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Common Toxins in the Household

Dog in kitchen of carlisle pa home

Onions – This vegetable can cause loss of red blood cells if ingested by dogs. The clinical signs may include an increased heart rate, vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, increased respiratory rate and sometimes kidney failure.

Grapes (Raisins) – This fruit in volume can cause increased thirst, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite and kidney failure.

Antifreeze – This is a very deadly chemical to pets. It often smells sweet which is very attractive to pets. Shortly after ingestion, dogs may present vomiting, wobbly, lethargic and urinate frequently. This is an urgent medical matter and owners should seek a veterinarian immediately!

Sugar free foods (Xylitol) – This substance is a sugar alcohol that is used as a sugar substitute in many food products like sugar free gum and mints or sugar free candy. It can cause a quick drop in a dog’s blood sugar and they will sometimes show signs of a seizure or liver failure.

Chocolate (dark or baking chocolate and semi- sweet) – Ingestion of chocolate is very dose dependent. The smallest amount of dark baker’s chocolate can make a dog very sick. In general, the darker the chocolate the more harmful it is to a pet. The symptoms may include panting, hyperactivity, racing heart rate, increased thirst and restlessness.

Rodenticides – These can contain one or both chemicals called Bromethalin and Brodifacoum that cause pets to internally bleed. It is important to keep the packaging to show your veterinarian or contact poison control. If a pet ingests some type of rat or mouse bait, it is an emergency and owners should contact a veterinarian immediately.

Batteries – Ingestion or the chewing of batteries can cause severe ulcers in the mouth of a dog as well as it’s gastrointestinal tract.

Flower bulbs – If a pet likes to help you gardening, be aware that flower bulbs are toxic to dogs and cats. The most toxic bulbs are Daffodils, Tulips, Hyacinths, Irises, Amaryllis and Lilly of the Valley. If ingested, they cause gastrointestinal distress like vomiting, diarrhea, drooling and sometimes death.

Acetaminophen – This human anti-inflammatory is toxic to causes an increased respiratory rate, fast heart rate, panting, drooling, pain and lethargy.

Ibuprofen – Unfortunately, this NSAID is recycled by the intestines in the canine and can continue to cause problems after just one ingestion. Stomach ulcers, liver failure and pale gums are some of the more common side effects seen with Ibuprofen ingestion.

If you think your pet has ingested something toxic, please call Animal Poison Control at



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