This month, Fluffy and Fido are on the alert around the house!…

FIDO:Hi, Fluffy, what are you reading?

FLUFFY: Hey, Fido. Check it out! It’s a list of some of the things that can poison us if Mom and Dad aren’t careful.

FIDO: Poison us!?!? Yikes!

FLUFFY: Yes, I had no idea how many common household items are really toxic for us. But don’t worry, Fido, as long as Mom and Dad follow the tips in this article, we’ll be safe.

FIDO: Well, let’s make sure that other Moms and Dads know about this! It’s time to bring in Pearl and Meryl to help spread the word.

…And so they did! Here’s their Toxins Safety Checklist.

Read on for more!…

Look Around!

null Many episodes of pet poisoning can be prevented with just an extra moment of care. If you take medications, look around and make sure you haven’t dropped a pill or left a cough-syrup-covered-spoon within reach. Even just one stray aspirin can kill a cat.


If your animals have access to your car, don’t forget to check under it for leaks. We all know to keep antifreeze far away from our furry friends, but most of us forget to check underneath our cars. Antifreeze is just as toxic when they lick it up off the ground as it is when they get it out of the container. (And battery fluid’s no good for them, either!) And, one more thing – whenever you leave home, make sure your household cleaners, toiletries and detergents are securely tucked away.

Lock it up

Pet emergencies occur every day due to accidental ingestion of toxic substances of all kinds, ranging from over the counter and prescription medications to cleaning fluids.

The best way null to avoid this is to make sure that anything toxic is completely out of the reach of your animal. Don’t assume that because it’s on a high shelf, they can’t get to it. Although this is especially true for cats, dogs of all sizes have also been known to figure out how to get something they really
want off the kitchen counter or dining room table. Cabinets aren’t necessarily off limits, either. Lots of animals learn how to open those. Take the extra precaution of locking them, magnetizing them or hooking them closed. If that isn’t possible, get a few plastic drawers, the kind that fit inside cabinets. Although our animals are all very talented, even the most resourceful of them probably won’t be able to open one of those!


Get Familiar with this List

Here’s a partial list of common items that you’ll want to keep far away from your Fluffy and Fido:
  • Alcohol
  • batteries
  • caffeine
  • chocolate
  • cleaning products
  • detergent and fabric softener sheets
  • grapes, raisins and currants
  • lilies
  • macadamia nuts
  • mothballs
  • onions, garlic, leeks and chives
  • OTC drugs including aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen
  • prescription medications
  • tulips
  • xylitol (commonly found in gum, breath mints and toothpaste)
  • zinc (check your vitamin’s ingredients) and also found in pennies, see more below!

For an even more more complete list, just Google “things that are toxic to pets” and you’ll get tons of resources with all the information you need.

Put Away Those Pennies

nullPennies coined after 1982 have high levels

of zinc, which is very dangerous. Ingesting just one of those pennies can kill Fluffy or Fido. If you’re a penny saver, make sure to keep them out of reach, in a closed container.


Keep Poisons out of Your Home

Many people use pellet style rodenticides and think that null they’ve put them somewhere that their pet can never reach, but our animals get into places we never realize they’ve been.

Pellet style rodenticides are not safe, no matter where you put them. Spray insecticides should be used only when pets are out of the room, and they should be kept out for several hours after you’ve sprayed. Mothballs are also quite toxic.

You can find safer alternatives for all of these by googling “safe [or green, or non-toxic] alternative to…”


Know the Symptoms of Poisoning

Though we all hope never to need to know, it’s important to recognize potential signals from your pet’s behavior.



The most common and acute symptoms of poisoning

are vomiting, drooling and seizures, but there are many others, including:


blood in stool; dehydration; diarrhea; inability to urinate; irregular heartbeat; lethargy or hyperactivity; loss of appetite; nosebleed; and unexplained bruising.

If you notice these symptoms, give your vet a call immediately. If your animal seems to be in acute distress, forget the call and just immediately go to the nearest veterinary hospital.

We hope you find these tips helpful, and that you learned something new! We love hearing from you, so please send your questions, comments and ideas to


Meryl Schwarz, M.A., M.Ed., is an animal lover and Certified Professional Coach specializing in grief support for people grieving their beloved animals. Whether you’re grieving a terminal diagnosis, the normal aging process, a disappearance or a death, Meryl offers compassionate and caring support with the wisdom of experience. Visit her website at to schedule an appointment by Skype or phone.