Are These Ten Pet Toxins hiding in your home?

Thankfully, most owners these days are well informed on the danger of toxins such as dark chocolate or antifreeze…but want about the lesser-known toxins around your home?

Our short blog aims to raise awareness of some common household items you may not realise can pose a risk to your pet’s health. 

Ten Toxins you may have in paws reach right now

Asthma inhalers – if a dog chews an asthma inhaler they receive a huge dose of compressed albuterol directly into their airways. High blood pressure, seizures and electrolyte imbalance occur shortly after exposure. 

Any part of a Lily plant – Your cat eating just 1-2 petals or leaves, drinking water from the vase or even licking pollen from their coat could be enough to cause severe, acute kidney failure or even death. 

Household cleaners – many common household surface and bathroom cleaners are toxic to our pets. This is especially common for cats walking across wiped surfaces and licking residue from their paws or dogs drinking from cleaning buckets or directly from the toilet bowl. Symptoms may include profuse drooling or vomiting, difficulty breathing, ulceration to the mouth and gastrointestinal tract, and even organ damage.

Compost – rotting compost can include toxin rich fungi. Ingestion can cause severe vomiting, seizures, and liver damage.

Xylitol – E967 sweetener, causes a dangerous drop in blood sugar and potential liver failure. Found in sweets, gum and peanut butter. 

Spot on Flea Treatments – Dog-specific flea treatments often contain pyrethroids, such as permethrin. These are highly toxic to cats. Poisoning often happens when a cat licks a spot-on treatment applied to the fur of a doggie housemate. Or, pet owners accidentally apply dog products directly to their cats.  Tremors, extreme drooling, and life-threatening seizures can occur. Unfortunately with often fatal consequences.

Liquid Potpourri – our pets can be attracted by unusual scents, but can ingest a toxic amount in a couple of licks. 

Hand warmers – Hand warmer packets often contain iron and ingestion can result in vomiting, ulceration, shock, and liver damage. 

Glow sticks and jewellery – these often contain dibutyl phthalate. Although bitter tasting, even a small quantity can cause your pet to drool profusely.

Human anti-depressants – It has been reported that cats are attracted to the smell of some common anti-depressants. If ingested these can cause lethargy, tremors, seizures, vomiting, diarrhoea, and hyperthermia.

What are the signs my pet may have been poisoned?

Depending on the type of toxin, the early signs and symptoms of poisoning can vary greatly. However, warning signs may include: 

  • Ingested toxins –  drooling, mouth ulcers, vomiting, diarrhoea, tremors, seizures and heart issues.
  • Inhalation of a toxin – breathing difficulties, sneezing, coughing or loss of consciousness.
  • Skin contact -irritation, burns, ulcers and pain.

Other obvious clues can be disturbed or chewed packaging or witnessing your show interest in the toxic substance. 

If in any doubt contact your veterinarian immediately 


What should I do if I think my pet has eaten something toxic?

If you think your pet may have ingested a toxin remember, SPEED:

  • Stop the pet from eating any more suspected poison.
  • Phone the vets.
  • Emergency appointment.
  • Evidence – bring labels/samples/vomit.
  • Don’t delay.

The Animal Poison Line is an advice line run by the Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS) and is the only 24-hour specialised emergency telephone service in the UK dedicated to helping pet owners who are worried their pet may have been exposed to something harmful or poisonous. They can be contacted 24/7 on 01202 509 000 there is a fee payable at the time of the call, for more details click the link. 

Join our tribe of Petstoreo pet health heroes and share our latest poison awareness blog with your pet-loving friends! A share could be a life saved.

Remember to check out our blog library via this link for lots of advice on caring for your Happy, Healthy Pets!