Veterinarian - San Diego
1540 Morena Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92110



By Heather Beeson of Morena Pet Hospital
April 16, 2012
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: Untagged


It may surprise you just how many substances found in and near your home can be detrimental to your pet’s health and safety.  If you suspect that your pet has ingested any of the following, early and aggressive treatment is recommended and you should have him/her evaluated by a veterinarian immediately.

Common toxins in the kitchen/bathrooms

  • Trash

-If you are a coffee drinker, be mindful where you toss those coffee grinds containing caffeine, which can cause increased heart rate, hyperactivity, shaking, or seizures in pets.  Also, be sure to keep any female hygiene products away from pets.  Pets have the tendency to ingest such toiletries and often require surgery to remove the obstruction.

  • Foods

-Some common toxicity cases seen in our hospital include the ingestion of grapes and raisins, chocolate, onions, and garlic.  Other potentially harmful foods include yeast dough, avocado, alcoholic beverages, tea, macadamia nuts, salt, fatty table scraps, and those foods containing the sweetener xylitol.  Some common symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive thirst.  These hazardous foods can cause acute renal failure and possibly death.

  • Painkillers & Medications

-Many human medications can be deadly to pets (even in small doses!).  Never give your pet medication of any kind unless directed to do so by your veterinarian!  Some common medications that are potentially lethal to pets include pain relievers (e.g. Advil, Tylenol), cold medicines, anti-depressants (e.g. Zoloft, Cymbalta, Effexor), sleep aids (e.g. Klonopin, Ambien, Lunesta), muscle relaxants, heart medications, anti-cancer drugs, vitamins, and diet pills.  Please keep any medications safely away from all pets.

  • Soaps, Detergents, & Cleansers

-Can cause upset stomach, drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea in pets.  Bleach can cause sever oral burns and irritation to the respiratory track.  Dryer sheets are another potential hazard that if ingested may require surgery to remove obstruction and prevent death.

  • Mothballs

-Can cause serious signs in pets such as vomiting, lethargy, seizures, anemia, and even death.

Some common garage/yard hazards to have your pets stay clear of include:

  • Antifreeze, gasoline, insecticides, fertilizers, rat poison, snail bait, paint, glues, & adhesives. 

-Many of these chemicals can sicken or kill pets.  Always be sure to follow label directions and keep pets away from area of application for the required length of time.

Warm Weather hazards

-While enjoying the fun in the sun with your pet, here are some common summertime hazards to be aware of to keep your pet healthy in the warmer weather: fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, insects, spiders, snakes, certain plants, fish hooks and bait. 

-Dogs can have severe reactions to insect bites this time of year.  If you notice any signs of swelling or hives, it is best to get him/her to your nearest veterinary clinic as soon as possible.  If left untreated, the inflammation can cause severe illness and respiratory distress. 

-Foxtails are also a serious hazard this time of year.  These are hard seed-bearing structures of grasses that have sharp points at one end, which can easily get imbedded in the fur, paws, ears, eyes, nostrils, and we have even seen cases with foxtails inside the mouth!  These pesky structures have the tendency to work themselves “in”, but never to work themselves “out”.  They can cause infection and if left untreated can sometimes prove fatal.

-Hyperthermia in dogs and cats is also a grave concern in the summertime heat.  For this reason, never leave your pet in a closed car on a hot day for any length of time.  Also, be careful when taking your dog out for long walks on very hot days, and ensure that they have access to shade and water.  For more information, refer to our article Heat Stroke in Dogs in ourpet care library.

To learn more about common household toxins and ways to prevent accidental poisonings, and also for a listing of toxic and non-toxic plants, and tips from veterinary specialists, please visit