart rate and respiratory rate.
  • 12-72 hours after ingestion, the kidneys are now affected. Continued vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration may progress to kidney failure and death.

If you suspect your pet has ingested ethylene glycol, SEEK IMMEDIATE VETERINARY ATTENTION!


What kinds?
Alkaline dry cell batteries (9-volt, AA, AAA, C, D) button batteries, disc-shaped batteries, lithium batteries.

Why is it dangerous?
If your pet ingests a battery, there is risk that it became punctured before being swallowed, allowing for alkaline or acidic liquid to leak, resulting in corrosive internal injury.

Signs & Symptoms
Oral pain, drooling, vomiting, lack of appetite, difficulty swallowing, pawing at the mouth, abdominal pain, fever, lack of bowl movements.

If you suspect your dog has ingested a battery, carefully flush the mouth for 15-20 minutes with tepid water. DO NOT TRY TO INDUCE VOMITING! Seek immediate veterinary attention!


What kinds?
Hardware (nuts, bolts, galvanized pieces of metal, etc), coins, diaper rash creams or other topical ointments.

Why is it dangerous?
Zinc is toxic when ingested, especially in large amounts.

Signs & Symptoms
Anemia, vomiting, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, discolored urine, decreased or lack of appetite, collapse.

If you believe your pet has ingested a coin or multiple coins, SEEK IMMEDIATE VETERINARY ATTENTION!


What kinds?
Any form of petroleum distillates: gasoline, kerosene, engine oil, tiki-torch fuels, transmission fluid, diesel fuels, paint solvents, brake fluid, wood stains, wood strippers, liquid lighter fluids, asphalt, roofing tar.

Why is it dangerous?
Contains hydrogen and carbon, may be combined with antifreeze. Should not be ingested by humans or animals.

Signs & Symptoms
Vomiting, drooling, increased respiratory symptoms, skin and/or eye irritation, and coma.

If you suspect your pet has ingested any form of hydrocarbons or petroleum distillates, DO NOT TRY TO INDUCE VOMITING! Seek immediate veterinary attention!


What kinds?
Laundry soap, fabric softener, dryer sheets, enzymatic cleaner, deodorizer, surfactants

Why is it dangerous?
Detergents of any kind should not be ingested, but they can also cause skin irritation and/or corrosive injury in cats.

Signs & Symptoms
Drooling, chemical burns or ulcers in the mouth, pawing at the mouth, decreased or no appetite, vomiting, lethargy, and breathing difficulties.

If you believe your pet has ingested any kind of detergent, SEEK IMMEDIATE VETERINARY ATTENTION!

Fertilizers, Yard & Garden Products

What kinds?
Brand-named or store-brand types of fertilizer and yard care products, blood meal, bone meal, feather meal, plant food, potash, soil amendments.

Why is it dangerous?
Many contain combinations of nitrogen, potassium, iron, copper, zinc, cobalt, boron, manganese, molybdenum or phosphorus. They can also have herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides mixed with them. These can cause a variety of reactions in your pet, from mild to severe, depending on the ingredients.

Signs & Symptoms
Nausea, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, breathing difficulty, bowel obstruction or pancreatitis (in case of ingestion in large amounts.)

Flea and Tick Treatments

What kinds?
Topical treatments, flea collars.

Why is it dangerous?
Treatments may contain or contain a combination of amitraz, organophosphates or carbamates, or pyrethrins/pyrethroids.

Signs & Symptoms
Lethargy, dilated pupils, profuse drooling, tremors, agitation, weakness, difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, and seizures.

Household Cleaning Products

What kinds?
Name-brand or store-brands of bleach, ammonia, glass cleaner, drain cleaners, and toilet bowl cleaners.

Why is it dangerous?
Cleansers of any kind should not be ingested, but they can also cause skin irritation and/or corrosive injury in cats.

Signs & Symptoms
Drooling, chemical burns or ulcers in the mouth, pawing at the mouth, decreased or no appetite, vomiting, lethargy, and breathing difficulties.

If you believe your pet has ingested any kind of cleansers, SEEK IMMEDIATE VETERINARY ATTENTION!


Why is it dangerous?
This is a slow-release pesticide that comes formed in balls, cakes, cubes, flakes, or spheres. It is used to repel and kill moths, and sometimes used to repel mice, snakes, and other pests. Most mothballs now contain paradi-chlorobenzene (PDB), but older varieties commonly contained naphthalene. The chemicals can be inhaled, absorbed through contact or ingestion.

Cats are more sensitive to the pesticide then dogs, but dogs are more likely to ingest mothballs than cats.

Signs & Symptoms
Lethargy, excessive thirst or urination, vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, abnormal fluid accumulation, tremors, seizures, liver or kidney failure, and death.

If you believe your pet has come into contact with or ingested mothballs, SEEK IMMEDIATE VETERINARY ATTENTION!


What kinds?
Cigarettes, nicotine gum or patches, chewing tobacco, cigars.

Why is it dangerous?
Nicotine is a toxin. Sometimes, in the cases of nicotine gum, it is mixed with Xylitol, making it worse for pets who accidentally ingest it.

Signs & Symptoms
Vomiting, weakness, collapse, incoordination, and abnormal heart rate.

If you believe your pet has ingested nicotine in any form, SEEK IMMEDIATE VETERINARY ATTENTION!

Pest Control

What kinds?
Insect sprays, slug and/or snail bait, rodenticides.

Why is it dangerous?
Rodenticides can contain warfarin and coumarin, which can cause problems with blood clotting or hemorrhaging in pets. Insecticides or pesticides that come in a spray can can cause skin irritations. Some may contain organophosphates or carbamates, which can be life-threatening.

Signs & Symptoms
Drooling, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, and seizures.

If you believe your pet has come into contact with or ingested pesticides, SEEK IMMEDIATE VETERINARY ATTENTION!

If you think your pet may be ill, PLEASE SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION FROM A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL! Any questions asked here will NOT be answered. Thank you!

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Thank you for so useful lens! As I do have a dog I will have a lot what to think about!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing! Spread the love! :)

    • Pinasheart profile image


      6 years ago

      This is a great list. I think people really need to be aware of this stuff.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Very informative lens. Thanks.

    • greenmind profile image

      GreenMind Guides 

      6 years ago from USA

      EVERY dog owner should read this lens NOW. Really good and important work, thanks.

    • Elis173 profile image


      6 years ago

      Thanks for the info, i enjoyed reading, i only heard about chocolate!

    • bethann21 profile image


      6 years ago

      Good information. I think that there is also some plants that are poisonous to pets as well.

    • Vikk Simmons profile image

      'Vikk Simmons 

      6 years ago from Houston

      I only heard about grapes a few years ago. I've pinned this to bookmark for future reference. You never know.

    • sbaiju profile image


      6 years ago

      oh boy chocolate , I never thought it would be dangerous, Thanks for the info

    • bushaex profile image

      Stephen Bush 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      The pets of the world thank you! Must reading for anyone who has pets or takes care of them for others.

    • Coreena Jolene profile image

      Coreena Jolene 

      6 years ago

      Excellent list that every pet owner should have. I would like to mention that I just recently found out Caffeine can be poisonous too along with several houseplants. I really enjoyed reading your lens.


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