Poison Control and Toxicity Info
Poison Control Hotlines
It’s always a good idea to post close at hand your veterinarian’s number, the number of an emergency clinic, and the number for the Poison Control Center. Before you call, note the time your pet was exposed to the toxin, the type of product ingested, the manufacturer’s name and any ingredients you can find listed on packaging.
ASPCA Ani-Med 1.888.721.9100
ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center 1.888.426.4435
National Animal Poison Control Center 1.800.548.2423
If you need to speak to a veterinarian there, this service will be billed to a credit card. An alternate number is (900) 680-0000. A veterinarian’s services on this line will cost a flat fee for the first five minutes, and an additional fee per minute for each additional minute. These charges will be billed to your phone bill. (Call them for current pricing)
Pet Lover’s Helpline 1.900.776.0007
Tuft University School of Veterinary Medicine 508.839.5395
Plants and Foods Toxic to Pets
Here is a quick reference guide to the more common house and garden plants and foods (and other substances) that are toxic to most all animals. If you have these plants or foods, you need not dispose of them–just keep them away from your pets. Although it is impossible to list all possible poisons, these guidelines may help you begin to remove or place out of reach most potential problems.
This list is NOT ALL INCLUSIVE and may not include items poisonous to Hamsters/Guinea Pigs/Iguanas/etc
* Indicates that a substance is especially dangerous and can be fatal.
Foods which are toxic and poisonous to pets:
Alcohol (all alcoholic beverages, ethanol, methanol, isopropyl)
Broccoli (in large amounts)
Chocolate (all types)*
Coffee grounds, beans & tea (caffeine)
Hops (used in home brewing)
Potato (leaves & stem, peelings, and unripe green potatoes)
Sugar Free items with Xylitol (see below)***
Tomatoes (leaves & stem, and green tomatoes)
Plants which are toxic and/or poisonous to pets:
Apple seeds (contain cyanide)
Autumn crocus (Colchicum Autumnale)*
Avocado (leaves, seeds, stem, skin)* (fatal to birds)
Azalea (entire rhododendron family)
Bird of Paradise
Castor bean or castor oil plant* (can be fatal if chewed)
Cherry pits (contain cyanide)
Cherry Chinese sacred or heavenly bamboo*
Chocolate Choke cherry, unripe berries*
Chrysanthemum (a natural source of pyrethrins)
Croton (Codiaeum sp.)
Crown of Thorns
Delphinium, larkspur, monkshood*
Dumb cane (Dieffenbachia)*
Elderberry, unripe berries*
English ivy (All Hedera species of ivy)
Jerusalem Cherry, Winter Cherry (Solanum pseudocarpum)
Jimsonweed* (Datur stramonium, D. metaloides, D. arborea)
Lily (bulbs of most species)
Lily (Easter Lily, Tiger Lily)
Marijuana or hemp (Cannabis)
Mostera, aka Split-Leaf Philodendron or Swiss Cheese Plant
Mushrooms & Toadstools (various)
Nightshade (various species)
Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans)
Oak* (remove bark for use as a bird perch)
Pencil cactus/plant* (Euphorbia sp.)
Periwinkle (Vinca rosea)
Peyote (Lophophora williamsii)
Philodendron (all species)*
Poinsettia (many hybrids, avoid them all)
Potato (leaves & stem, peelings, unripe green potatoes)
Precatory Beans (Crabs Eye, Rosary Pea, Jequirity Bean) Used in jewelry. Extremely toxic when seedcoat is broken, as it is when the seeds are strung
Rosary Pea (Arbus sp.) (can be fatal if chewed)
Scheffelera (umbrella plant)*
Shamrock (Oxalis sp.)*
Spurge (Euphorbia sp.)
Tomatoes (leaves & stem, green tomatoes)
Other substances that are very harmful include (but are not limited to):
Cigarettes and other nicotine products and smoke
Crayons (dangerous for birds)
Laundry supplies & fabric softener
Nail Polish & Nail Polish Remover
Rust (dangerous for birds)
Sugar Free foods (see below)***
Wood preservatives and shellac
Xylitol sweetener – found in many diet drinks
Fumes dangerous to birds: smoke-filled air, insecticide spray, deodorizers, spray cleaners, fumes from fresh paint, gas, and overheated Teflon (very deadly).
Chocolate/Caffiene: Chocolate contains theobromine, a compound that is a cardiac stimulant and a diuretic. After their pet has eaten a large quantity of chocolate, many pet owners assume their pet is unaffected. However, the signs of sickness may not be seen for several hours, with death following within twenty-four hours. Symptoms include Staggering, labored breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, tremors, fever, heart rate increase, arrhythmia, seizures, coma, death. Cocoa powder and cooking chocolate are the most toxic forms. A 10-kilogram dog can be seriously affected if it eats a quarter of a 250gm packet of cocoa powder or half of a 250gm block of cooking chocolate. These forms of chocolate contain ten times more theobromine than milk chocolate. Thus, a chocolate mud cake could be a real health risk for a small dog. Even licking a substantial part of the chocolate icing from a cake can make a dog unwell. Semi-sweet chocolate and dark chocolate are the next most dangerous forms, with milk chocolate being the least dangerous. A dog needs to eat more than a 250gm block of milk chocolate to be affected. Obviously, the smaller the dog, the less it needs to eat.
Onions/Garlic: Onions and garlic contain the toxic ingredient thiosulphate. Onions are more of a danger. Pets affected by onion toxicity will develop haemolytic anaemia, where the pet’s red blood cells burst while circulating in its body. Symptoms include Hemolytic Anemia, labored breathing, liver damage, vomiting, diarrhea, discolored urine. The poisoning occurs a few days after the pet has eaten the onion. All forms of onion can be a problem including dehydrated onions, raw onions, cooked onions and table scraps containing cooked onions and/or garlic. Left over pizza, Chinese dishes and commercial baby food containing onion, sometimes fed as a supplement to young pets, can cause illness. While garlic also contains the toxic ingredient thiosulphate, it seems that garlic is less toxic and large amounts would need to be eaten to cause illness.
Grapes/Raisins: As few as a handful of raisins or grapes can make a dog/cat ill; however, of the 10 cases reported to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), each dog ingested between 9 ounces and 2 pounds of grapes or raisins. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and lethargy.
Macadamia Nuts: Macadamia nuts are another concern, along with most other kinds of nuts. Their high phosphorus content is said to possibly lead to bladder stones. Dogs develop a tremor of the skeletal muscles, and weakness or paralysis of the hindquarters. Affected dogs are often unable to rise and are distressed, usually panting. Some affected dogs have swollen limbs and show pain when the limbs are manipulated.
Bones from fish, poultry, or other meat sources: Can cause obstruction or laceration of the digestive system. Cooked bones splinter EVEN MORE.
Milk and other dairy products: Some adult dogs and cats do not have sufficient amounts of the enzyme lactase, which breaks down the lactose in milk. This can result in diarrhea. Lactose-free milk products are available for pets.
Raw Eggs: Contain an enzyme called avidin, which decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin). This can lead to skin and hair coat problems. Raw eggs may also contain Salmonella.
***Sugar Free foods with Xylitol: Veterinarians warn that a commonly used sweetener might cause liver failure in dogs, and perhaps even kill them. Researchers said for dogs, ingesting even a small amount of xylitol, found in many sugar-free foods, can trigger significant insulin release, which drops their blood sugar and can be fatal. Their report in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association appears to strengthen the suspected link between the sugar substitute xylitol, thought to make dogs sick, and possible liver failure. Xylitol, a naturally occurring product, is found in many sugar-free chewing gums, candies, baked goods and toothpastes. Researchers Sharon Gwaltney-Brant and Eric Dunayer with staff at a poison unit of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Urbana, Illinois, gathered information on eight dogs treated between 2003 and 2005 after eating products containing xylitol. Each dog became ill, and five died or had to be put down because of liver failure, possibly from ingesting xylitol. One dog who had to be euthanized had eaten four large, chocolate-frosted muffins containing about 1 pound of xylitol. “People don’t think sugar-free gum can kill their dog. I didn’t before I got into this. But this is something people should be aware of,” Gwaltney-Brant, who co-authored the study with Dunayer, said in a statement. Gwaltney-Brant said for dogs, ingesting even a small amount of xylitol can trigger significant insulin release, which drops their blood sugar and can be fatal. “A 22-pound dog who consumes one gram of xylitol should be treated,” she said, adding that further studies were needed to definitely establish a cause-and-effect relationship.
NOTE: Pets owners should not assume that human food is always safe for pets. When it comes to chocolate, onions, garlic, raisins/grapes and macadamia nuts, such foods should not be given at all. Be sure that your pets can’t get into your stash of chocolates, that food scraps are disposed of carefully to prevent onion and garlic toxicity and that your dog is prevented from picking up macadamia nuts if you have a tree in your garden.
Top 10 Human Medications That Poison Our Pets from aspca.org
Although pet parents are well aware of poisons lurking around their home, many don’t realize that some of the biggest culprits are sitting right on their own nightstands. In 2007, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center received 89,000 calls related to pets ingesting over-the-counter and prescription medications. To help you prevent an accident from happening, our experts have created a list of the top 10 human medications that most often poison our furry friends.
If you suspect your pet has ingested any of the following items, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center’s 24-hour hotline at (888) 426-4435. And remember to keep all medications tucked away in bathroom cabinets—and far from curious cats and dogs.
NSAIDs NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen or naproxen are the most common cause of pet poisoning in small animals, and can cause serious problems even in minimal doses. Pets are extremely sensitive to their effects, and may experience stomach and intestinal ulcers and—in the case of cats—kidney damage.
Antidepressants Antidepressants can cause vomiting and lethargy and certain types can lead to serotonin syndrome—a condition marked by agitation, elevated body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure, disorientation, vocalization, tremors and seizures.
Acetaminophen Cats are especially sensitive to acetaminophen, which can damage red blood cells and interfere with their ability to transport oxygen. In dogs, it can cause liver damage and, at higher doses, red blood cell damage.
Methylphenidate (for ADHD) Medications used to treat ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) in people act as stimulants in pets and can dangerously elevate heart rates, blood pressure and body temperature, as well as cause seizures.
Fluorouracil Fluorouracil—an anti-cancer drug—is used topically to treat minor skin cancers and solar keratitis in humans. It has proven to be rapidly fatal to dogs, causing severe vomiting, seizures and cardiac arrest even in those who’ve chewed on discarded cotton swabs used to apply the medication.
Isoniazid Often the first line of defense against tuberculosis, isoniazid is particularly toxic for dogs because they don’t metabolize it as well as other species. It can cause a rapid onset of severe seizures that may ultimately result in death.
Pseudoephedrine Pseudoephedrine is a popular decongestant in many cold and sinus products, and acts like a stimulant if accidentally ingested by pets. In cats and dogs, it causes elevated heart rates, blood pressure and body temperature as well as seizures.
Anti-diabetic Many oral diabetes treatments—including glipizide and glyburide—can cause a major drop in blood sugar levels of affected pets. Clinical signs of ingestion include disorientation, lack of coordination and seizures.
Vitamin D derivatives Even small exposures to Vitamin D analogues like calcipotriene and calcitriol can cause life-threatening spikes in blood calcium levels in pets. Clinical signs of exposure—including vomiting, loss of appetite, increased urination and thirst due to kidney failure—often don’t occur for more than 24 hours after ingestion.
Baclofen Baclofen is a muscle relaxant that can impair the central nervous systems of cats and dogs. Some symptoms of ingestion include significant depression, disorientation, vocalization, seizures and coma, which can lead to death.
PET FOOD RECALL INFO ASPCA
Updates Pet foods NOT on the recall list
NEWSFLASH from ASPCA.ORG – STICKY SITUATIONS: 740% INCREASE IN CASES OF PETS INGESTING POLYURETHANE GLUE
Imagine this scenario: a young boxer pup chews open a tube of polyurethane glue, accidentally left out when his owners were doing home repairs. The pup swallows some of the glue, and the next morning, he refuses breakfast and begins vomiting. His swollen abdomen seems tender to the touch. The concerned owners rush their pet to the local animal hospital, where they discover a large mass in the pup’s stomach. Surgery is required to remove the softball-sized lump of expanded and solidified polyurethane glue. Unfortunately, this scenario has played out many times all across the country. Since 2005, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center has managed more than 135 cases involving exposures to adhesives containing diphenylmethane diisocyanate. But what’s more astounding? This number represents an increase of more than 740 percent since 2002. Whether this is due to the growing popularity of do-it-yourself projects or the increased use of this kind of adhesive, the importance of alerting pet owners is clear. “A dog consuming even small amounts of adhesive containing diphenylmethane diisocyanate can experience serious problems, as the product expands in the warm, moist environment of the stomach, forming a porous mass of glue,” explains the APCC’s Dr. Steven Hansen, Senior Vice President and board-certified veterinary toxicologist. “This mass can block the gastrointestinal tract and cause a life-threatening surgical emergency.” As diphenylmethane diisocyanate may not always be listed on the label, pet owners should consider any expanding adhesive product a potential hazard, and should take care to keep these products out of their animal companions’ reach. If you suspect that your pet has ingested adhesive containing diphenylmethane diisocyanate—or any other potentially dangerous substance—call your veterinarian or the APCC’s emergency hotline at (888) 426-4435 for round-the-clock telephone assistance. For more pet poison prevention tips, please visit APCC online.