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Are you poisoning your pet, Vet Student?

Posted by Cari Wise on Mar 24, 2016 8:00:00 AM


Vet Student.  Are you poisoning your pet?  Let's make sure to stay away from these common household items.


Toxicity associated with Avocado appears to be isolated to Goats, Cattle, Horses and Birds.  Ingestion by dogs and cats may cause gastrointestinal upset, but is typically not life threatening.

Chocolate, Coffee

The toxic potential for chocolate and coffee toxicity is relatively well known.  When panicked pet owners call in, it is important to determine the size of the pet (small to large) and the type of chocolate (milk or dark) as these are the key components of determining the true degree of danger.  Smaller animals will tolerate less chocolate before becoming ill, and dark chocolate is more toxic the milk chocolate due to its higher level of  methylxanthine.

Easter Daisy

Easter Daisies are not poisonous to cats and dogs.  However, Easter Lilies do cause kidney failure in cats and should be avoided.


Several years ago, a frenzy of fear spread regarding the toxic nature of Febreze odor eliminator.  In actuality, Febreze e is not toxic to animals when used as directed.  In other words, as long as pet owners are not applying it directly to pets, or allowing pets to ingest it, the risks are minimal to nonexistent.  Adverse reactions are typically allergic in nature, when they occur at all.

Grapes, Raisins

Many pet owners do not realize the danger of grapes and raisins.  Unfortunately, the mechanism of toxicity is not well understood.  However, in some animals, grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure.  Therefore, it is best to advise against both all together.


In addition to severe gastrointestinal bleeding, administration of ibuprofen to cats and dogs can also cause kidney failure.  Pets suspected of, or known to ingest ibuprofen should be seen and treated right away.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts and dogs are not a good combination.  Although ingestion rarely causes death in our canine friends, a variety of problems occur including vomiting, ataxia, tremors, hyperthermia and depression.  When it comes to Macadamia nuts and dogs, just say no!

Swiffer Wet Jet

Some time back the internet went wild with claims that ethylene glycol was among the ingredients in this cleaning product, and that it caused liver failure in dogs. Bottom line, not true. As with any cleaning agent, ingestion is never recommended.  However, when used to clean floors and other surfaces, the product is not toxic, even if they pets lick their feet afterwards (though it probably won’t taste very good!).

Sugar Free Gum

The danger of sugar free gum often catches pet owners off guard, Vet Student.  Unfortunately, the xylitol used as a sweetener in sugar-free products causes an insulin surge and subsequent hypoglycemic episode in our pets, which can lead to death.  Liver toxicity has also been reported.


Nicotine is highly toxic to many companion animals.  Therefore, veterinarians should be diligent to remind clients that not only cigarettes, but also nicotine patches, nicotine gum and nicotine liquids (like those used in e-cigarettes) all pose significant dangers to pets.

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Topics: Toxicity, Safety, Vet Student

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