Common Household Items That Can be Dangerous or Toxic to Pets

Puppy sleeping safely at home.

When you become a pet parent, all you want to do is keep your precious fur baby safe from harm. But pets are curious creatures with incredibly strong noses (dogs) and an unmatched ability to leap onto your countertops (cats). How can we keep our furry explorers from the dangerous household items that can hurt them? 

The team at Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital is here to help. By understanding common household hazards for pets, you can pet-proof your home and make an emergency plan for if things go south. 

Pet Safety 101: Dangerous Household Items for Pets

First, the bad news: there are so many potentially hazardous household items that we don’t have room to list them all. To make things even more confusing, some items can make your pet mildly sick while others can be deadly. 

The good news is that we know a lot about these hazards. The Food & Drug Administration has published an extensive list of items that can cause pet poisoning. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has a special search feature and a 1,000+ page list of plants that are toxic to pets

Let’s take a look at some of the most dangerous pet toxins. You probably have at least three of these in your home right now!

  • Grapes and raisins
  • Caffeine
  • Raw yeast dough
  • Chocolate
  • Batteries
  • Magnets
  • Thread
  • Nicotine products
  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Electrical cords
  • Fabric softener sheets
  • Products with xylitol, including toothpaste, sugar-free gum, and breath mints
  • Antifreeze
  • Rodenticide
  • Household cleaners
  • Some houseplants, including sago palm, poinsettia, and cyclamen

Remember, this is just a short list. And if you’re anything like us, you’ve got over half of these in your home right now. Should you get rid of all your batteries, dryer sheets, Tylenol, coffee, and grapes? 

No! But we do recommend pet-proofing your home so that your pets cannot access these toxic items. 

Pet-Proofing Your Home

You can pet-proof your home in five steps: 

  1. Install pet-proof cabinet locks on all cabinets where toxic items are kept. 
  2. Store extra-toxic items like medications and cleaners up high and keep them locked up—don’t forget the garage!
  3. Get rid of any toxic houseplants you have and put nontoxic ones like ponytail palms, Boston fern, and African violets in their place.
  4. Keep trash cans and toilet lids closed.
  5. Place cord covers over all of your electric cords.

That’s all there is to it. Okay, so it might sound like a bit of work. But it’s worth it to keep dangerous household items from harming your pet. Wouldn’t you rather break a sweat installing cabinet locks than bring your kitty into the emergency room with pet poisoning?

Of course, the unthinkable can happen to even the most vigilant pet parents who pour blood, sweat, and tears into preventing pet poisoning. Knowing how to help your pet can mean the difference between life and death.

Emergency Pet Care

The most common symptoms of pet poisoning are vomiting, seizures, excessive drooling, lethargy, and appetite loss. If you think your pet has eaten something toxic, come in to see our veterinary team right away. We provide veterinary care for pet poisoning 7 days a week during our business hours

If we are closed, call the 24-hour emergency line at Atlantic Street Veterinary Hospital Pet Emergency Center. You can also call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Phone Number at (888) 426-4435 for immediate help 24/7/365.