top of page
  • Jamie F., CVT

Common Household Pet Toxins

We’ve all been home a lot more lately, and many of us have added a furry roommate. Pets can make a house a home, but they’re unfortunately prone to accidental poisonings. Did you know which everyday household products are toxic to pets? Taking a few extra steps to be sure can prevent your pets from mistaking something toxic for a treat.

Common Toxins

Make sure you’re familiar with the following list of products, all of which can pose a major threat to your pet’s health.

Human medications.

Anyone who has struggled with a child-proof medicine bottle might be surprised that pets can get into our medications. Unfortunately, plastic isn’t always a match for our dogs’ super strong teeth. If your dog chews their way into pain relievers, blood pressure medications, or antidepressants, the effects can be devastating — especially for smaller dogs. Make sure your medication is safely stored far away from your pet. Don’t place your pills anywhere besides a closed medicine cabinet.

Xylitol (Fake sweetener).

This no-calorie sweetener is an extremely common ingredient, especially in sugar-free treats like gum and mints. It’s also found in vitamins and toothpaste, as well as some deodorants. If a few sticks of gum fall out of your purse and onto the floor, your pet might want to investigate. Unfortunately, xylitol causes an insulin spike in dogs, which can lead to kidney problems.

Toxic insecticides.

Many of the products we use to keep our homes pest-free are toxic to animals. Make sure to not put rodent bait, slug or snail bait, or insecticide anywhere your pets can access. (There are non-toxic products like diatomaceous earth that can kill insects and pose no threat to your pet.)

Flowers and Plants.

Even an innocent-looking potted plant can be lethal. Certain species of lilies are extremely toxic to cats — even just one lick can lead to kidney damage. Hydrangeas, daffodils, and poinsettias are also on the danger list. Lapping up the water that pools around a potted plant can also deliver a toxic dose of chemicals. Even eating non-toxic plants can lead to serious stomach problems. Before you bring a potted plant home, make sure to review this ASPCA list or this video about of pet-safe plants.


Sharing is caring, but keep your box of truffles to yourself! As much as your dog thinks they want a bite, chocolate can cause them serious GI issues. The caffeine can also lead to hyperactivity, abnormal heart rates, and heart arrhythmias. Dogs who are especially sensitive may even suffer neurologic side effects, like seizures. Adding to the dangers, many chocolates contain xylitol.


The pungent smell of fertilizer really gets your dog’s attention. Unfortunately, commercial fertilizers often include poisonous fungicides and pesticides. In some cases, these poisonings can be fatal. Symptoms of fertilizer ingestion include vomiting and breathing problems — be sure to call your vet right away for emergency treatment if you notice any of these symptoms. In addition to the GI issues, fertilizers can burn your dog’s skin and eyes.

What If I NEED Something That’s Toxic to Pets?

Often, keeping your pet safe is as simple as putting toxic substances somewhere they can’t reach. Some of these — like fertilizers and pest control products — are essential for maintaining your home and lawn, so do your best to keep your pet away while they’re in use. Monitor your pet for any symptoms of illness in the following days. (Of course, you know that if they’re too quiet, they’ve probably gotten into something.)

Don’t wait and wonder if you think your pet may have consumed something toxic. A vet is only a phone call away. Our home is our sanctuary. With a little research and organization, we can make sure our pets feel as safe and as comfortable at home as we do.


bottom of page