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Poison Prevention Awareness Month


March is Poison Prevention Awareness Month!

This month is dedicated to raising awareness about the different things that we may have in our homes that could be potentially poisonous to our beloved pets. It’s important to be aware that there are certain things we think are fine but could be potentially dangerous to our pets.

Human Medications

Both prescription and over-the-counter medications for people can be toxic to pets.
Below are some common prescription medications that are toxic to pets and their symptoms.
ADHD Medication– agitation, elevated heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and seizures in large doses.
Antidepressants– agitation, panting, rapid heart rate, vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, and seizures.
Heart medication– lowered blood pressure and eventually heart failure. May cause depression, not eating, vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures.
Thyroid medication– muscle tremors, nervousness, panting, rapid heart rate, and aggression.

Over the Counter Medications:
Below are some common over the counter medications that are toxic to pets and their symptoms.
Ibuprofen, naproxen, NSAIDs– vomiting, bloody stool, and lack of appetite. Can cause stomach ulcers and kidney failure.
Acetaminophen– panting, gum color changes, vomiting, and weakness. Can ultimately end with irreversible liver damage. Symptoms can occur within 24 hours after ingestion and maybe after only 1 or 2 tablets, depending on the size of your pet.
Phenylpropanolamine– abnormal heart rate, agitation, dilated pupils, high blood pressure, tremors, and seizures.

Insecticides & Rodenticides

Insecticides that contain active ingredients like carbamates, organophosphates, pyrethroids, pyrethins, and permethins can be toxic to dogs and cats. Cats are more sensitive to these. Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, convulsions, paralysis, and respiratory failure.
**Be cautious with flea and tick medications – some are perfectly safe for dogs but toxic to cats. Read labels carefully.
Snail and slug bait that contains metaldehyde can cause tremors, seizures, abnormal gait, and rapid heart beat.
A dog or cat can become poisoned if they eat a mouse or rat that has been poisoned by rodenticides.
Anticoagulant rodenticides– weakness, difficulty breathing, and pale gums. Symptoms appear after 3-7 days.
Bromethalin-based rodenticides– brain swelling, seizures, and paralysis of the hind end. Symptom typically appear within 8-12 hours. Often fatal.

Household Cleaners and Supplies

Household cleaners, like drain openers, oven cleaners, and disinfectants are the most common in this category. Depending on their concentration, these can cause chemical burns on paws, in the mouth, and stomach. Symptoms include drooling, vomiting, rubbing at the mouth, not wanting to eat. Cats may develop a swollen or protruding tongue.


Below are some common food items that are toxic to pets.
Chocolate causes more pet poisonings than any other food. Darker chocolates are more toxic than milk chocolate. Agitation, quickened heart, vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures can occur.
Xylitol is a low-calorie sugar substitute found in baked goods, breath mints, chewing gum, mouthwash, and toothpaste. It causes a rapid spike in insulin, which can cause blood sugar to drop dangerously low.
Grapes, raisins, and currants are toxic to kidneys. They cause vomiting and in dogs, kidney failure.
Onions, garlic, and chives can cause red blood cell damage. Causes disorientation, fatigue, listlessness, pale gums, rapid heartbeat, and can progress to darkened urine, jaundice, and vomiting.


Even some common plants can be toxic to pets.
Lilies are extremely toxic to cats. They result in vomiting, lethargy, decreased urine output, and kidney failure. In dogs it causes mild stomach upset.
Cycad palms are toxic to both cats and dogs. It can cause vomiting and liver failure within 2-3 days.
Common houseplants like dieffenbachia, peace lily, and philodendron contain insoluble calcium oxylates which are harmful when eaten. They have needlelike crystals that can shoot into gums and tongue. The plants cause mouth and facial swelling, difficulty breathing, and vomiting.

If you think your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, call


ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center
(888) 426-4435

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