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10 Common Household Poisons for Pets

We use a wide variety of items to maintain our homes and our yards. Many of these seemingly benign items can actually be harmful to our pets. Here's a list of some of the most .

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  1. Human medication, such as aspirin or Tylenol, other painkillers, cold medicines, and diet pills, among others. Tubes of cream or ointments can also be harmful, plus they're easy to chew through. Store everything safely away from pets and clean up any spilled.

  2. Antifreeze is deadly to pets even in small amounts, and has a sweet taste that appeals to dogs and cats. Look for antifreeze that's marked as 'pet-safe' and contains propylene glycol instead of the deadly ethylene glycol. It's a safer alternative that won't harm pets if consumed in small amounts.

  3. Household cleaning products like oven cleaners, floor cleansers, furniture polish, etc.

  4. Rat and mouse poisons. Pets can be poisoned directly by ingesting rodent poisons, or by consuming a rodent that has been poisoned. Rodents who have been poisoned on neighboring properties could even be found in your yard. If you need a way to control rodents without using poisons, there are methods that are safer for households with pets.

  5. Garden and yard supplies like weed killers, insecticides, slug bait, fertilizers, plant food, and cocoa mulch are all toxic to pets.

  6. Rubber bands, string, dental floss, tinsel, or similar items. These are easily swallowed and can cause an intestinal obstruction or other medical issues.

  7. Food, including what's tossed in the garbage. Foods that are dangerous to pets include cooked bones (which can splinter), chocolate, macadamia nuts, yeast dough, moldy food and more. Here's another list of dangerous foods for pets.

    If your pet has a tendency to rummage through the trash, place your garbage can in a secure cabinet or purchase one that cannot easily be opened by an excited snout or paw.

  8. Salt and de-icers are commonly used to melt snow and ice. These can be irritating to paws (sometimes downright painful, even), and toxic if the pet licks the substance off. Use a damp towel to wipe off paws immediately after coming inside.

  9. Bits and pieces from toys or decorations. Holiday decorations are good examples, as are ribbons, plastic eyes or noses from toys.

  10. Plants, both indoor and outdoor. This includes common plants like lilies, philodendrons, rhododendrons, and popular holiday plants like poinsettia, holly, and mistletoe. Here's one list of poisonous plants for pets.

Although it's not possible to protect our pets from all common household poisons, it's up to us to know our pets well enough to recognize when they're not feeling well. Consult a veterinarian immediately if you suspect your pet has ingested something poisonous. Be prepared to provide as much information as you can, such as what type of poison it was (and bring a sample with you, if you can), how much your pet consumed, and when it happened. Post a note somewhere easily accessible with the name and number of an emergency vet clinic just in case a medical issue should occur after-hours.