Nearly 2,000 pets were poisoned in 2017, according to the American Society for the Protection of Animals (ASPCA). Since March is Pet Poison Prevention Month, we want to do our part to help you keep your pets safe from things that could make them sick.

Animals can react even to substances that people don’t think of as problematic. Plants, human foods, medications (human and pet), and substances used to help household plants thrive – these can all be problematic.

Do you know what the biggest risks are?

Potential Poisoning Inducers

  • Plants: Easter lilies are popular this time of year, but its best to keep them away from your pets. These and other plants can cause kidney failure and other issues for cats and dogs.  The ASPCA has a list of plants that may be problematic, whether they’re known to be toxic to animals or not.
  • Chemicals used indoors and out: Cleaning supplies and fertilizers for gardens can cause real issues. This category of substances can cause mild discomfort, but some items can burn an animal’s insides (like their throats or stomachs) or cause other intestinal issues. It’s important to keep items like bleach, cleansers, rat and mouse poisons, fertilizers and plant foods away from inquisitive pets to keep them safe.
  • Human foods: Chocolate is delicious to us humans, but it can be fatal for pets, because of the therobromine it contains. Theobromine is a xanthine alkaloid that is dangerous for both dogs and cats because their bodies metabolize the chocolate much more slowly than humans do.
    • Coffee is another human indulgence that cats and dogs should really stay away from. The caffeine in this beverage can cause mild issues – like restlessness, but it can also cause life-threatening issues like seizures, or abnormal heart rhythms.
    • Onions and garlic make our foods tasty, but they can cause anemia and damage to red blood cells in dogs and cats.

Signs of poisoning in dogs and cats

The symptoms of poisoning in dogs or cats may vary, depending on the substance they’ve ingested or been exposed to.  The Pet Poison Help Line explains that there are a variety of things to look for, depending on the part of the body affected.

Some substances cause internal bleeding, liver or kidney failure; others cause gastrointestinal issues. Each of these issues may manifest differently, and there are substances that might be okay for one animal, but not another (there’s a reason you can’t give dog flea treatments to cats, for example).

  • An animal who has gotten into a substance that damages the stomach may vomit, have diarrhea, lose their appetite. They may also drool uncontrollably.
  • A pet with internal bleeding might appear to have pale gums, cough or vomit blood, or may have weakness, even collapse.
  • Liver failure, a problem associated with a variety of poisonous substances may show also with vomiting, diarrhea, or weakness (thanks to low blood sugar issues).
  • Kidney failure symptoms include excessive thirst or urination, or on the flip side, decreased urination, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Many of these issues have similar symptoms; these symptoms may be related to other conditions as well. That’s why it is so vitally important that you seek veterinary treatment quickly if you believe that your dog or cat has gotten into something they shouldn’t have, and might have a poisoning issue.

Poison Control Resources to Keep Handy

In addition to your veterinarian’s information, it might be a good idea to keep pet poison control information on hand. Here are a few great resources.

ASPCA Animal Poison ControlThere may be a $65 charge associated with a consultation.


Pet Poison Help LineThere may also be a charge for this consultation.


Pets and Pesticides
National Pesticide Information Center


At Presidential Pet Care®, our trained pet sitters and walkers know to stay vigilant about potential issues inside and outside. We make sure that your pets stay out of household cleaners, plants and items that could prove dangerous.  Not only do we provide force-free pet care, but we ensure your pets have a little fun while we’re with them. To get started with Presidential Pet Care®, fill out our new client registration form.