Poisons in the home
Contact your vet immediately if your pet is ill or you think it has eaten something poisonous.
Chocolate: human chocolates contains theobromine, a chemical that can be fatal to pets. The darker the chocolate and the higher the cocoa content, the higher the risk. Keep out of reach any foods containing chocolate, such as cakes, sweets, cookies and cocoa powder.
Caffeine: in large quantities it can affect a pet’s heart. Keep tea bags and coffee out of reach of cats and dogs. Caffeine is also in many high energy drinks, chocolate and even human pain killers, so keep all these away from curious paws.
Grapes, Currants, Raisins and Sultanas: toxins in these fruits are potentially fatal to dogs. Make sure your pets don’t eat any food with these ingredients, e.g. cakes.
Onions, Garlic and Chives: they have chemicals called organosulphoxides, which can poison dogs and cats if enough is eaten and absorbed over a number of days.
Avocados: these can affect birds as they contain the chemical persin. Throw away the avocado stone as it can obstruct a pet’s intestines.
Macadamia Nuts and Peanuts: they can cause weakness and tremors. Macadamia butter can also affect pets. Peanuts can cause upset tummies and occasionally lead to fits. This might be due to the salt on the peanut.
Salt: salt, or sodium chloride, is extremely poisonous to pets. It’s common in human food and can also be found in dishwasher tablets and salts, bath salts, rock salt for de-icing roads and pavements, play dough and, of course, sea water.
Vitamin D: this vitamin is in supplement tablets, cod liver oil, human medicines and rat poisons. It’s also in skin creams and can be very poisonous as it affects a pet’s heart, liver and kidneys.
Alcohol: anything containing ethanol is extremely toxic to dogs and cats, so keep them safely away. Ethanol is in alcohol, antiseptic preparations, mouthwashes, perfumes, aftershaves, colognes and glues. Methylated spirit is 95% ethanol. Drinks like gin and vodka can contain between 20 to 60%.
Iron: If your dog eats anything rich in iron, it can be fatal. Iron is in human supplements and iron tablets and used to treat anaemia. Iron is also usually in lawn moss killers and lawn ‘feed and weed’.
Antifreeze: this is very poisonous to pets. It can be very tempting, especially for cats as it has a sweet taste. It’s in screen washes, brake fluids and inks – so wipe up any spills when topping your car up in the cold winter months.
Rat and mouse poisons: as you’d imagine, many of these are highly poisonous to pets.
Human Painkillers: they can be poisonous to dogs and cats. Never give human medication to your pet. Always seek your vet’s advice if you suspect that your pet is ill or in pain.
Batteries: most batteries will contain strong acids or alkalis, plus significant amounts of metal. A pet’s breathing and swallowing can be severely affected if batteries are eaten. They will cause severe chemical burns to the mouth, throat and stomach.
Xylitol: is extremely harmful to dogs. It’s in sugar-free chewing gum, sweets – and increasingly used in medications and nicotine replacement chewing gums.