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Household Poisons & Toxic Plants (Dogs and Cats)

People often ask what things around the house – and what plants – are dangerous for their dog. The ASPCA has a list of poisonous items. Some of them “just” cause vomiting, others are things that some dogs are allergic to and others aren’t, and some will kill any dog.

The ASPCA Poison Control Hotline is (888) 426-4435. It costs $55. I have also called the regular human poison number.

While I don’t recommend that you worry constantly that your dog may get into something and die, a bit of caution is a great idea, as is keeping your dog safe by getting hazardous things out of their way. Use cupboards for in-home toxins and remove toxic plants or put them in a spot the dog doesn’t go – behind a fence would be the most safe.

Here’s the list from the ASPCA (click here for their page)

Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pet

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Avocado
  • Chocolate (all forms)
  • Coffee (all forms)
  • Excessive Fatty foods
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Moldy or spoiled foods
  • Onions, onion powder
  • Raisins and grapes
  • Salt
  • Yeast dough
  • Garlic
  • Products sweetened with xylitol

Warm Weather Hazards

  • Animal toxins—toads, insects, spiders, snakes and scorpions
  • Blue-green algae in ponds
  • Citronella candles
  • Cocoa mulch
  • Compost piles Fertilizers
  • Flea products
  • Outdoor plants and plant bulbs
  • Swimming-pool treatment supplies
  • Fly baits containing methomyl
  • Slug and snail baits containing metaldehyde

Common examples of human medications that can be potentially lethal to pets, even in small doses, include:

  • Pain killers
  • Cold medicines
  • Anti-cancer drugs
  • Antidepressants
  • Vitamins
  • Diet Pills

Cold Weather Hazards

  • Antifreeze (non-toxic is available)
  • Liquid potpourri
  • Ice melting products
  • Rat and mouse bait

Common Household Hazards

  • Fabric softener sheets
  • Mothballs
  • Post-1982 pennies (due to high concentration of zinc)

Holiday Hazards

  • Christmas tree water (may contain fertilizers and bacteria, which, if ingested, can upset the stomach.
  • Electrical cords
  • Ribbons or tinsel (can become lodged in the intestines and cause intestinal obstruction—most often occurs with kittens!)
  • Batteries
  • Glass ornaments
  • Fireworks

Non-toxic Substances for Dogs and Cats
The following substances are considered to be non-toxic, although they may cause mild gastrointestinal upset in some animals:

  • Water-based paints
  • Toilet bowl water
  • Silica gel
  • Poinsettia
  • Cat litter
  • Glue traps
  • Glow jewelry


Many plants are safe for animals.  Many aren’t.   Click here for the list of toxic plants.

The ten most common toxic plants are:

  • Marijuana (lack of coordination, vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, increased heart rate, and even seizures and coma)
  • Sago Palm (vomiting, diarrhea, depression, seizures and liver failure), Lilies (severe kidney damage)
  • Tulip/Narcissus bulbs (intense gastrointestinal irritation, drooling, loss of appetite, depression of the central nervous system, convulsions and cardiac abnormalities)
  • Azalea/Rhododendron (vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, weakness and depression of the central nervous system – could ultimately lead to coma and death from cardiovascular collapse)
  • Oleander (gastrointestinal tract irritation, abnormal heart function, hypothermia and even death)
  • Castor Bean (severe abdominal pain, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, weakness and loss of appetite. Severe cases of poisoning can result in dehydration, muscle twitching, tremors, seizures, coma and death.)
  • Cyclamen. (gastrointestinal irritation, including intense vomiting. Fatalities have also been reported in some cases.) Cylamen species contain cyclamine, but the highest concentration of this toxic component is typically located in the root portion of the plant.
  • Kalanchoe (gastrointestinal irritation, as well as those that are toxic to the heart, and can seriously affect cardiac rhythm and rate)
  • Yew (central nervous system effects such as trembling, incoordination, and difficulty breathing. It can also cause significant gastrointestinal irritation and cardiac failure, which can result in death.)