March 1, 2024

Common Household Toxins

At Gulf Breeze Animal Hospital we get asked about common household toxins to dogs and cats. Here is a list of common household chemicals and medications that can be toxic to dogs and cats:

  1. Acetaminophen (Tylenol): Acetaminophen is highly toxic to cats and can cause severe damage to their red blood cells. It can also lead to liver failure and death. Even small doses can be lethal. Dogs are also sensitive to acetaminophen but can tolerate it in smaller amounts. Never give acetaminophen to pets without veterinary guidance.
  2. Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): Medications like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve) can cause gastrointestinal ulcers and kidney failure in both dogs and cats. For pets needing an NSAID, there are safer options that can be prescribed for pets.
  3. Antidepressants: Some antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), can cause neurological and gastrointestinal issues in pets. Ingestion of these medications can lead to symptoms like agitation, tremors, seizures, and coma.
  4. Benzodiazepines: Drugs like alprazolam (Xanax) and lorazepam (Ativan), commonly used to treat anxiety in humans, can cause lethargy, sedation, and loss of coordination in pets. In severe cases, they may experience respiratory depression.
  5. Household Cleaners: Many household cleaners contain chemicals such as bleach, ammonia, and phenols, which can cause irritation to a pet’s skin, eyes, and respiratory tract. Ingestion can lead to gastrointestinal upset, chemical burns, or poisoning. Keep cleaners securely stored away from pets and use pet-safe alternatives whenever possible.
  6. Rodenticides: Rat and mouse poisons often contain anticoagulants, which cause uncontrolled bleeding in pets if ingested. Some rodenticides may also contain other toxic substances that can cause neurologic issues. Use pet-safe methods for rodent control and be cautious when using any rodenticides.
  7. Antifreeze: Ethylene glycol, found in antifreeze, has a sweet taste that can attract pets, especially cats. Ingestion of even small amounts can lead to acute kidney failure and death. Keep antifreeze tightly sealed and clean up any spills immediately.
  8. Essential Oils: While some essential oils can be safe for pets when used properly, others can be toxic, especially if ingested or applied in high concentrations. Tea tree oil, for example, can cause tremors, ataxia, and even coma in pets. Always dilute essential oils appropriately and keep them out of reach of pets.
  9. Fertilizers and Pesticides: Chemicals used in fertilizers and pesticides can be toxic to pets if ingested or absorbed through the skin. Keep pets away from treated areas and follow label instructions carefully. Consider using pet-safe alternatives for lawn and garden care.
  10. Tobacco Products: Nicotine, found in cigarettes, e-cigarettes, nicotine gum, and patches, can be toxic to pets if ingested. Ingestion can cause vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, seizures, and even death. Keep tobacco products and nicotine replacements securely stored away from pets.

It’s crucial to keep these substances securely stored out of reach of pets and to seek immediate veterinary attention if ingestion occurs. If you suspect your pet has been exposed to a toxic substance, contact Gulf Breeze Animal Hospital or ASPCA poison control hotline immediately for guidance.

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