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Common Household Dangers for your Pet

As smart as you think your pet may be, his curiosity can get him into trouble. The strong odor of paint may entice your pet in for a closer smell, the flavoring in antifreeze can tempt him to taste, and his natural curiosity to help you around the house can expose him to cleaning products. Just as we child proof our homes we also need to pet proof as well. To protect your pet and yourself have adequate ventilation when using any chemicals, thoroughly wipe up any spills, tightly close any bottles or containers and stow them safely in cabinets that pets cannot pry open.

When pet proofing your home remember poisons aren’t always ingested; some can be inhaled or even absorbed through the skin. Protect your pet by being aware of these common pet health hazards.


Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol it has a sweet taste that attracts animals but is deadly if consumed even in small quantities. One teaspoon can kill a 7 pound cat. Ethylene glycol can also be found in common household items like snow globes.

Chemicals used on lawns and in gardens, such as fertilizer can be easily accessible and fatal to animals

Cocoa mulch contains ingredients that can be deadly to pets if ingested. The mulch has a chocolate scent that is appetizing to animals.

De-icing salts used to melt snow and ice are paw irritants that can be toxic if licked off. Wash pet’s paws off after coming in from the snow or use doggie booties to protect dog’s feet and keep cats indoors.

Cans and garbage can pose danger when cats or small dogs try to lick the contents and get their heads stuck. To prevent, squeeze cans shut before disposing.

Traps and poisons. Many people use glue traps and poisons to kill rats, especially in this area. Rodenticides when consumed cause bleeding or neurological problems which can be fatal.


Cedar and other soft wood shaving can emit fumes that are dangerous to small mammals like hamsters and gerbils.

Insect control products and insecticides in over the control flea and tick products may be toxic to animals. Some products are for use only on dogs and will be toxic to cats. Never use these products without reading the caution /safety information first.

Human medications such as pain killers (including aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen) cold medicine, anti- depressants, antihistamines, vitamins and diet pills can all be toxic to animals. Keep medication containers and tubes of ointment away from pets that could chew through them and, be vigilant about finding and disposing of dropped pills.

Poisonous household plants include; azalea, dieffenbachia, (dumb cane) lilies, mistletoe, and philodendron among others. Take the same precautions with pets as you would with a child.

String, yarn, rubber bands and dental floss are easy to swallow and can cause intestinal blockage.

Toys with moveable parts like squeaky toy or stuffed animals with plastic eyes can be a choking hazard or cause an intestinal blockage.


Chocolate is poisonous to dogs, cats and ferrets.

Fumes from non-stick cooking surfaces and self-cleaning ovens can be deadly to birds.

Leftovers such as chicken bones or pork bones can shatter easily and can choke or cause intestinal obstruction in a dog or cat. Other human food to keep away from pets include: onion and onion powder, alcoholic beverages, yeast dough, coffee grounds, macadamia nuts, tomato paste, potato and rhubarb leaves and stems, salt, avocado(toxic to birds, mice rabbits, horses, cattle, and dairy goats) grapes and anything with mold.

If all precautions have failed and you believe your pet may have been poisoned, contact your veterinarian or emergency animal hospital immediately. Signs of poisoning include listlessness, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle tremors lack of muscle coordination and fever.

Common Household Dangers



The top 10 most common calls received by the Pet Poison Hotline for Dogs:

  1. Chocolate
  2. Insect Bait Stations
  3. Rodenticides (mouse and rat Poison)
  4. Fertilizer
  5. Xylitol containing products
  6. Ibuprofen
  7. Acetaminophen
  8. Silica Gel Packs
  9. Amphetamines
  10. Household cleaners

for Cats:

  1. Topical spot-on insecticides
  2. Household Cleaners
  3. Antidepressants
  4. Lilies
  5. Insoluble Oxalate Plants (e.g., Dieffenbachia, Philodendron, etc.)
  6. Human and Veterinary NSAIDs
  7. Cold and Flu Medication (e.g., Tylenol)
  8. Glow Sticks
  9. ADD/ADHD Medications/Amphetamines
  10. Mouse and Rat Poison