The following list has been adapted from the Pet Poison Helpline, one of the two 24-hour telephone services that counsels people whose pets have ingested toxic substances. They amassed all the calls that they received regarding dog poisonings in 2013 and formulated this list.
- Chocolate: Dark equals dangerous! Bakers and dark chocolate are the most toxic, and milk chocolate if ingested in large amounts.
- Xylitol: This sweetener found in sugarless chewing gum and candy, medications and nasal sprays causes a rapid drop in blood sugar and liver failure only in dogs (not cats).
- NSAIDs: Ibuprofen, naproxen, acetaminophen, etc., found in products like Advil, Motrin, Tylenol and Aleve. Dogs don’t metabolize these drugs well; ingestions result in stomach ulcers and kidney failure.
- Over the counter cough, cold and allergy medications: Those that contain acetaminophen or decongestants, such as pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine, are particularly toxic.
- Rodenticides (mouse poisons): These may cause internal bleeding (brodifacoum, bromadiolone, etc.) or brain swelling (bromethalin), even in small amounts.
- Grapes and Raisins: These harmless human foods cause kidney damage in dogs.
- Insect bait stations: These rarely cause poisoning in dogs – the bigger risk is bowel obstruction when dogs swallow the plastic casing.
- Prescription ADD/ADHD Medication: These amphetamines such as Adderall, Concerta, Dexedrine, and Vyvanse can cause tremors, seizures, cardiac problems and death in pets.
- Glucosamine joint supplements: Overdose of products typically only cause diarrhea; however, in rare cases, liver failure can develop.
- Silica gel packets and oxygen absorbers: Silica gel packs, found in new shoes, purses or backpacks, is rarely a concern. The real threats are the iron-containing oxygen absorbers found in food packages like beef jerky or pet treats, which can cause iron poisoning.
If you are ever uncertain as to whether the substance or amount of something that you pet has ingested is toxic, then do not hesitate to contact our clinic, your local emergency hospital or one of the two animal poison control centres at the numbers below:
ASPCA: 1 (888) 426-4435
Pet Poison Helpline: 1 (855) 764-7661