Is It True? Top Five Pet Toxins You May Not Know About 

An older dog laying comfortably

When a pet comes in after eating something poisonous, many owners are surprised. Not just by the fact that their pets ate something they shouldn’t have, but also because it’s something the owner never knew would cause harm.

Toxic foods and substances, along with plants, are not as uncommon in the home and yard as you might think. Since your cat is endlessly curious and your dog works a side job as a vacuum cleaner, it is no surprise that pet poisonings occur by the thousands each year. 

Your team at Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital wants to help owners understand some of the signs of toxicity, as well as these unusual things that can be poisonous to your cat or dog. 

What Is Pet Toxicity?

Each year, there are over 214,000 cases of pet poisoning. When a poison is ingested, and this includes medications, plants, chemicals, and certain foods, the organs of the body are affected. The problem with a pet owner recognizing pet toxicity is when the substance ingested is unknown and the signs are subtle or progress over time. It’s often the case that the kidneys are damaged when more serious toxicity occurs.

Since the symptoms of pet toxicity vary, according to the substance and the organs affected, there is no exact sign of toxicity. The more common symptoms, though, are:

  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Drooling
  • Increased heart rate
  • Swelling of limbs
  • Restlessness
  • Pale gums
  • Yellow eyes
  • Abdominal pain
  • Lethargy
  • Tremors
  • Seizures

The more the organs become compromised, the more serious the symptoms become. Pet toxicity can be fatal, so call your veterinarian or go to the pet emergency hospital right away, if signs emerge or if you suspect your pet ate a toxic item.

5 Surprising Things that Are Poisonous to Dogs

Your dog is likely a chow hound and will eat just about anything. This is why about 90% of calls to Pet Poison Helpline are about dogs. There are thousands of things that can be poisonous, but these five are often surprising to pet owners.

  1. Pain relievers – Paracetamol, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen are all quite toxic to pets. They harm the liver and red blood cells and can lead to necrosis if not treated right away.
  2. Moldy foods – Mold, or Penicillium spp, is a fungus that grows on old food. These neurotoxins can make your pet very sick.
  3. Sugar-free gum – Sugarless gum and candy often contain Xylitol, a sugar substitute. This chemical is highly toxic to pets. More recently, Xylitol has been added to some peanut butter, too. 
  4. Fruit pits – Fruit pits in cherries, peaches, apples, etc. contain cyanide and arsenic (among other chemicals) that can harm pets if eaten.The amount ingested can lead to kidney failure.
  5. Grapes and raisins  –These seemingly safe and healthy foods for us have been linked to death in dogs. It’s still unknown why they are toxic, and the amount needed to cause toxicity varies.

5 Shocking Things that Are Poisonous to Cats

Thankfully, our cat companions are not as likely to eat stuff they shouldn’t, but they do, on occasion, especially plants. These five shocking things that are toxic are:

  1. Lilies – Lilies of all varieties are extremely toxic to cats, and just a leaf or two can cause fatal symptoms.
  2. Spot-on flea and tick application for dogs – The toxic ingredients in these medications are pyrethrin and pyrethroid family. 
  3. Caffeine – Your cat will naturally want to lick coffee if there is sugar and cream in it, yet caffeine in coffee is toxic to pets.
  4. Medications – Like dogs, medication toxicity from pain relievers to antidepressants are a serious risk to your cat.
  5. Essential oils – Whether your cat ingested or inhaled them, these pleasant smells that are relaxing for us can be quite poisonous to our pets. 

Want to Know More About Pet Toxins?

Were you surprised by any of these common toxins in your home? The key to preventing your pet from ingesting something they shouldn’t is to store everything in a secure place, much like you would a child. Diagnosing and treating toxicity in pets is dependent on the substance ingested, and can be something costly and scary to treat. Get to know common toxins by doing your research.

If you would like information about pet toxins, or would like to make an appointment, please contact our friendly team