Everyday things that can be dangerous for pets

Keeping your pet safe from dangers in & around the home

Common household products, human foods and plants can be poisonous to dogs, cats and some other small animals. Many pets can even figure out how to get into these toxins if they’re not properly stored or used.

Everyday things that can be dangerous for pets
by the Myria editors

Household dangers to dogs & cats

The experts at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH) at the University of California, Davis campus say that some of the dangerous substances commonly ingested by animals include:

  • antifreeze
  • fertilizers
  • household compost
  • household trash/garbage
  • insecticides
  • medications
  • rat poisons

What else can be dangerous to pets?

Both dogs and cats can be exposed to various infectious diseases when they eat lizards, snakes, frogs, rabbits, raw fish or rodents. These diseases include salmonellosis (Salmonella infection) and rare diseases — such as plague (Yersinia pestis) or tularemia (Francisella tularensis) — which can make people very sick, too.

Also see: Reptiles & amphibians as pets: Not so safe for young kids

Other common dangers: Foods

Delicious guacamole, made with avocado, onion and garlic, seems healthy and harmless… unfortunately, it’s anything but healthy for some animals.

Typical things people eat might be safe for us, but several foods — and dishes made with them — can be dangerous for your pets.

  • avocados
  • xylitol (a sweetener often used in sugar-free gum, candies, breath mints, chewable vitamins, cough syrup, mouthwash, toothpaste, etc. )
  • chocolate
  • coffee beans and espresso beans
  • grapes and raisins
  • macadamia nuts
  • onions and garlic
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“Take a quick assessment of the environment to see if anything is disturbed or eaten. Sometimes, dogs who eat intoxicating products will leave part of the packaging or small crumbs of the material,” says Dr Karl Jandrey, an assistant clinical professor in the Small Animal Emergency and Intensive Care Service at the William R Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.



“When you take your pet to the veterinarian, make sure to bring any packaging material, such as medication vials or containers with labels indicating name brands or ingredients.”

12 dangerous plants for pets

According to UC Davis Director of Pharmacy, Dr Valerie Wiebe, the 12 plants listed below are responsible for the majority of calls about about possible plant poisoning.

The toxicity of the plants below varies according to the species of animal exposed (cat, dog, bird, etc.), the amount of the plant that was ingested, and the specific variety or species of the plant.

If you suspect your pet has ingested any of the plants below, call your veterinarian immediately. Do not wait to see if symptoms appear, because in some cases of poisoning, by the time symptoms appear it is too late to save the animal.

  1. Anemone  (Anemone sylvestris)
  2. Aloe Vera (Liliaceae family)
  3. Amaryllis (Hippeastrum)
  4. Asparagus Fern (Liliaceae family)
  5. Chrysanthemums
  6. Cycads – including the Sago palm, cardboard palm (Cycadales)
  7. Cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum)
  8. Daffodil (Narcissus)
  9. Jade Plants (Crassula argentea)
  10. Lilies (Liliaceae family)
  11. Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)
  12. Philodendrons (Araceae family)
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There are also several other plants considered to be highly-toxic to animals, but they are only rarely ingested by pets, according to UC Davis.

  1. Angel’s Trumpet (Brugmansia spp.)
  2. Castor bean (Ricinus communis)
  3. Daphne (Thymelaeaceae family)
  4. Deathcamas & Meadow Deathcamas (Zigadenus venenosus)
  5. English yew (Taxus baccata)
  6. Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
  7. Jimson weed or Devil’s Trumpet (many common names/Datura species)
  8. Nicotiana/Tobacco plants (all species)
  9. Oleander (Nerium Oleander)
  10. Poison hemlock (Conium maculatum)
  11. Pokeweed (Phytilacca americana)
  12. Tree tobacco (Nicotiana glauca)
  13. Western water hemlock (Cicuta douglasii)
  14. Yew (Taxus cuspidata)


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