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Jul 19, 2022

6 min. read

Every home has substances that can potentially harm both dogs and cats. Here are six top tips to protect your pets from poisons at home.

Keep an eye on food

Many pet owners know that chocolate and caffeine are not good for animals. Depending on how much was eaten, they can cause a range of reactions, including:

  • agitation

  • vomiting

  • diarrhea

  • increased heart rate

  • seizures

But a few other foods can affect cats and dogs.

Kitchen items that are particularly harmful for dogs include:

  • grapes

  • raisins

  • currants

  • tomato plants

  • rhubarb leaves

  • macadamia nuts

  • pits from avocados, cherries and apricots

  • apple seeds

  • unbaked bread dough

  • salt

Some cooking ingredients, like garlic, chives and leeks, are toxic to both cats and dogs.

Watch out for xylitol too, a common ingredient in sugar-free gum and candy, which can cause hypoglycemia and liver failure in canines.

Recognize household hazards

Candles infused with essential oils, like tea tree, peppermint and citrus, should be kept out of paw’s way.

Store any drugs and vitamins, including pet medication and flea products, out of reach in a medicine cabinet.

Other common household items that pose a danger to pets include:

  • mothballs

  • potpourri

  • ribbon and tinsel

  • fabric softener sheets

  • dishwasher detergent

  • batteries

  • cigarettes

  • alcohol

  • automotive fluids, like coolant and antifreeze

  • cleaning products, such as bleach and disinfectants

Monitor outdoor risks

Know what plants and flowers are in your yard. Remove any that could potentially poison your pet.

If eaten, these plants can be deadly for both dogs and cats:

  • azalea

  • castor bean

  • oleander

  • sago palm

  • certain types of lilies

  • wild mushrooms

Keep animals off lawns freshly treated with fertilizers, herbicides or insecticides.

Also steer clear of compost piles, which can grow molds that are toxic to both people and animals.

Consider a basket muzzle that allows your dog to pant, but makes it difficult to get into harmful items, and teach them to “leave it” or “drop it”—it could save a life.

Know the symptoms

The signs of poisoning depend on the substance ingested.

Your pet may experience:

  • nausea

  • vomiting

  • diarrhea

  • lethargy

  • excessive drooling

  • loss of appetite

  • a change in thirst and urination patterns

  • pale gums

  • abnormal heart rate

  • agitation

  • tremors

  • convulsions

  • collapse

If you suspect poisoning, the sooner your dog or cat is seen by a veterinarian, the better.

Go to the vet or a 24-hour pet emergency clinic as soon as possible. Never administer medication or induce vomiting unless directed by a veterinarian.

Be prepared

Have your pet’s medical records, the contact information for your veterinarian and the location of the nearest pet clinic readily available in case of an emergency.

Keep a crate, leash, muzzle and blanket handy in the event you need to leave in a hurry.

With these tips, you’ll ensure your four-legged family members are safe, healthy and happy.

Keep your pets safe

Have peace of mind with pet insurance from CAA’s partner, Pets Plus Us. The proper coverage may help with the cost of veterinary care and medical expenses for your dog or cat, including medications, emergency care and even surgery. CAA Members enjoy exclusive discounts on pet insurance policies. To get a quote today, visit caasco.com/insurance/pet.

Image credit: Irina Orlova/iStock

Terms & Conditions

CAA Members receive a preferred rate of 12 percent off. Non-members receive a preferred rate of seven percent off. The information herein is summarized. The actual policy issued Terms and Conditions will prevail. All Pet Insurance plans have limitations and exclusions. Specific products, features, rates, and discounts may vary by province, eligibility, and are subject to change.

©2022 All rights reserved. Pets Plus Us Pet Insurance policies are underwritten by Northbridge General Insurance Corporation, distributed by PTZ Insurance Services Ltd. and Société d'Assurances Collectives (Sodaco) Inc. in Quebec. Pets Plus Us Pet Insurance is available in all provinces and territories.
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