Protect Your Pet: The Top 5 Toxic Dangers in Your Home

November 15, 2017

a dog in a cone collar

As pet parents, we always keep our pets’ safety top-of-mind. However, there are many common items that are sometimes overlooked in homes, which could prove to be a problem if ingested by your pet. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) wants to make sure that you are fully prepared for any potential emergencies with this list of the top five household dangers to pets. To ensure that you are informed on potential pet dangers, familiarize yourself with this list, and be sure to keep these items well out of paws’ reach. 

#5 Chocolate

chocolate cake

People love chocolate, and unfortunately, pets find chocolate hard to resist, as well. Dogs are much more likely to find and eat chocolate, but cats are just as sensitive to the toxins in chocolate if they get into it.

Symptoms of chocolate poisoning to watch out for are stomach upset, pancreatitis, hyperactivity, high heart rate, tremors and seizures.

#4 Over-the-counter pain relievers

a pharmacist holding pills

Ibuprofen, naproxen, acetaminophen and aspirin can all cause life-threatening symptoms in pets. Ibuprofen and naproxen can cause stomach ulcers and kidney failure, while acetaminophen can cause liver damage and damage to the red blood cells. Aspirin can cause liver damage, stomach ulcers and fever. 

Cats and ferrets are especially sensitive to these pain relievers, but all pets are at risk. 

#3 Laundry Detergent

a dog playing in water

Laundry detergent containers can be easily tipped over, or chewed through. Pets who lick laundry detergent off of themselves or the floor can develop stomach upset, upper airway irritation and can inhale the detergent into their lungs, leading to aspiration pneumonia.

#2 Sugar-free Gum

a cat licking its nose

Sugar free gum that contains the ingredient xylitol can cause low blood sugar and liver damage in dogs. 

Be sure that if you have sugar-free gum somewhere in your home, it is away from a dog’s ever curious nose. Xylitol can also be found hidden in a number of other foods and medications, so always be sure to carefully check labels before offering your dog part of what you are eating.

#1 Drain Cleaner

a sad dog near a toilet

Drain cleaner is a very dangerous chemical when it comes to your pets. It has a very high pH and can cause corrosive burns to the mouth and the esophagus. 

Make sure that any drain cleaner is stored in a childproofed cabinet, and if you are using drain cleaner, make sure that all pets are kept out of the room until the drain is cleared and thoroughly rinsed. Drain cleaner is especially a concern for curious cats who jump into cabinets and sinks. They will often walk through the drain cleaner and then lick it off of their paws.

If you’d like to learn more about potential pet dangers that can be found in your home, check out our full lists of Poisonous Household ProductsToxic Plants and People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets. You can also download the APCC Mobile App to stay up-to-date on critical pet safety information! 

If you suspect your pet has been exposed to any poisonous substances, contact your veterinarian or call Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) at 888-426-4435 immediately.