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Things You May Not Have Known Were Poison To Your Pet

Our pets are our family members, so we always want them to feel happy and be safe. Most pet owners would not knowingly give their pet something that was going to make them sick. But many of us like to treat our pets, and some feed them from the table. The problem is that your pet's digestive system does not function in the same way as a human one does, and certain substances are poisonous to them.

To avoid putting your pet in danger of a medical situation, it is important to know some of the lesser-known foods, plants, and substances that could result in a sick and suffering pet. Here is a list of things to steer clear from allowing your pet to consume:

Onion and Garlic

Onions and garlic are highly flavorful additives to most meals, so they end up in many meals we might be preparing. But if you cook with either, make sure your dog gets absolutely none of the human-meant concoction. This spice may be a taste-enhancing factor for humans, but for a dog, it is a toxin that can cause hemolytic anemia, a disease that wreaks havoc on canine red blood cells. If consumed, your dog will succumb to a disease that darkens their urine, speeds up their heartbeat, causes vomiting, disorientation, and severe fatigue. So keep that flavor to the human members of your family.


We love our coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks, and hot chocolate. But all of these things contain caffeine, which is a highly effective poison for felines. Cats are hypersensitive to caffeine. If they have a lick or two, they will likely be fine, but if a cat gets into unused coffee beans, tears into tea bags, or rummages through coffee grounds, you should be very concerned. Think of the worst type of effect caffeine can have on humans, and multiply that exponential when dealing with cats. The symptoms will manifest as perpetual restlessness, rapid heart rate, hyperactivity, as well as a high temp and high blood pressure. It could even be as severe as leading to seizures and vomiting. Needless to say, if your cat ingested any caffeine, a trip to the vet for an examination is vital.


Avocados may be a superfood for humans, but they are loaded with persin, a literal poison to most animals. Persin is loaded into every part of an avocado, and while the exact amount of its ingestion that is enough to make a particular animal sick is unknown, what is known is that rodents, birds, and horses are especially sensitive to it. Persin can trigger vomiting and diarrhea in dogs as their body tries to purge the toxin out. Be mindful of your pets getting at your avocados if you use them in your home.


One of the favorite human vices is one that should never be available to pets for consumption. Chocolate has theobromine which many dogs cannot metabolize and break down its chemical composition. Theobromine can travel through a pregnant dog's placenta and affect a yet unborn puppy as well. The symptoms may not be immediate, often taking several hours to manifest. How much chocolate is consumed to have a symptom producing effect varies greatly based on the weight of the dog. It is important to note that cats are even more susceptible to being poisoned by chocolate, but the cases are rare since cats are generally picky eaters, while dogs are known for being too happy to consume almost anything.

Fried and Salty Foods

We could all use a little less fried food and salt in our diet, but dogs should certainly not have any. Going beyond being a choking hazard, salty foods can trigger sodium ion poisoning in dogs with fever, severe dehydration, vomiting, seizures, and kidney damage. Fried chicken and other fried foods can lead to the pancreas of a dog being inflamed and can put their lives in danger.


Xylitol is a sugar substitute often found in gum, breath mints, and toothpaste. It may help us have better breath, but it is severely toxic to dogs. For smaller dogs, it could be outright deadly. If a dog ingested even a little bit of minty gum or gulps up a breath mint, the xylitol can cause the blood sugar to plummet. The initial symptom of xylitol poisoning is vomiting, but can quickly develop into disorientation, fainting, weakness, and seizures.

Grapes and Raisins

Dogs are prone to severe health risks when ingesting raisins of grapes, mostly affecting a dog's kidneys and likely causing them to fail. The causes are not yet fully understood on a molecular level, but it is certainly best to keep your dogs clear of these two foods.


A powerful medication that helps open up human airways, especially in those affected by asthma. More commonly than you might imagine, a dog may try to eat an inhaler, and if that happens it will ingest a massive amount of concentrated albuterol which will result in severely high blood pressure, seizures, and problems retaining electrolytes, which will make hydration very challenging. If a dog has ingested any amount of albuterol, it is imperative to take a trip to the hospital to counteract its effects.


Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is a potent fever and pain reduced in humans, so it should help an animal in pain, right? Wrong! Cats in particular have a genetic deficiency that causes their livers not to be able to break down this medication’s makeup. This makes acetaminophen a powerful toxin for them, and also for dogs, however, it seems to affect dogs on a lesser scale. Ingesting enough of it, however, can cause liver damage and damage to red blood cells.


When it comes to powerful poisons, lilies might be at the top of the list for cats. The plant is, in its entirety, a feline toxin, even in very small doses. Severe vomiting can be the first symptom, and as the poison runs through their body, the cats will lose their appetite, stop urinating, become lethargic, and vehemently depressed. All of these are links to their kidneys shutting down. Lilies contain colchicine alkaloids which damage red blood cells and lead to organ failure in both cats and dogs, leading to death if left untreated. At best, lilies can cause damage to the intestines and lead to skin irritation.


While compost baking in the sun turns into something fantastic for your lawn, it also grows certain fungi that are toxic to animals. When you have compost on the property, it is wise to make sure it’s fenced in and not accessible to any of your furry family members.