Poisons and Toxins for Pets

Many everyday household and garden products can be toxic to cats and dogs. Below are some common items that can pose serious risks to your pets. Let's keep our homes safe for everyone!

Human Medications

Never give your pet human medication without consulting your vet. Some human drugs can cause severe complications in animals. For example, cats are extremely sensitive to paracetamol (Panadol) and can be poisoned by doses safe for humans.

  • NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs): Medications like Ibuprofen (Nurofen) and Naproxen, commonly used for pain relief, are toxic to dogs. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, gastric ulcers, and kidney failure. Contact your vet immediately if you suspect your dog has ingested NSAIDs.
  • Paracetamol: Known as acetaminophen and commonly sold as Panadol, this painkiller is very dangerous for pets, especially cats. Signs of toxicity include brown gums, difficulty breathing, blood in urine, and swelling. Even small amounts can be deadly.

Household Poisons

  • Anticoagulant Rodenticides: Products like Warfarin (Rat Blitz) and Brodifacoum (Talon, Ratsak) used to control rodent infestations can cause bruising and uncontrolled bleeding in pets. Effects may not be seen for several days, so prompt veterinary attention is crucial.
  • Metaldehyde: Found in snail and slug bait, these blue or green pellets are highly toxic to dogs, causing convulsions and requiring hospitalisation.

Common Toxic Foods

  • Chocolate: Contains theobromine, which pets cannot metabolise effectively. Symptoms of toxicity include hyperactivity, tremors, convulsions, and heart problems. Dark chocolate is the most toxic, followed by milk chocolate, then white chocolate.
  • Grapes, Raisins, Currants, and Sultanas: These can cause kidney failure in dogs. The toxic dose is variable, so any ingestion should be treated seriously.
    Onions and Garlic: Contain thiosulphate, which can cause red blood cells to rupture, leading to anaemia. Avoid feeding these foods to your pets.
    Toxic Plants
  • Lilies: Extremely toxic to cats, causing kidney failure if ingested. Even small amounts can be fatal. Symptoms include vomiting, drooling, loss of appetite, and increased urination followed by lack of urination.

What to Do If Your Pet Shows Signs of Poisoning

  • Contact a veterinarian or poison control centre immediately and follow their instructions.
  • For petroleum products, cleaning solutions, strong acids, or alkalis, if ingested more than 3 hours ago, or if your pet is unconscious or having trouble breathing, get them to a vet as soon as possible.
  • Save a sample of vomitus in a ziplock bag for the vet to inspect.

Protecting Your Pets

  • Only give medications recommended by your vet and discuss any human medication with them first.
  • Store poisons (snail bait, rat bait) and chemicals in areas inaccessible to pets.
  • If your pet scavenges from the bin, store the bin in a secure location and dispose of medicines, chemicals, and food safely.

By taking these precautions, you can help ensure your home remains a safe environment for your pets.