Please note: This post is an educational resource for common pet poisons (i.e. not for emergencies). If you believe your pet has ingested something toxic, please visit the Pet Poison Helpline or ASPCA Poison Control site (includes horse toxicity information) for a more comprehensive list, or call them at 855-764-7661 or 888-426-4435 respectively.
This post was originally published on 9/3/2014 and has been updated to include more information for pet parents.
So far for our March Challenge, we have learned about Pet Poisons in the yard. Today, I would like to talk more about common pet poisons in the kitchen. Of course, there is the most well-known kitchen poison: chocolate. However, there are other kitchen poisons that threaten your pets.
The below infographic from Vet-Medic discusses Treats versus Poisons. This infographic has been very popular ever since I posted it almost 1.5 years ago. So I thought it would be nice to expand on some of the items listed below.
Chocolate is one of the most obvious kitchen poisons. However, the question is not whether or not your dog has consumed chocolate, but rather:
- What kind of chocolate did your dog eat?
- How much did they eat?
- How much does your dog weigh?
The combination of the above information will determine how at risk your dog is and whether or not you have a problem on your hands. Here are some helpful tools to help:
Pet Poison Helpline 855-764-7661
Onions & Garlic
A lot of pet parents don’t realize that onions and garlic are toxic to pets. In fact, other vegetables from this family are also considered toxic to dogs and cats including, chives and leeks. The toxic ingredient in these items is disulfide, which causes oxidative damage to the red blood cells and gastrointestinal upset. Some symptoms of toxicity in this case include:
- pale gums –> how to check for pale gums
- abdominal pain
— Trupanion (@Trupanion) March 20, 2016
Grapes & Raisins
Grapes and raisins seem harmless for dogs, but the reality is that the ingestion of either of these foods can cause sudden acute kidney failure. It is important to note that toxicity from these types of foods is not dependent on the amount. Some symptoms of grape or raise toxicity include (Pet Poison Helpline):
- acute renal failure
*Also toxic to birds!
Xylitol or Artificial Sweetener
This toxin is found in a variety of kitchen items including; candies, gum, and mints. Not to mention, it is also an ingredient in mouthwash and toothpaste. Xylitol toxicity can have a sudden or delayed onset. However, if xylitol toxicity is not treated, it can be fatal. Symptoms of xylitol toxicity can include (VetStreet):
Caffeine is another item I would like to add. Caffeine is a cousin to the ingredient in chocolate that is poisonous to pets. Even just a few sips of coffee or tea, or even the ingestion of a diet pill, can cause high toxicity levels in pets. Additionally, if these symptoms are left untreated, it can be fatal. Symptoms of caffeine toxicity include (Pet Poison Helpline):
- elevated heart rate
- high blood pressure
Some resources state that avocado is toxic to dogs and cats, but upon further research, I believe it is only mildly toxic. Meaning, you still shouldn’t feed it to them and in large amounts it can be harmful, but the real risk is a foreign body due to the consumption of the pit. If this is the case, keep your eyes out for vomiting, diarrhea and a lack of bowel movements. Additionally, avocado is highly toxic to birds! Symptoms for birds include the inability to perch and heavy breathing (Pet Poison Helpline).
*Also toxic to birds!
Once again, we are looking at a long list of things that are in your home that threaten your pet. What is a pet parent to do?
- Training: In order to prevent toxicity, the best thing you can do is teach your pet kitchen manners. If your dog or cat spends less time in the kitchen, then they are that much less likely to accidentally ingest something that they shouldn’t.
- Build a Barrier: Sometimes the temptation to be in the kitchen while you are cooking is too great even for the most well-trained dogs. In this case, you might want to look into building a gate for them. For a list of plans & supplies to build your own Doggie Gate, I will defer you to Yellow Brick Home: Doggie Gate DIY. (P.S. I just found this site and if you like Home DIY projects and pets, you must check it out!)
So what do you think? Was there anything on this list that surprised you? How do you keep your pet safe from poisons in the kitchen?