How to Tell if Your Pet is Poisoned

By July 5, 2018Pet Health & Safety

Poisoned PetFrom foods to household products, many of the things you enjoy in your everyday life can actually be toxic to your pets. Even if you’re careful, accidental pet poisonings are more common than you may think: in 2016, the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center received more than 180,000 calls from pet owners whose dogs or cats ate something poisonous to them.

Knowing what is poisonous to your pet and being able to recognize the symptoms of poisoning can help you save their life.

Common Toxins and Poisonous Substances

For cats and dogs alike, many common items in your home can be hazardous. These include:

  • Human medications
  • Insecticides and rodenticides (any kind of poison)
  • Cleaning products
  • Paint
  • Lawn and garden products
  • Veterinary medications (when consumed over the daily dose guidelines)

Many plants are also hazardous to pet health, such as:

  • Tomatoes (the leaves are toxic to pets)
  • Raw potatoes
  • Crocus
  • Lilies
  • Tulips
  • Azaleas

For a full list of toxic and non-toxic plants, visit the ASPCA Poisonous Plants list.

Your table food isn’t always great for your pets, either. Avoid feeding them the following:

  • Alliums—onions, garlic, chives, and any foods seasoned with them
  • Fried or fatty foods
  • Grapes
  • Chocolate
  • Nuts, especially macadamia nuts
  • Raw meat
  • Salty snacks
  • Xylitol (a common low-calorie sugar substitute found in processed foods, mints, gum, and more)

For more information on foods to avoid feeding your pet, see the ASPCA list of People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets.

Signs of Poisoning

Different toxins have different effects. Poisons can affect your pet’s intestines, nerves, heart, lungs, blood, liver, kidneys, and more. These are some sure signs that your pet may have been poisoned:

  • Intestinal issues: If your pet is vomiting, salivating excessively, or has diarrhea, make sure to pay extra attention. These symptoms on their own don’t necessarily mean your pet is poisoned, but if they’re also otherwise unwell, there is blood in their fluids, or if you see anything else unusual in their vomit or stool, contact your vet.
  • Nerve problems: Twitching, tremors, wobbliness, seizures, and other kinds of fits can be symptoms of poisoning.
  • Lack of appetite
  • Unquenchable thirst
  • Rash or irritation
  • Lethargy

If you suspect your pet has been poisoned, call your veterinarian immediately. At the Veterinary Regional Referral Hospital, we offer daytime and after-hour emergency services. Call our main line at 256-350-7001 and we’ll help guide you through your emergency.