Some Common Poisons

A Guide to Some Common
Dog Poisonings
( I have actually seen the last one on
this list after a puppy ate a tube of
diaper rash ointment, some of these
seem far fetched but all are possible. )

There are hundreds of items your pet can get
access to. Some things are highly toxic and
others are non-toxic. This article is a guide to
help you determine if a particular item is a
problem and link you on to more in-depth

If you think your pet may have been exposed
to a toxin, the best thing to do is to check the
label of the item you think your pet ingested.
Read the information about toxicity. Often,
but not always, the information on packaging
regarding children is relevant to pets and
some manufacturers even discuss pet toxicity.
If there is an 800 number on the package –
call them! It's also recommended that you call
your veterinarian to confirm their
recommendations. If you go to your
veterinarian, take all packaging and any
information you have on the product.

For most poisonings, there is not much
you can do at hom
e. Consult your
veterinarian or emergency facility if you
suspect your pet has been poisoned. For some
ingested poisons, your veterinarian may
recommend inducing vomiting before
bringing the pet in for examination and
treatment. Inducing vomiting of a toxic
substance should never be done unless
specifically directed by a veterinarian. For
topical exposures, bathing in lukewarm water
with a mild dish soap can reduce further
toxin absorption before the pet is examined
and treated by a veterinarian.

Non-toxic Items Commonly Eaten by Dogs.
Chewing on things is a normal part of
puppyhood so before you rush your pooch to
the veterinarian. The only real concern is the
potential for obstruction if the object or
container becomes lodged in the stomach or
intestines. Also, you can expect some
vomiting and maybe even a little diarrhea
from eating a non-food item.

Some Toxic Items

. Amitraz is an insecticide used
in some brands of dog tick collars and topical
solutions. Toxicity most often affects curious
puppies who ingest the poison but can occur
from wearing the tick collar or receiving
demodectic mange treatment. Typical
symptoms begin within about 2 to 6 hours of
ingestion and often begin with the pet
becoming weak and lethargic. Vomiting,
diarrhea and disorientation are also common.
Without treatment, coma may result. In
severe untreated cases, toxicity may result in
death. Call and see your veterinarian for

Amphetamines. Amphetamines are
human medications that are commonly used
as appetite suppressants and mood elevators
or for the treatment of attention deficit and
hyperactivity disorders. Amphetamines must
be prescribed by a physician, but because
they are popular as appetite suppressants and
mood elevators, they are often purchased
illegally. Amphetamines are nervous system
stimulants that also affect the brain. After
ingestion, toxic signs are usually seen within
one to two hours. Common signs include
restlessness, hyperactivity, agitation, tremors
and seizures. Prompt veterinary treatment for
amphetamine toxicity is crucial and will give
your pet a better chance of full recovery. If
left untreated, amphetamine toxicity can be

Ant Traps. If an ant trap is ingested,
the only real concern is the potential for
obstruction if the object or container becomes
lodged in the stomach or intestines. Most ant
and roach traps are made from either sticky
paper or chlorpyrifos, which has a low level
of toxicity in mammals but is highly toxic to
insects. Also, you can expect some vomiting
and maybe even a little diarrhea from eating a
non-food item.

Antifreeze. Ethylene glycol toxicosis is
a type of poisoning that occurs after ingestion
of antifreeze or other fluids containing the
ingredient ethylene glycol. Ethylene glycol
itself is not toxic, but it is metabolized in the
animal's body to several extremely toxic
chemicals that are responsible for its
potentially lethal effects. Ethylene glycol
poisoning results in nervous system
abnormalities and severe kidney failure with
almost complete cessation of urine output.
Ethylene glycol poisoning can be fatal if not
treated soon after ingestion (within 4 to 8
hours). The minimum lethal dose for dogs
averages five milliliters per kilogram of body
weight. Thus, a little more than three
tablespoons (or 45 milliliters) could be lethal
for a 22 pound (10 kg) dog. Definitive
treatment should be started as soon as
possible after consumption of ethylene glycol
(within a few hours). If treated promptly and
appropriately, pets that have consumed
ethylene glycol will not develop kidney failure
and have a good chance of survival. Signs to
watch for include: nausea, vomiting,
increased thirst, lethargy and incoordination
progressing to coma. Pets may act as if they
are intoxicated. These signs develop within 30
minutes to 12 hours after ingestion of
ethylene glycol depending on the amount

Aspirin. Aspirin toxicity (salicylate
toxicity) is poisoning that occurs following the
ingestion of aspirin or aspirin-containing
products. Cats and young animals are more
susceptible to the effects of aspirin than are
dogs because they are unable to metabolize
the drug as quickly. Aspirin interferes with
platelets, which are responsible for helping
the blood to clot. Disruption of platelet
function increases the amount of time it takes
the blood to clot after being cut. Spontaneous
bleeding may also occur causing pinpoint
bruises to appear in the skin and on the gums
(petechiae). Aspirin toxicity may cause
gastrointestinal problems, respiratory
difficulties, neurological problems, bleeding
disorders and kidney failure. Gastrointestinal
problems are common in dogs whereas
central nervous system depression is most
common in cats.

Arsenic. Although a common poison in
the days of Agatha Christie, arsenic is
somewhat difficult to obtain and animal
poisonings are rare. Usually, poisoning is due
to the ingestion of very old insect traps. Since
1989, the use of arsenic in insect traps has
greatly diminished but there are still some out
there. The lethal dose is 1 to 25 mg per
kilogram of weight, and signs of poisoning
include severe vomiting, diarrhea and nausea.
If caught early, most pets are treated and
recover. If treatment is delayed and the signs
of illness are severe, pets usually do not
survive. If your pet has ingested an insect
trap, make sure to check the label to see if
arsenic is present and call your veterinarian.

Carbon Monoxide. Carbon
monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas, that
when absorbed into the bloodstream, forms a
compound that causes hypoxia (reduced
oxygen supply) of the heart and brain. Pets
can be exposed by automotive exhaust in a
closed garage, faulty exhaust system, non-
vented furnace, gas water heater,
gas/kerosene space heater and/or smoke
inhalation from a fire. Some pets are
predisposed to toxicity due to preexisting
heart or lung disease. Symptoms of toxicity
include drowsiness, lethargy, weakness,
incoordination, bright red color to the skin
and gums, difficulty breathing, coma and/or
abrupt death. Occasionally, chronic (low-
grade, long-term) exposure may cause
exercise intolerance, changes in gait (walking)
and disturbances of normal reflexes. Be
aware that if the source of poisoning still
exists, both you and your dog are at risk.

Bathroom Cleaners,
Bleach, Lysol and Other
. Household cleaners can
cause very serious "chemical burns." Most
often these chemicals are ingested or licked
causing a caustic or corrosive burn usually
affecting the tongue and upper esophagus. If
chemical ingestion is witnessed, immediately
flush the mouth with large amounts of water.
This can help reduce the amount of chemical
in the mouth and may reduce the damage.
Chemical oral burns may not show up
immediately. Call your veterinarian for
additional treatment recommendations.
Common signs include: lack of appetite,
drooling, pawing at the mouth and excessive

Carbamate Insecticides.
Carbamates are a type of insecticides used to
treat insects on our crops and soils, prevent
and treat flea infestations and are used in ant
and roach baits. The majority of toxicities
related to this chemical are due to improper
use of the chemical, especially when many
different types of insecticides are used at the
same time. The dog formula should never be
used on cats. Carbamates affect the nerve-
muscle junctions. Without a normal nerve
impulse through the muscle, the function of
the muscle is impaired. Since muscle tissue is
present in the intestinal tract as well as the
heart and skeleton, various signs may be seen
if a pet is exposed to toxic levels of this
insecticide. Symptoms: vomiting, diarrhea,
drooling, difficulty breathing, muscles
tremors, twitching, weakness and paralysis.
Prompt veterinary care is required to survive
a toxic exposure.

Chocolate. Chocolate, in addition to
having a high fat content, contains caffeine
and theobromine. These two compounds are
nervous system stimulants and can be toxic to
your dog in high amounts. The levels of
caffeine and theobromine vary between
different types of chocolate. For example,
white chocolate has the lowest concentration
of stimulants and baking chocolate or cacao
beans have the highest concentration.
Depending on the type of chocolate ingested
and the amount eaten, various problems can
occur. The high fat content in chocolate may
result in vomiting and possibly diarrhea.
Once toxic levels are eaten, the stimulant
effect becomes apparent. You may notice
restlessness, hyperactivity, muscle twitching,
increased urination and possibly excessive
panting. Heart rate and blood pressure levels
may also be increased. Seizure activity may
occur in severe cases.

Cocaine. Cocaine is rapidly absorbed
from the stomach, nasal passages and lungs.
Following exposure the cocaine usually leaves
the system within four to six hours. The lethal
dose of cocaine in dogs is 25 mg per pound of
body weight. Pets exposed to cocaine show
signs of intermittent hyperactivity followed
by profound lethargy. Some may develop
seizures. Treatment is aimed at supporting
the body systems. Inducing vomiting is not
helpful since cocaine is so rapidly absorbed.
Hospitalization with intravenous fluids and
sedatives are typical treatments. Depending
on the severity of illness, amount ingested and
time lapsed before treatment, some pets
exposed to cocaine do not survive.

Detergents and Soaps. Most
soaps and detergents are generally non-toxic.
You can expect some vomiting and maybe
even a little diarrhea from eating a non-food
item. Read the container for additional
information. If ingestion is witnessed, you
may flush the mouth with large amounts of

Ecstasy. Ecstasy, also known by various
street names such as XTC, Adam and MDA,
is chemically related to other amphetamines,
which stimulate the central nervous system.
After ingestion, signs of toxicity generally
develop within one to two hours and last
longer in pets than in humans due to the
animal's inability to metabolize the drug.
Symptoms include hyperactivity, restlessness,
drooling, tremors, staggering, seizures, and if
no treatment is given, coma and death ensue.

Estrogen Toxicity. Estrogen
toxicity is a condition in which a group of
estrogen compounds (female hormones),
either produced in excess within the body or
administered from the outside, become
poisonous to the body. Estrogen toxicity is
seen most commonly in reproductive-age
females and older. Symptoms can include:
lethargy, pale gums, bleeding, fever, thin hair
coat and feminization (female sex
characteristics) in males.

Ethanol. Ethanol is an alcohol that is
used commonly as a solvent (liquid that
dissolves) in medications and is the major
ingredient of alcoholic beverages. Common
causes of toxicity include direct access to
alcoholic beverages or spilled medication,
ingestion of fermented products (bread),
intentional or malicious administration by
human beings and/or dermal (skin) exposure
to these products. Toxicity can cause a wide
variety of signs and may lead to death. Signs
can include: odor of alcohol on the animal's
breath or stomach contents, incoordination,
staggering, behavioral change, excitement or
depression, excessive urination and/or urinary
incontinence, slow respiratory rate, cardiac
arrest and death. If you suspect your pet has
ingested a form of ethanol, please call your
veterinarian for additional instructions.

Fuel. Gasoline is not a commonly ingested
toxin, most likely due to its odor. If ingested,
unleaded gasoline irritates the gastrointestinal
tract and may cause vomiting. Some pets may
inhale stomach contents as they vomit,
resulting in aspiration pneumonia. To
develop signs of toxicity, the amount of
gasoline that needs to be ingested is around
20 ml per kilogram of weight. For a 20 pound
dog, that is about 1/2 cup. Diesel fuel and jet
fuel may also cause gastrointestinal upset but
have less toxicity than unleaded gasoline.

Glow Jewelry. The active ingredient
in most glow jewelry and other glow-in-the
dark products is dibutyl phthalate. This
substance has low toxicity and there has not
been a report of an animal poisoned by its
ingestion. If your pet has ingested dibutyl
phthalate, you may see profuse drooling.
Encourage him to drink a small amount of
milk or eat a piece of bread. This will help
dilute the taste of the dibutyl phthalate. Even
rinsing the mouth out with water can help
reduce the signs associated with glow jewelry
exposure. Even after rinsing the mouth, you
may want to bathe your pet to remove any
dibutyl that may have leaked out of the tooth
marks and onto the pet's hair coat.

Grape and Raisins. Recently,
reports have begun to surface that ingesting
large amounts of grapes or raisins can be
toxic to dogs. So far, about 10 confirmed
cases have been officially reported to the
ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. The
amount of grapes or raisins ingested has been
between 9 ounces and 2 pounds, and dogs
ingesting these large amounts have developed
kidney failure. Any dog that ingests large
amounts of grapes or raisins at one time
should be treated aggressively, so contact
your veterinarian immediately if ingestion has
occurred. Eating a few here and there has not
been proven to be toxic.

Herbal Medications. While most
plants used have beneficial properties, it is
important to remember that the strength of
the plant's active ingredients will vary with
the variety of herb and the horticultural
practices used to grow them. Herbs can be
sprayed with pesticides, fungicides or
fertilizers. They may have been fertilized with
improperly prepared compost, which can
harbor harmful bacteria. They may produce
more than one active compound causing
unwanted side effects, which may worsen
some medical conditions. There are no
standards for quality control in production
and dosages. Onion, garlic, pennyroyal and
ginseng are a few of the commonly used
herbal preparations that can cause toxicities if
used inappropriately. Many have vomiting
and diarrhea as a side effect. Even if your pet
is taking an herbal supplement without
complication, make sure your veterinarian
knows what you are giving.
Some herbs interfere with other health
concerns and other medications.

Ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is a popular and
effective over-the-counter medication
available to treat pain and inflammation in
people. For dogs, ibuprofen can easily exceed
toxic levels. The most common cause of
ibuprofen toxicity is a well-meaning owner
who tries to alleviate pain in his dog by
administering a dose he thinks is adequate
without knowing the toxic dose. The initial
toxic effect is bleeding stomach ulcers. In
addition to ulcers, increasing doses of
ibuprofen eventually lead to kidney failure
and, if left untreated, can be fatal. Symptoms
include poor appetite, vomiting, black tarry
stools, vomiting blood, abdominal pain,
weakness and lethargy.

Inhaled Toxins. Carbon Monoxide
Poisoning is typically associated with
confinement in a running vehicle but can also
occur in a home with improper ventilation
and faulty furnaces. If you suspect that your
pet has been exposed to carbon monoxide,
remove him from the scene and place him in
an area with fresh air. Contact your
veterinarian or local emergency facility for
further instructions. Smoke inhalation is
another common inhaled toxin.

Iron. Iron is a chemical element that is
important to red blood cell production in the
body. It is found in a variety of supplements
and vitamins. Iron toxicity typically occurs
after accidental ingestion of the supplements
or from overdoses of supplements. Iron
comes in a variety of forms and the forms
that may result in toxicity are: ferrous
fumarate, ferrous sulfate, ferric phosphate,
and ferrous carbonate. Toxic levels of iron
cause damage to the stomach and intestinal
lining as well as cause severe liver damage
and heart damage. The first signs generally
occur within six hours of eating a toxic
amount. Even without treatment, your dog
may appear to have improved after the initial
gastrointestinal upset. Unfortunately,
spontaneous recovery has not really occurred
and about 24 hours later, diarrhea returns
along with liver failure, shock and possible
coma. Bleeding disorders can also occur. See
your veterinarian immediately if you suspect
iron toxicity.

 Ivermectin. Ivermectin is an
anti-parasite drug that causes neurologic
damage to the parasite, resulting in paralysis
and death. Ivermectin has been used to
prevent parasite infections, such as
heartworms or ear mites. Causes of
ivermectin toxicity include administration of
excessive doses and breed sensitivity to lower
doses (which occurs in some breeds such as
the collie or Australian shepherd). Toxicity
can result in any number or combination of
clinical signs including dilated pupils,
depression, drooling, vomiting, tremors,
disorientation, weakness, recumbency
(inability to rise), blindness,
unresponsiveness, slow heart rate, slow
respiratory rate, coma or death.

Lead. Lead toxicity refers to poisoning
due to ingestion or inhalation of products
containing the element lead. Pets may be
exposed to lead from several different
sources. Lead toxicity can cause anemia (low
red blood cell count), gastrointestinal
symptoms (vomiting, diarrhea) and nervous
system problems (seizures). Lead crosses the
placenta from pregnant mother to babies and
is also excreted in her milk. Thus, the
developing fetus and nursing young can be
affected. See your veterinarian if you suspect
lead exposure

Marijuana. The primary active
ingredient in marijuana is
tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. It takes about
1.5 grams of marijuana per pound of body
weight to be fatal. Therefore, death from
ingested marijuana is not common. However,
pets ingesting marijuana become
incoordination and begin stumbling. Most
become quite lethargic. Some may experience
hallucinations. The danger with marijuana is
that vomiting is common, and if the pet is
profoundly lethargic and begins vomiting,
aspiration of the vomitus into the lungs can
lead to severe breathing problems and even
death. Treatment of marijuana exposure
usually involves the induction of vomiting to
remove any residual THC and, depending on
the severity of the signs, some pets require
hospitalization with intravenous fluids. The
vast majority of pets exposed to marijuana
fully recover within 24 hours.

Never give any medication, prescription or
over-the-counter, without approval from your
veterinarian. There are several medications
available for people that can help animals but
you must be careful to give the correct
medicine at the proper dose. Some common
medications that can have serious effects on
animals if not used correctly include:
pseudoephedrine, aspirin, acetaminophen,
ibuprofen, Imodium®, diphenhydramine and
Claritan. If your pet has ingested an
unprescribed medication, contact your
veterinarian or local veterinary emergency
facility. Give the name of the medication, how
many and what dose your pet received, what
time the ingestion could have occurred, as
well as pet information such as breed, age
and any health problems he/she may have.
You may receive instructions for what to do
at home or what to watch for. In some
situations, emergency examination and
treatment are crucial.

Metaldehyde. Metaldehyde poisoning
results from the ingestion of products
containing the active ingredient metaldehyde.
This is a common ingredient used in
molluscicides, which are products used to kill
snails and slugs. Metaldehyde toxicity causes
rapid onset of neurological symptoms that
begin 1 to 4 hours after exposure. Repeated
seizures can cause a very high body
temperature, which can lead to complications
that are fatal. Affected pets usually require
hospitalization for 24 to 72 hours after
metaldehyde ingestion.

Metronidazole. Metronidazole is a
commonly used and very effective antibiotic.
Unfortunately, as with all drugs, toxicity and
adverse effects can occur. However, toxicity
from metronidazole is uncommon and is
generally associated with prolonged use
(many weeks) or high doses of the drug.
Animals with underlying liver disease are
more prone to metronidazole toxicity. Toxic
levels of metronidazole affect the brain and
equilibrium. Symptoms include: not eating,
vomiting, staggering or difficulty walking,
involuntary and constant eye movements
(nystagmus), lethargy, and seizures. There is
no home care for metronidazole toxicity. If
you suspect that metronidazole is responsible
for illness in your pet, consult your

Mushrooms. Mushroom poisoning
occurs as a result of ingesting toxic
mushrooms. Not all mushrooms are
poisonous, but each type of poisonous
mushroom can cause different signs of illness.
Poisonous mushrooms are classified into four
main categories, based on the clinical signs
they cause, or into seven categories, based on
the toxins they contain. The onset of clinical
signs may occur anywhere from minutes to
hours following ingestion. Signs may include:
vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, lethargy,
jaundice (yellow skin color), seizures, coma
and/or excess salivation. There is no adequate
home care for poisonous mushroom ingestion.
If you suspect that your dog has eaten a
dangerous mushroom, contact your
veterinarian immediately.

Mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are toxic
substances secreted by molds and are
commonly ingested when dogs raid the trash.
Ingestion of certain moldy foods can result in
signs of illness, primary whole body tremors.
If left untreated, the tremors worsen and can
progress to seizures. The dog's body
temperature increases and heat-related
complications can occur. The most commonly
implicated moldy foods are dairy products
and pasta, but any mold may develop the
specific toxins. Dogs that do not receive
treatment may not survive.

Naproxen. Naproxen is a popular and
effective over-the-counter medication
available to treat pain and inflammation in
people. For dogs, naproxen can easily exceed
toxic levels. The most common cause of
naproxen toxicity is a well-meaning owner
who tries to alleviate pain in his dog by giving
the medication without knowing the toxic
dose. The initial toxic effect is bleeding
stomach ulcers. In addition to ulcers,
increasing doses of naproxen eventually leads
to kidney failure and, if left untreated, can be

Nicotine. Nicotine is found in a variety
of sources, primarily cigarettes, cigars,
tobacco, nicotine gum and nicotine patches.
The toxic level of nicotine in dogs is 5
milligrams of nicotine per pound of body
weight. For example, one cigarette contains
15 to 25 milligrams of nicotine, and nicotine
patches contain between 8 to 114 milligrams
of nicotine. A 10-pound dog would only need
to eat 2 to 4 cigarettes in order to show toxic
signs. You should note that even after
smoking, tobacco retains a significant amount
of nicotine residue. Signs of nicotine toxicity
generally develop soon after ingestion and
include vomiting, drooling, excitement,
tremors, low heart rate or seizures. When
large amounts are consumed, the effects can
be life-threatening, but even small amounts
can induce symptoms. Without treatment,
nicotine toxicity can cause paralysis of the
breathing muscles and your dog may die from
an inability to breathe, sometimes within a
few hours. If your pet has ingested nicotine,
call your veterinarian.

Onions. Onion toxicity can be caused
from raw onions, cooked onions, onion
powders or flavorings. Canines lack the
enzyme necessary to digest onions properly
and this could result in gas, diarrhea, or
severe gastrointestinal distress. If large
amounts of onion are ingested or onions are a
daily part of your dog's diet, the red blood
cells may become fragile and break apart.
Severe anemias and even death can occur if
the dog ingests lots of onions and receives no

. An organophosphate is a
type of insecticides used to treat insects on our
crops and soils, prevent and treat flea
infestations, and are used in ant and roach
baits. The majority of toxicities related to this
chemical are due to improper use of the
chemical, especially when many different types
of insecticides are used at the same time. The
canine formula should never be used on cats.
Overdosing has also resulted in toxicity.
Organophosphates affect the nerve-muscle
junctions. Without a normal nerve impulse
through the muscle, the function of the muscle
is impaired. Since muscle tissue is present in
the intestinal tract as well as the heart and
skeleton, various signs may be seen if a pet is
exposed to toxic levels of this insecticide.
Symptoms include: vomiting, diarrhea,
drooling, difficulty breathing, muscles tremors,
twitching, weakness and paralysis. Prompt
veterinary care is required to survive a toxic

Potpourri. Curious dogs often find
simmering potpourri pots irresistible. Not
only are burns a potential problem but the
potpourri is caustic. Ingesting or even licking
the potpourri can result in chemical burns to
the tongue, throat and esophagus. Severely
burned pets may require hospitalization with
feeding tubes until the wounds heal.

Pyrethrin and Permethrin
.The most common types
of insecticide used to kill fleas are pyrethrins.
Toxicity related to pyrethrins is usually
associated with applying much more of the
product than directed. Permethrin is a
stronger synthetic insecticide that has a much
greater potential for resulting in toxicity.
Permethrin based topical flea products are
usually labeled "for use in dogs only."
Application of permethrin-based insecticide
to a cat will usually result in toxic signs within
6 hours. Overdosing can cause toxic signs in
both dogs and cats. Signs include drooling,
lethargy, muscle tremors, vomiting and
seizures. If you suspect your pet may have
permethrin/pyrethrin toxicity, the most
important part of home care is to bathe your
pet in lukewarm water using mild dish soap.
Do not use flea shampoo. Avoid hot water
since that will dilate blood vessels in the skin
and increase the absorption of the flea
product. Once the pet is bathed, contact your
veterinarian or local veterinary emergency
facility immediately.

Toxicity of Common Plants in the House.
House plants are popular additions to many
rooms. Usually, plants and pets live together
harmoniously, although some curious pets
often venture to take a little taste. See the
related article to find out about the 20 most
popular houseplants and their levels of

Plants – Fall and Winter.
Flowers and plants add beauty to any
holiday, and they make great holiday gifts.
But if your family includes pets, you may
want to learn which plants are safe and which
ones you need to avoid.

Here is a list of plants to avoid. Remember
that ingesting bulb plants often cause the
most severe illnesses.

Holly (Ilex sp.). This plant, commonly found
around Christmas time, can cause intense
vomiting and diarrhea. Mental depression can
also occur.

Amaryllis (Amaryllis spp). Ingestion can
result in vomiting, diarrhea, depression, lack
of appetite, tremors, drooling and abdominal

Mistletoe (Phoradendron spp.). This plant,
another Christmas plant, can also cause
significant vomiting and diarrhea. In
addition, this plant has been associated with
difficulty breathing, slowed heart rate,
collapse and, if a lot is ingested, death has
occurred. Some animals may even show
erratic behavior and possible hallucinations.

Poinsettia (Euphorbia). This plant can
cause irritation to the mouth and stomach
and sometimes vomiting. It has a low level of
toxicity and is overrated as a toxic plant.

Christmas cactus, Thanksgiving
cactus, Easter cactus
(Schlumbergera or
Zygocactus). In dogs, if large quantities of
this plant are ingested, vomiting, possibly
with blood, diarrhea, possibly with blood and
mental depression have been reported. With
small ingestions, typically there are no signs
of toxicity. These plants are considered low
toxicity plants.

Some less common toxic winter holiday plants

American bittersweet (Celastrus
scandens). Ingestion results in weakness,
vomiting and seizures.

European bittersweet (Solanum
dulcamara). Ingestion results in drooling,
vomiting, diarrhea, depression, lack of
appetite, weakness, confusion and low heart

Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum
morifolium). Ingestion results in vomiting,
diarrhea, depression, drooling and lack of

Christmas rose (Helleborus niger).
Ingestion results in abdominal pain, vomiting,
bloody diarrhea and delirium.

Jerusalem cherry (Solanum
pseudocapsicuni). Ingestion results in
vomiting, diarrhea, mouth ulcers, seizures,
mental depression, respiratory depression,
shock and death.

Autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnale).
Ingestion of the bulbs results in mouth
irritation, blooding vomiting, diarrhea, shock,
kidney failure, liver damage and bone marrow

Thanksgiving cactus (Zygocactus
truncactus). Ingestion results in vomiting,
diarrhea and depression. Cats also can
develop staggering.

Christams palm (Veitchia merrillii). This
plant is considered nontoxic.

Christmas orchid (Cattleya trianaei). This
plant is considered nontoxic.

Christmas dagger fern (Polystichym
spp). This plant is considered nontoxic.

Mistletoes cactus (Thipsalis cassutha).
This plant is considered nontoxic.

Burning bush (Euronymous alatus).
Ingestion can result in vomiting, diarrhea,
depression and lack of appetite.
Plants – Spring  and
Springtime holidays are often
associated with bulb plants and ingestion of
the bulbs can cause the most severe illnesses.
Summer holidays are associated with plants.
Holidays are often times that gifts are given.
For some, flowers do not last long enough
and a plant is a better, and longer lasting,
gift. But if your family includes pets, you may
want to learn which plants are safe and which
to avoid.

Tulip (Tulip spp.). Ingestion can result in
intense vomiting, depression, diarrhea,
drooling and lack of appetite.

Hyacinth (Hyacinthus oreintalis). Ingestion
can result in intense vomiting, diarrhea,
depression and tremors.

Daffodil (Narcissus spp). Ingestion can
result in severe gastrointestinal illness,
convulsions, seizures, low blood pressure and

Peace lily (Spathiphyllum spp). Ingestion
can result in ulcers in the mouth, vomiting
and diarrhea.

Easter cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesi).
Ingestion can result in vomiting, diarrhea and
depression. Cats can also develop staggering.

Easter daisy (Townsendia sericea). This
plant is considered non toxic.

Easter orchid (Cattleya mossiae). This
plant is considered non toxic.

Easter lily cactus (Echinopsis multiplex).
This plant is considered non toxic.

Resurrection lily (Kaempferia pulchra).
This plant is considered non toxic.

Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia splendens
prostrata). Ingestion results in vomiting and

Poison Ivy and Oak. The
principal toxin in poison oak and poison ivy is
urushiol, which is an oil resin found in the
plant sap. Animals are quite resistant to the
effects of urushiol but can transmit the toxin
to a person. Dogs and cats typically come in
contact with the poison ivy or poison oak
plant in wooded areas. They may ingest some
of the plant but, more likely, they will rub
against it while walking. The sap from the
plant can adhere to the hair coat. When you
pet your dog or cat later, the sap can transfer
from their fur to your skin. If you are
susceptible to poison oak or poison ivy, skin
irritation can occur. In animals, exposure to
urushiol infrequently results in skin irritation.

Rat Poison. Rodenticide poisoning is
the accidental ingestion of products used to
kill rodents such as mice, rats and gophers.
These products are common and accidental
exposure is frequent. Poisoning is most
commonly caused by ingestion of a product
containing one of the following ingredients:
bromethalin, cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3),
strychnine, zinc phosphide and anticoagulants
(such as warfarin, fumarin, chlorophacinone,
diphacinone, pindone, bromadiolone,
brodaficoum). The impact on the poisoned
animal varies depending on the type of poison
ingested. An animal may develop a bleeding
disorder, neurological problems,
gastrointestinal distress or kidney failure. In
some cases, rodenticide poisoning is fatal. If
you suspect that your pet has ingested rat
poison, call your veterinarian immediately.

Rimadyl. Rimadyl toxicity describes the
symptoms of poisoning associated with the
administration of Rimadyl® (carprofen), a
non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication
used for the treatment of arthritis. This drugs
suppress inflammation and pain by inhibiting
synthesis of the class of compounds called
prostaglandins. Rimadyl® toxicity can cause
damage to the gastrointestinal tract, liver and
kidneys. If accidental ingestion has occurred,
remove any remaining pills from the pet's
environment. Take your pet to a veterinarian
as soon as possible for treatment of an
overdosage of Rimadyl®. If you have been
administering Rimadyl® and you note
vomiting, black tarry stools, pale or yellow
gums or loss of appetite, stop administering
Rimadyl® and take your pet to a veterinarian
as soon as possible.

Smoke Inhalation. Smoke can
create significant damage within the airways.
Pets, as well as people, can quickly succumb
to the effects of smoke inhalation. If your pet
is exposed to smoke, remove him immediately
from the area and provide him with access to
fresh air. If oxygen is available, offer by face
mask. Contact your veterinarian or local
emergency facility immediately. Your pet will
require additional medical treatment for a
successful outcome.

Strychnine. Strychnine is a toxin
derived from the seeds of Strychnos nux
vomica and S. ignatii and is used to control
rats, moles and other predators. However,
when ingested by dogs, it is extremely toxic,
and can cause death. Direct exposure to bait
is the most common cause in dogs, although
intentional poisonings are not uncommon.
Toxicity can also occur from the ingestion of
poisoned rodents and birds.The primary
effect of the toxin is on the neurological
system. The toxin interferes with inhibitory
transmitters, which produce a state of muscle
rigidity and stimulation. Death is often
caused by the effect on muscles that stimulate
breathing. If you witness your dog ingesting
strychnine, contact your veterinarian at once.
He or she may direct you to induce vomiting
immediately, if it is within minutes of
ingestion. Take all poison packages with you
to your veterinarian's office.

Toads. The Colorado River toad and the
giant toad (also called the marine toad) are
the two most common poisonous toads found
in the United States. Though most toads are
bitter tasting and usually result in profuse
drooling in any pet that tries to take a taste,
only a couple of species of toads are truly
poisonous. The poisonous secretions from
these toads can affect animals who come in
contact with them, causing a host of clinical
signs. The poison is highly toxic to pets. Dogs
have a high probability of dying if untreated.

Topical Poisons. Poisoning
associated with topical medications is
uncommon in dogs and cats. The topical
product usually associated with toxicity is an
inappropriately applied topical flea product.
The products specifically labeled for use in
dogs can result in serious toxicity if
administered to cats. The toxic substance in
these products is permethrin, which can have
devastating effects if given to cats

Tylenol. Acetaminophen is a medication
commonly used to alleviate fever and pain.
Common brands include Tylenol®,
Percoset®, aspirin free Excedrin® and
various sinus, cold and flu medications. Dogs
most commonly receive toxic amounts of
acetaminophen because owners medicate
them without consulting a veterinarian. They
also consume tablets that are dropped on the
floor or left lying around. Dogs are less
sensitive to acetaminophen than cats. For
example, a 50 pound dog would need to
ingest over seven 500 mg tablets in order to
suffer toxic effects. In the cat, one 250 mg
acetaminophen tablet could be fatal. There is
no home care for acetaminophen toxicity. If
you suspect that your dog has ingested a toxic
amount of acetaminophen, (one pill or more),
contact your family veterinarian or local
veterinary emergency facility immediately.

Vitamins. Vitamin toxicity occurs when
the intake of a dietary vitamin exceeds the
normal requirement causing adverse clinical
signs or disease. Normal requirements differ
for different vitamins and there are a variety
of causes of vitamin toxicity, depending on
the type.

Zinc. Zinc toxicity is most often seen in
young dogs that ingest some form of zinc.
The most common sources are pennies
minted after 1982, zinc nuts and bolts, which
can be found in transport cages, galvanized
metals, zinc-containing ointments (e.g. zinc
oxide ointment, Diaper rash ointments,
Calamine lotions and several other lotions
with drying effects), and zinc game pieces
from board games. Zinc is directly irritating
to the stomach lining so it may cause
gastrointestinal irritation as well as a
potentially fatal blood disorder( causes the
red blood cells to break down resulting in
anemia and death without blood
transfusions). Signs include: vomiting,
diarrhea, lack of appetite, lethargy and pale
gums. A toxic dose for a typical dog may be
as few as 1 to 3 pennies (50 to 100 mg/k)