Common Pet Toxins

There are many things in your home that are safe for you, but extremely toxic for your pets. In today’s blog we’re tackling some of the most commonly reported toxicities in dogs and cats that pet owners should be aware of.


  • Chocolate:  Contains the compound theobromine, which can cause GI upset, restlessness/agitation, high heart rate, muscle tremors, and seizures. 
  • Grapes & Raisins: We are still uncertain of the exact toxic compound and therefore toxic dose in cases of pet consumption. What we do know is grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure and possibly death for dogs if not addressed in a timely manner.
  • Onions & Garlic: Foods in the allium family contain the compound thiosulfate, which is known to cause hemolytic anemia in dogs. This is where the body attacks its own red blood cells causing anemia that often requires a blood transfusion.

Household products: 

  • Household human medications, such as: Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Naproxen, Acetaminophen/Paracetamol, Vitamin D, ADHD medication, Antidepressants 
  • Household pet medications, swallowed in large quantities: Pain medications/NSAIDS such as Galliprant or Carprofen, Incontinence medications such as PPA/phenylpropanolamine, Parasite preventatives such as Nexgard, Credelio, or Bravecto 
  • Cleaning products: Household cleaners such as those containing bleach can be extremely toxic if consumed. This is because many contain caustic substances which can eat away at the mucosal tissue along the gut resulting in tissue death and bleeding. 
  • Anti-freeze: Many brands of car antifreeze solution contain the compound ethylene glycol, an alcohol type compound that can cause kidney failure and death.
  • Essential oils: Particularly tea tree, lavender, mint, and eucalyptus have been shown to cause a variety of issues in cats. This can occur via direct contact to skin, ingesting the oils, or inhaling them.


  • House plants, such as: Sago palm: contains the compound cycasin which can cause liver failure in dogs, Plants containing insoluble calcium oxalates (philodendron, calla lily, elephants ear, Chinese evergreen) can cause significant irritation and damage to a dog’s GI mucosa
  • Lilies (Lilium and Hemerocallis species): Lilies from the above classes have the potential to cause fatal kidney failure in cats, it’s the pollen to be careful of as this can get anywhere. However, Not all lilies are toxic! As mentioned, lilies from the Lilium and Hemerocallis families are known to be the problem.

Signs your pet has ingested a toxin 


Gastrointestinal symptoms: Vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, hypersalivation, difficulty breathing

Kidney failure: Change of urination frequency – increased or decreased, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, drinking excessive amounts of water

Liver failure: Vomiting, diarrhea, yellow gums, collapsing 

Internal bleeding: Coughing up blood, vomiting blood, collapsing, heart racing, pale gums


Gastrointestinal symptoms: Vomiting, hypersalivation, lethargy or weakness, difficulty breathing

Other symptoms of cat poisoning include: Coughing, skin inflammation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, collapsing,  loss of appetite, drinking excessive amounts of water, heart racing, change of urination frequency – increased or decreased

What to do if your pet has ingested a toxin 

If you think your pet has been poisoned, you should contact your vet immediately. If you can, try to figure out what toxin your pet has been exposed to and how much, this will help your vet treat your pet correctly and efficiently. 

Our cats and dogs are part of the family so we want to keep them as safe as possible. When it comes to household toxins it can be concerning, but as long as you keep them out of reach or locked away you shouldn’t have to worry. 

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