Plants for Dogs & Cats
Contact your veterinarian if you suspect that your
Alfalfa (multiple exposures)
Apple Leaf Croton
Avocado (fruit and pit)
Bird of Paradise
Cherry (seeds and wilting leaves)
Easter Lily (in cats!!!!)
Fruit Salad Plant
Giant Dumb Cane
Gold Dust Dracaena
Hahn's Self-Branching Ivy
Indian Rubber Plant
Janet Craig Dracaena
Japanese Show Lily (cats !!!)
Lacy Tree Philodendron
Lily of the Valley
Mother-in Law's Tongue
Madagascar Dragon Tree
Oriental Lily (cats!!!)
Peach (wilting leaves and pits)
Poinsettia (low toxicity)
Potato Plant (green fruit, stem and leaves)
Saddle Leaf Philodendron
Spotted Dumb Cane
String of Pearls
Swiss Cheese Plant
Tiger Lily (cats!!!)
Tomato Plant (green fruit, stem and leaves)
Tropic Snow Dieffenbachia
pet may have ingested any of the plants listed above.
*** Attention: This list is not all-inclusive.
Contact your veterinarian if you have any questions
or concerns about a plant not listed above.
Winter Holiday Dangers for Pets
Here are some tips for keeping your pets
out of danger during the holiday season.
AVOID Holiday Food Items That Could Cause
Problems For Your Pet
- Alcoholic beverages
- Chocolate (baker's, semi-sweet, milk chocolate)
- Coffee (grounds, beans, chocolate covered
- Moldy or spoiled foods-compost
- Onions, onion powder
- Fatty foods
- Yeast dough
- Lilies may be found in flower arrangements
and can be deadly to your cat. Many types of lily, such as Tiger,
Asian, Japanese Show, Easter, Stargazer, and the Casa Blanca,
can cause kidney failure in cats.
- Poinsettias are generally over-rated in
toxicity. If ingested, poinsettias can be irritating to the
mouth and stomach, and may cause mild vomiting or nausea.
- Mistletoe has the potential to cause cardiovascular
problems. However, mistletoe ingestion usually only causes gastrointestinal
- Holly ingestion could cause vomiting,
nausea, diarrhea, and lethargy.
HAZARDS AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE
- Christmas tree water may contain fertilizers,
which, if ingested, can cause stomach upset. Stagnant tree water
can be breeding grounds for bacteria, which can also lead to
vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea.
- Electric cords- Avoid animal exposure
to electric cords. If they were chewed, they could electrocute
your pet. Cover up or hide electric cords, never let your pet
chew on them.
- Ribbons or tinsel if ingested can get
caught up in the intestines and cause intestinal obstruction.
- Batteries contain corrosives. If ingested
they can cause ulceration to the mouth, tongue, and the rest
of the gastrointestinal tract.
- Glass ornaments can cut the tissues of
the gastrointestinal tract if ingested.
Keep all prescriptions and over-the-counter
drugs out of the reach of your pets, preferably in closed cabinets.
Pain killers, cold medicines, anti-cancer drugs, antidepressants,
vitamins, and diet pills are common examples of human medication
that could be potentially lethal even in small dosages. One regular
strength ibuprofen tablet (200mg) can cause stomach ulcers in
a 10-pound dog. Remind holiday guests to store their medications
During the holidays, many veterinary clinics have limited office
hours. In some cases, pet owners try to medicate their animals
without their veterinarian's advice. Never give your animal any
medications unless under the directions of a veterinarian. Many
medications that are used safely in humans can be deadly when
used inappropriately. Less than one regular strength acetaminophen
tablet (325mg) can be dangerous to a cat.
OTHER WINTER HAZARDS
- Antifreeze has a pleasant taste. Unfortunately,
very small amounts can be lethal. As little as one teaspoon
of antifreeze can be deadly to a cat; less than four teaspoons
can be dangerous to a 10-pound dog. Thoroughly clean up any
spills, store antifreeze in tightly closed containers and store
in secured cabinets. Automotive products such as gasoline, oil
and antifreeze should be stored in areas that are inaccessible
to your pets. Propylene glycol is a safer form of antifreeze.
Low Tox brand antifreeze contains propylene glycol and
is recommended to use in pet households.
- If you think your pet has consumed antifreeze,
contact your veterinarian immediately.
- Liquid potpourris are popular household
fragrances commonly used during the holiday season. Pets are
often exposed to liquid potpourri by direct ingestion from simmer
pots or spills, or by rubbing against leaky bottles or simmer
pots containing the potpourri, or from spilling the containers
upon themselves. Oral exposures result following grooming. Exposure
of pets to some types of liquid potpourris can result in severe
mouth, skin & eye damage.
- Ice melting products can be irritating
to skin and mouth. Depending on the actual ingredient of the
ice melt and the quantity, signs of ingestion would include
excessive drooling, depression & vomiting.
- Rat and mouse killers are used more commonly
during colder weather. When using rat and mouse bait, place
the products in areas that are inaccessible to your companion
animals. If you suspect that your pet has ingested any rat or
mouse bait contact your veterinarian immediately.
Common Household Poisons
Animals will drink a variety of alcohols, ranging from methanol
found in windshield washing solutions to isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol
to vodka at a party. Unbaked bread dough is another source of alcohol.
Clinical signs (staggering & lethargy) will become obvious within
an hour if the animal ingested a toxic dose. You should always check
with your veterinarian if your pet has ingested any of the products
listed above to confirm whether or not it was a toxic or lethal
dose and what the next steps would be for proper treatment of your
Ant and Roach Baits
These products contain a variety of insecticides. However, the
main ingredients in most of these products are peanut butter,
lard, and jelly to attract the insects. Therefore, ingestion of
these products is rarely a concern unless a very tiny animal such
as a pocket pet is involved.
The two exceptions are when the product contains chlorpyrifos
or arsenic. Cats are exceptionally sensitive to chlorpyrifos,
an organophosphate. A few products contain arsenic, which is a
stomach irritant. Therefore, most animals will vomit spontaneously.
Never induce vomiting without consulting your veterinarian first.
In some cases vomiting should not be induced.
Treatment of battery ingestion can be difficult. Contact your
veterinarian immediately if you suspect your pet has ingested
Chocolate contains two forms of methylxanthines, theobromine and
caffeine, and their amounts vary with the type of chocolate. Unsweetened
baking chocolate contains almost seven times more theobromine
as milk chocolate, while white chocolate contains very little.
You should always contact your veterinarian if your pet has ingested
chocolate and confirm that it is or is not a lethal dose.
Tobacco products contain varying amounts of nicotine with regular
cigarettes containing 13-30 mg and cigars containing 15-40 mg.
Butts contain about 25% of the total nicotine content. Signs often
develop within 15-45 minutes after ingestion and commonly include
excitation, salivation, vomiting and diarrhea. If your pet has
ingested a toxic amount muscle weakness, twitching, depression,
shallow breathing, collapse and then cardiac arrest will follow
these symptoms. Contact your veterinarian if you suspect your
pet has eaten any products containing nicotine.
Most household cleaning products contain acidic or alkaline ingredients,
which can cause caustic or corrosive lesions in the GI tract.
Fortunately, most exposures occur after the product has been diluted
in a bucket of water or a toilet bowl and so only cause mild vomiting.
If the product is not dilute, it can cause severe burning of the
mouth, esophagus, and stomach. Lesions from acids usually appear
soon after exposure, while lesions from alkalis may not appear
until 8-12 hours later. Do not induce vomiting because further
damage will occur. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you
suspect your pet has ingested any cleaning products.
Most fertilizers contain mainly nitrogen, potash, and potassium
(N-P-K) and just cause mild GI upset. However, some fertilizers
contain a significant amount of iron and can result in iron toxicosis.
A few fertilizers also contain an insecticide such as disulfoton,
which is a highly toxic organophosphate that causes sudden onset
of seizures frequently followed by pancreatitis.
Other types of fertilizer are bone meal and blood meal. Dogs can
engorge themselves on these products and can have significant
GI upset (vomiting, diarrhea, constipation) and possibly pancreatitis.
Contact your veterinarian if your pet has ingested any type of
These jewelry pieces are filled with dibutyl phthalate, which
causes profuse salivation and possibly vomiting in animals that
bite into them. This response is due to a taste reaction rather
than a toxicosis. Give a treat, such as milk or tuna juice, to
dilute the taste of the chemical and contact your veterinarian.
Most glue does not cause problems when ingested by pets. Superglue
can glue the lips or tongue together, but otherwise is digested
without incidence. An exception is Gorilla Glue, which expands
in the stomach and can require surgical removal. Always consult
your veterinarian if your pet ingests any type of glue.
Liquid potpourris may contain essential oils and cationic detergents.
Essential oils can cause mucous membrane and gastrointestinal
irritation. Severe clinical signs can be seen with potpourri products
that contain cationic detergents. Dermal exposure to cationic
detergents can result in reddening of the skin, edema, intense
pain, and ulceration. Ingestion of cationic detergents can lead
to tissue necrosis and inflammation of the mouth, esophagus, and
Following dermal exposure, the animal should be bathed with a
mild liquid hand-dish detergent or a non-insecticidal pet shampoo.
For ocular exposure to liquid potpourri, the eyes should be flushed
thoroughly with tepid tap water or saline. Report any symptoms
your pet may be exhibiting to your veterinarian to ensure that
he/she does not require any further treatment.
Naphthalene is the most common active ingredient found in mothballs.
Most common signs seen with mothball ingestion include vomiting,
anemia, lethargy, and seizures. Hepatitis is a rare effect and
if seen would occur 3-5 days post exposure.
Treatment of mothball ingestion includes early decontamination.
Consult your veterinarian if your pet has or you suspect that
it has ingested mothballs.
Household paints and varnishes are relatively harmless and usually
only cause mild GI upset. However, pet owners become concerned
when paint gets on the animal's fur and make the mistake of trying
to remove it with paint thinners, such as turpentine or mineral
spirits. These products are extremely irritating to the skin and
footpads. The animal will become very painful immediately after
The best method of removing paint thinners is by bathing with
a dish washing detergent and cool water. However, bathing removes
excess product without stopping the pain that is already occurring,
especially in the footpads. Analgesics and sedatives may be necessary
to make the animal comfortable. The pain can be eased in some
dogs by allowing them to stand or lay in cool water. They are
usually comfortable when in the water, but become painful again
as soon as they are removed from the water. Consult your veterinarian
for treatment information and do not administer any home pain
medications without your vet's permission, some human pain control
can be harmful to your pet.
This is used as a desiccant in newly purchased clothing, shoes,
and purses. It is an inert ingredient and is not toxic. The only
time it is of concern is when a small animal swallows a large
amount, which can expand with water and possibly cause an obstruction
These products cause vomiting (usually mild and self-limiting)
after ingestion. Large ingestions can also cause diarrhea. If
the vomiting or diarrhea persists for more than a day, contact
you r veterinarian.
Thermometers contain elemental mercury, which is not absorbed
from the GI tract. Therefore, mercury poisoning is not a concern
with these ingestions. If the animal swallowed the glass, bulk
up the diet with bread or canned pumpkin to help it move through
the GI tract and consult your veterinarian.
US pennies minted after 1982 and Canadian pennies minted between
1997 and 2001 are composed of copper plating around a zinc core.
Therefore toxicosis has been reported as a result of ingestion
of pennies. Zinc toxicosis can affect the kidneys and liver. Treatment
of penny ingestion involves removing the pennies from the stomach,
which often requires surgery. Consult your veterinarian if your
pet has swallowed any pennies.
|Summer Pet Safety
The onset of summer brings sunny days, warm
temperatures and tons of outdoor activities for people and their
pets. Here are some handy tips to help you and your four-legged
friends enjoy the sunny season.
- In preparation for summer fun, take your
pet to a veterinarian for a check-up. Ensure your pet is on
an appropriate preventative health care program including vaccinations,
flea and tick control and where needed, heartworm prevention.
- Despite their protective fur coats, overexposure
to the sun can be dangerous to pets. Exposure to sunlight should
be limited, especially during the peak hours of sunlight from
noon to 4 p.m. Cats and dogs should have access to water and
shade at all times. Sunscreen can be applied to hairless breeds
or breeds with thin coats. Choose a sunscreen that is safe for
children to ensure that it is safe for your pet. Also be careful
of scorching hot pavement and walking your pets on it for any
length of time. Even sand at the beach can burn their delicate
- During the warm summer months, pets
should never be left unattended in a parked car, even if windows
are left open. Excess heat causes cats and dogs to experience
heat stroke, which is potentially fatal and happens very quickly.
Rapid breathing, loud panting, and staggering are signs of heat
stroke. If your pet exhibits any of these symptoms, take it
to a shady, ventilated area and sponge the animal with cool
water. Do not immerse your pet in freezing cold water you need
to gradually reduce the body temperature. Take your pet to a
veterinarian for any further care that may be required.
- When driving with pets, make sure that
your vehicle's windows are only slightly open so that your pet
is not tempted to stick its head out. A pet that sticks its
head out the window risks getting insects, dust and debris in
- Cats and dogs aren't the only animals
that enjoy nice weather. Summertime also brings an increase
in snakes, skunks, and porcupines. When walking your dog or
cat, especially on campgrounds or in cottage-country, make sure
your pet is on a leash and in sight at all times. Using a leash
will also protect your pet from other dogs and reduce the possibility
of fights should they encounter another aggressive animal.
- To avoid contact with harmful poisons,
don't walk your pet in areas that may have been sprayed with
insecticides or pesticides. Also if you are planning to fertilize
your lawn check with your local garden center or veterinarian
to ensure the products you plan to use are safe for your pet.
Make sure that the plants you chose are non-toxic, you should
also be able to get this info from your vet or garden center.
Store any fertilizers, rodenticides, slug bate, pesticides,
cleaning chemicals, car fluids-especially anti-freeze well out
of reach of your pets. Ingestion of many of these substances
can be fatal if not treated quickly. For a list of toxic plants,
see our section in "Common Household Hazards" entitled
- Although most dogs love swimming, the
potential for drowning still exists- even in backyard pools.
Keep a watchful eye on your pet at all times. Try to avoid areas
where they may be broken glass on the beach or in the water.
Only swim in areas you know.
- Ear and skin infections can result after
prolonged periods in the water. To remove water from your pet's
ears, place a piece of cotton in the top of the ear canal and
massage the lower ear to force water into the cotton. Also make
sure you have dried your pet well after swimming to avoid getting
- Most importantly, in case of emergency,
keep your veterinarian's phone number handy. You may also want
to familiarize yourself with the location of your local emergency
clinic and phone number. It is helpful to keep a first aid kit
at home or in your car along with a supply of fresh water.