pills in bottle

This article reviews different types of toxins and how it can potentially affect your pets. If you believe your pet has ingested a toxin, please reach out to your veterinarian as soon as possible or contact ASPCA Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.

Possible side effects due to toxin ingestion are listed below. It may take a few hours to a few days for your pet to experience symptoms depending on the toxin ingested.

Gastrointestinal signs Vomiting Diarrhea
Black-tarry stool Drooling/hypersalivation Nausea
Inappetence Coughing (with blood) Vomiting blood
Pale gums Racing heart Weakness or lethargy
Dull mentation Collapse Halitosis (‘uremic’ breath)
Excessive thirst or urination Absence or decreased urination Jaundice/yellow discoloration of the gums

Safety tips:

It is best to keep pet medications separate from human medications in your home. Keep these medications in different cabinets or areas of your home to decrease confusion. It is common for owners to accidentally give their pet their own medication by accident. Keep your medications and supplements in a safe place that is up high and out of reach to reduce the risk of ingestion.

It is very important to keep your medications in a plastic bottle or vial. Do not keep medications in a plastic bag because pets can easily chew through the bag to get the pills. Place purses, duffel bags and backpacks up high or in closets/cabinets so that pets don’t have the chance to rummage through them to find potential toxins.

Never assume that a children’s medication is okay to give to your pet. Always contact your vet prior to giving any over-the-counter medication. Don’t assume your pet can handle the medication just because it is a children’s dose. Some over-the-counter medications and supplements can be very harmful to your pet.

Top 10 ingested toxins:

Top toxins ingested by dogs:

Xylitol (sugar free gum)
Chocolate Rodenticides
Anti-inflammatory medications (Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen, etc)
Stimulant medications (Adderall, Concerta, Ritalin)
Antidepressant medications (Prozac, Zoloft, Lexapro)
Vitamin D

Top 10 toxins ingested by cats:

Essential Oils
Topical flea and tick preventative
Cleaning products
Antidepressant medications (Prozac, Zoloft, Lexapro)
Stimulant medications (Adderall, Concerta, Ritalin)
Anti-inflammatory medications (Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen, etc)

There are many medications and supplements that can be harmful to your pets. Plants and human medications are also common toxins ingested by pets. Some plants are so toxic that a pet only needs to eat a few leaves to become severely ill. Toxic plants can potentially cause kidney failure, gastrointestinal signs, irritation of the mouth, hypersalivation, and potentially death if not treated promptly. Be sure to double check if your new plant is safe for your pet before placing it in your home.

Please be sure to store human medications in a separate cabinet from your pet’s medications. It is important to keep medications in a secure cabinet or up high away from your pet’s reach. Human medications can possibly cause gastrointestinal issues, seizures, kidney failure, elevated body temperature, cardiac arrhythmias, incoordination and potentially death if not treated. Below is a list of toxic plants and human medications.

Top toxic plants ingested by cats and dogs:

Autumn Crocus
Sago Palm

Most common toxic human medications that dogs and cats ingest:

NSAIDs (Advil, Aleve and Motrin, Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen)
Birth control
Thyroid hormones
Stimulant medications (Adderall, Concerta, Ritalin)
Cholesterol lowering agents (Lipitor, Altoprev, Pravastatin)
ACE Inhibitors (Enalapril, Benazepril, Altace)
Antidepressant medications (Prozac, Zoloft, Lexapro)
Benzodiazepines (Lunesta, Ambien, Xanax)
Beta-blockers (Propanolol, Atenolol, Coreg)

Most common toxic human supplements that dogs and cats ingest:

Coffee/Caffein pills
Alpha lipoic acid
Vitamin D3