Pet Poison Awareness

The third full week of March is designated as Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Week. Knowing if any potential harmful poisons exist in your home and yard is the first step to keeping your pet safe all year long.

Our pets are notorious for being curious creatures who often “investigate” with their mouths. Pets can become very ill after ingesting a poisonous household food, product or plant-even if it’s just a small amount. It’s important to inspect your home and yard regularly for anything that could be poisonous to your pet. Keep bottles that contain medication or chemicals behind closed doors and throw away any empty bottles. 

Prevent Pet Poisoning in Your Home

  • People Food – Chocolate, alcohol, caffeine, onions/garlic/chives, raisins, grapes and Xylitol (sugar-free gum & more) can all be toxic to pets.
  • Medications – Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and Ibuprofen (Advil) are common medications found in nearly every household medicine cabinet, but they can cause big problems for pets. Keep human and pet medication separate and don’t give your pets anything meant for humans without consulting with your veterinarian first. It’s also very important that you don’t share medication between pets. Avoid giving your cat flea and tick medication meant for dogs as the high levels of chemicals can be fatal to cats.
  • Flowers and Plants – Plants are a beautiful addition to any home, but some can be toxic and even deadly to pets, especially cats. Avoid popular plants such as Lilies, Cyclamen, Holly, Poinsettias and Sago Palms. Marijuana ingestion is toxic to your pets as well, so keep all supplies up and away from your pets.
  • Cleaning Supplies – While cleaning your home, keep your pets away from wet floors until they dry. Just imagine if your pet walked on a freshly mopped floor with bleach and then proceeded to lick their paws. Stow all cleaning supplies and chemicals out of your pet’s reach and ventilate your home when cleaning.

Prevent Pet Poisoning in Your Yard

  • Fertilizers – Fertilizers help your garden and plants grow large and beautiful but that’s because they contain varying amounts of chemicals (nitrogen, phosphorous) pesticides and fungicides. All of which, when ingested, can be toxic to your pet.
  • Rat and Mouse Poison – Treating your home to rid yourself of pests can be deadly to your pet. Many of the baits on the market now look like treats and smell sweet, confusing your pet and leading to accidental ingestion. Keep rat and mouse poisonous baits away from your pet and behind closed doors.

Signs of Pet Toxicity

Some poisons act fast, so it’s important to contact your veterinarian right away if you feel your pet ingested something potentially toxic.

Pet poisoning can be subtle and may not even show up for several days after your pet first ingests the item.

Some symptoms your pet may experience include:

Excessive drooling

Pawing at the mouth

Pale or gray gums

Vomiting and Diarrhea

Difficulty breathing

Racing heartbeat

Sudden weakness/collapse

Excessive thirst or urination

Muscle tremors

Ataxia (Drunkenness, Loss of Coordination)



If you witness or suspect your pet has ingested any of these items or any other questionable substance, call us at (210) 650-3141 to speak with one of our trained staff members or call the Pet Poison Helpline for assistance. When you bring your pet in for immediate veterinary care, bring the packaging with you as this can be helpful for the veterinarian in treating your pet.


Animal Poison Control

Pet Poison Helpline