Always around the holidays. animal emergency rooms and poison control call lines start getting swamped. To help keep you out of the ER, here’s a list of many of the items you need to keep at top-of-mind awareness to keep your dogs and cats safe. Many of them, you’ll already know. But some may come as a surprise. Click to download a PDF version that you can print.
Leading Causes of Accidental Dog and Cat Injury and Death
In and Around the Home
I lied. There are over 200 items listed below, but I didn’t want you to feel overwhelmed. The following household items have the potential to cause serious illness, or even death, depending on the amount eaten by your cat or dog. Keep these items in a safe location, out of your pet’s reach.
Caffeine found in coffee, tea, energy drinks
Onions & onion powder
Raw yeast dough
Xylitol (artificial sweetener found in gum and candy)
Bird of Paradise
Bittersweet (American and European)
Corn plant Cycads
Gold dust dracaena
Lilies (all Lilium species)
Lily of the Valley
Peach, plum, cherry, apricot (seeds, leaves, stems)
Precatory Bean (rosary pea)
Click for a searchable database of Common Poisonous Plants
Balls (especially small ones or that have a smooth outer coating)
Bread twist ties
Cocoa bean shell mulch fertilizer
Cold and flu medications
Compost (if it’s moldy)
Flea and tick products not vet-approved for dogs or cats
Home insect products
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (ibuprofen, aspirin, etc.)
Oven cleaner sprays
Presciption & over-the-counter meds
Rat and mouse bait
Sharp objects (knives, razors, scissors, nails, needles, etc.)
Slug and snail bait
Socks (choking hazard)
Solvents (paint thinners, etc.)
SPECIFIC TO HOLIDAYS
Tinsel, small toys, chocolate, xylitol, small Christmas ornaments, holiday plants, ribbons, decoration hooks, styrofoam
Confetti, balloons, alcohol, load noises (see 4th July)
Flowers: See PLANTS above
Fake grass, small toys, chocolate, xylitol
4th of July
Fireworks: Not only can they cause injury, but they can scare your dog and cause them to run off.
chocolate, xylitol, candles, mean kids pulling cruel pranks
Bones, artificial sweeteners and some nuts in baked goods, hot containers
Along with these lists, I keep this number:
Poison Control Hotline
888-426-4435, Toll-Free Number.
It is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
There is a consult fee of $60, payable by credit card. This includes follow-up consultation (they provide a special number) with you or your vet throughout the case.
You will need to have the following information ready:
- Species, breed, age, sex, weight and number of animals involved
- Substance (if known), the amount and the time since ingestion or exposure
- Product packaging for reference
If your animal is having seizures, losing consciousness, is unconscious or is having trouble breathing, call ahead and take him or her immediately to your vet or to an emergency vet clinic. Take any product packaging with you.
Keep emergency numbers at the ready: your vet, emergency vet and the poison control hotline. Keep directions to your vet and emergency vet in an accessible place, and remember to leave information for pet sitters.
Here are more worthwhile tips and information from Animal Poison Control.
Animal Poison Control First Aid Kit Recommendations
- Fresh bottle of hydrogen peroxide, 3% (to induce vomiting)
- Turkey baster, bulb syringe or large medicine syringe (to give peroxide)
- Saline eye solution
- Artificial tear gel
- Mild grease-cutting dish-washing liquid (bathing after skin contamination)
- Forceps (stinger removal)
- Muzzle (to protect against fear or excitement-induced biting)
- Can of favorite wet food
- Pet carrier
Web Resources from Animal Poison Control
- What To Do If Your Pet Is Poisoned
- Poison Control FAQ
- ASPCA Poisonous Household Products
- People Foods To Avoid Feeding Your Pets
- Top Pet Poisons
- Toxic & Non-Toxic Plants (searchable database)