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Hidden Dangers: Toxic Items in Your Home

Whether you’re a pro puppy parent or you’re adopting your first kitten, you may be surprised to learn about some of these everyday items you have in your home that are actually toxic to your furry friend.

“Human Food”

During the process of domestication, dogs realized that a big part of bonding with their human companions required making eye contact. Nowadays, this behavior can present itself as persistent “begging,” a.k.a. sitting and staring at you with longing, hungry eyes that plead, “feed me!” Before you decide, “a small piece can’t hurt,” take the time to make sure it’s actually safe for pet consumption. “Human Food” makes up 13% of Animal Poison Control Center’s total cases in 2020. APCC handles almost 76 cases per day of chocolate exposure alone. Many of these pet-toxic foods are dangerous for both cats and dogs to consume, but you should research based on your pet’s species to be sure.  Here are some of the major culprits:

  • Chocolate
  • Coffee grounds
  • Tea
  • Avocado
  • Alcohol
  • Yeast dough
  • Grapes/raisins
  • Salt
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Any products containing xylitol (an artificial sweetener)

Even if you don’t intentionally share your food, your pet might have sniffed out some crumbs or snatched up some droppings. Here are some tips to help avoid this:

  • Store your human food out of reach from your pets. Use air tight containers, cabinets, etc.
  • Especially if you’re a bit of a messy cook, take steps to prevent or deter your pet from invading the kitchen while you’re working. For dog owners, this might be as simple as investing in a pet gate to partition the space. For cat owners, you can try applying sticky tape to the edge of your counter as a quick fix, and clicker training for the long run.
  • Wipe down kitchen and dining surfaces often. Make sure to let the surfaces dry completely before letting your pet roam free again, as many cleaning products are also toxic to pets!


Over the counter medication ranks as the most common culprit for pet poison cases, making up about 17% of Animal Poison Control Center’s total case volume. This category includes medication such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, cold and flu medicine, vitamins, supplements and joint rubs. Prescription medications, such as antidepressants, anticonvulsants and cardiac medications, are the second most common culprit. It’s extremely important to make sure your medications are tightly sealed and stored out of reach. Do not give any medications to your pets unless instructed to do so by your veterinarian.


Plants and flowers are a fabulous way to liven up your decor and step up your gardening game, but make sure you verify if they are pet friendly before buying! The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has a handy list of toxic and non-toxic plants. If you already have plants that are toxic to your pet, keep them out of reach and make sure to wash your hands between handling your plant and touching your pet to avoid contaminating their fur, as they may ingest toxins while grooming. Here are some common ones to avoid:

  • Aloe Vera
  • Dieffenbachia a.k.a. Dumb Cane
  • Hedera helix a.k.a. English Ivy
  • Colocasia a.k.a. Elephant Ear
  • Ficus
  • Aglaonema a.k.a. Chinese Evergreen
  • Schefflera a.k.a. Umbrella Plant
  • Crassula argentea a.k.a. Jade Plant
  • Spathiphyllum a.k.a. Peace Lily
  • Philodendron
  • Bonsai Plants
  • Dracaena a.k.a. Snake Plant

Take note of the scientific name as well as the colloquial name as you conduct your research. If you suspect that your pet has ingested any part of a toxic plant, take a picture of the plant to show to your veterinarian.

Chemical Products

It may be a little more obvious to you that products like soaps, insecticides, rodenticides, antifreeze, and herbicides are not intended for ingesting, but your furbaby doesn’t know any better! Take steps to keep these out of reach as well.

Veterinary Products

Chewable medications, are safe so long as they are consumed at the correct dosage. The danger here is that because they are disguised as treats, your pet may be a little too eager to have more. Make sure you read the instructions and that the storage for these items is pet proof.

If you suspect that your pet has ingested a toxic substance, don’t wait to take action. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center 1-888-426-4435, and be ready to provide as much information as possible about your pet and the substance they may have ingested.

Petsmile is committed to improving your pet’s health and overall quality of life. Petsmile only uses human grade quality ingredients for our products. Petsmile products are free of any known allergens, or any animal by-products. Try our products risk free today.


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