Five Common Pet Poisons

March is pet poison awareness month and there are several common household items that can be very toxic to our pets if they are accidentally ingested. In this article, we will look at five of the most common household items that are toxic to our pets.

If you are concerned that your pet has eaten or drunk something they shouldn't have, you can phone the Australian Animal Poisons Helpline on 1300 869 738. If you know you pet has consumed something they shouldn't have, you should take them immediately to your vet.


A beautiful Schnauzer dog is lying on the carpet in front of a staircase

1. Xylitol

Xylitol is an artificial sweetener and can be found in sugar-free products like lollies, chewing gum, supplements, medications and some dental products. If ingested by a dog or cat it can cause life-threatening liver failure as it dramatically lowers your pets blood sugar levels causing their body to release extra insulin.

Initial symptoms of xylitol poisoning including vomiting, lethargy and a loss of coordination.


A beautiful grey cat with bright green eyes is lounging about

2. Insect Sprays

Bug and insect sprays are great at getting rid of those nasty pests in the home, but certain sprays contain an ingredient called pyrethrin (also called permethrin or pyrethroids) which is very toxic to cats. Pyrethrin can also be found in some flea products. Even in small doses it can cause a fatal reaction in cats so make sure you are reading product labels closely before using bug or flea products around cats.

Symptoms of pyrethrin poisoning in cats includes drooling, tremors, restlessness and convulsions.


A sweet tan dog with brown eyes is sitting on concrete and looking up into the camera

3. Plants

Many people know that lilies are highly toxic to dogs and cats, but did you know that the following plants are also dangerous?

Aloe Vera Amaryllis (also known as Belladonna lily, Saint Joseph lily, Cape Belladonna, Naked Lady) Autumn Crocus (also known as meadow saffron, storm lily - is a member of the lily family) Azaleas Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae)
Chamomile Chrysanthemums (including daisies) Cycads (all varieties including Sago Palms, Zamia Fern, Burragwang fern, Johnsons Cycad, MacDonnell Ranges Cycad, Moore's Cycad and the Zamia Palm) Cyclamen (also known as Persian violet or Sowbread) Daffodils
Dieffenbachia (also known as Dumb Cane) Elephant Ears (Colocasia esculenta also known as Taro) Eucalyptus Gardenias Geraniums
Ivy (including Common Ivy, English Ivy or European Ivy) Kalanchoe (also known as Mother-In-Law-Plant, Devils Backbone, Chandelier Plant, Mother of Millions) Lavender Oleander (all varieties) Philodendrons (Fiddle Leaf)
Pothos plants (including Devil's Ivy, Money Plant, Silver Vine) Rhododendrons Rubber Tree (also known as Rubber Fig) Schefflera (including umbrella tree and dwarf umbrella tree) Silver Dollar (also known as Silver Jade Plant, Chinese Jade)
Tulips Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow (also known as Morning-Noon-and-Night, Kiss-Me-Quick, Lady-of-the-Night, Fransiscan Rain Tree, Brunfelsia) Yew trees and shrubs Yucca AND MANY MORE


Symptoms of poisoning from flowers, plants or trees will depend on the type that has been ingested but may include symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, convulsions or tremors.


A grey tabby cat is lying in bright green grass

4. Medication

Several medicines that are safe for human use and that we may take on a regular basis can be incredibly dangerous and even fatal if given to our pets. You should never give your pet any medication that has not been recommended by a veterinarian. Always stick to the prescribed dose for any medicine that has been suggested by a veterinarian as pets can overdose too.

Medicines that are particularly dangerous to pets include:

  • Paracetamol/Acetaminophen (including brands such as Panadol, Herron Gold and Panamax)
  • Ibuprofen, Naproxen, Aspirin, Diclofenac (including brands such as Nurofen, Advil, Aspro Clear, Naprogesic and Voltaren tablets and gel)
  • Anti-depressant medications
  • Blood pressure or heart medications
  • Birth control tablets
  • Cholesterol lowering medications
  • Medications to treat ADD/ADHD
  • Sleeping tablets
  • Herbal supplements

Symptoms of poisoning from medications not intended for pets or an overdose can also vary widely. If you suspect your pet has taken a medicine they are not supposed to or been given too much medicine, take them immediately to your vet.


A black and tan dog in a harness is carrying a large stick in their mouth

5. Food and Drink

Just like with medications, there are several foods and drinks that we are able to enjoy but would be incredibly harmful for our pets to consume. There are many more foods and drinks that are not on this list that are not suitable for our pets, so if in doubt, just stick to pet food and water.

  • Chocolate
  • Alcohol
  • Avocados
  • Tomatoes
  • Coffee
  • Grapes, raisins, sultanas, currants
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Onions, garlic, chives


A young looking ginger cat is sitting on a stripy blanket


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