10 Common Household Items that are Harmful to Your Pet

Most pet owners can name a few things that are widely known to be toxic to pets, such as pesticides, chocolate, and antifreeze. We often hear about other common things that are said to be toxic to dogs and/or cats, even if they don’t come with poison warning labels. Certain foods, plants, and other items found around the house can be toxic to animals. Some of them might surprise you! Here’s a list of things to watch out for that you probably have around the house right now.

  1. Fabric softener sheets. These contain ingredients called cationics that can cause gastrointestinal irritation, particularly in cats. They are especially harmful before they are run through the dryer.
  2. Avocados. This popular food contains a toxin called persin. Avocados may cause stomach upset in dogs and cats, but the real danger is to birds and rabbits, where ingesting avocado could lead to organ failure and even death.

  1. Grapes and raisins. Grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs. They can cause kidney failure if eaten in large amounts, so never share this healthy (for us) snack with your dog.

  1. Pennies. Did you know that pennies minted after 1982 have a very high zinc content that is toxic to pets? Zinc can cause damage to your pet’s kidneys, liver, red blood cells, and gastrointestinal system, so keep those loose coins away from your pet.

  1. Garlic. Garlic is dangerous to dogs and especially cats. It affects the red blood cells, compromising their capacity to carry oxygen throughout the body.
  2. Spices. Certain spices can have toxic effects on pets. Mace and nutmeg can harm the gastrointestinal and nervous systems. Paprika and turmeric contain irritants that could harm your pet’s skin, stomach, and mucus membranes.
  3. Eucalyptus. Keep dried flower arrangements containing eucalyptus away from pets. It contains an essential oil called eucalyptol that can cause stomach upset and harm the nervous system.

  1. Sugar free gum. Gum, candy, and other sugar-free products that contain xylitol are toxic to dogs. Xylitol rapidly releases insulin in dogs and will cause a sudden onset of severe symptoms such as vomiting, bleeding, and seizures. Liver failure can occur in extreme cases.

  1. Lilies. All types of lilies are extremely toxic to cats. A cat that eats any part of a lily plant—even pollen--could die from kidney failure within 36-72 hours.
  2. Mulch. Garden mulch made from certain trees can contain essential oils and resins that could be harmful to your dog if he eats it. Cocoa bean shell mulch is attractive to dogs, and can cause similar symptoms to chocolate poisoning if eaten in large quantities.



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  • Aaron Seminoff
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