Beware of common pet poisons

Common Household Items That Pose a Poison Threat to Your Pets


In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, it’s easy to overlook the potential dangers lurking in our homes, especially when it comes to our pets. While we strive to create a safe environment for our pets, certain everyday items can pose a serious risk to their health if ingested. In this article, we’ll explore some common household items that may seem harmless to us, but can be poisonous to our beloved pets.

1. Chocolate:

While indulging in a piece of chocolate may be a treat for us, it can spell disaster for our pets, especially dogs and cats. Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, which are toxic to animals and can lead to symptoms ranging from vomiting and diarrhea to seizures and even death. It’s crucial to keep all forms of chocolate, including cocoa powder, baking chocolate, and chocolate-containing products, safely out of reach of our furry friends.

2. Xylitol:

Xylitol is a sugar substitute commonly found in sugar-free gum, candies, baked goods, and even some peanut butter brands. While it’s harmless to humans, xylitol can cause a rapid release of insulin in dogs, leading to dangerously low blood sugar levels and potentially fatal liver damage. Always check the labels of products for xylitol content, and keep them securely stored away from pets.

3. Household Plants:

Many common household plants, such as lilies, poinsettias, philodendrons, and aloe vera, can be toxic to pets if ingested. Symptoms of plant poisoning in pets may include vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, lethargy, and in severe cases, organ failure. To prevent accidental ingestion, research pet-safe plants or keep toxic plants out of reach or entirely out of your home. You can get more detail about toxic plants in our blog post on the subject.

4. Household Cleaners:

While keeping our homes clean is essential, many household cleaners contain chemicals that can be harmful to pets if ingested or inhaled. Bleach, ammonia, and disinfectants can cause irritation to the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract, while drain cleaners and oven cleaners are highly toxic if ingested. Whenever possible, opt for pet-safe cleaning products or store hazardous cleaners in secure cabinets inaccessible to pets.

5. Medications:

Over-the-counter and prescription medications intended for human use can be poisonous to pets if ingested accidentally. Common culprits include pain relievers (e.g., acetaminophen, ibuprofen), antidepressants, and heart medications. Even seemingly harmless supplements like vitamins and herbal remedies can pose a risk to pets. Always store medications securely and out of reach of curious pets, and never administer any medication to your pet without consulting a veterinarian.

6. Antifreeze/Coolant:

Antifreeze/coolant, used in cars to prevent freezing or overheating, contains ethylene glycol, a highly toxic substance that can be lethal to pets even in small amounts. Unfortunately, antifreeze/coolant has a sweet taste that may attract animals, making accidental ingestion a common occurrence. Symptoms of antifreeze poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and seizures, with rapid progression to kidney failure and death. Ensure that any spills or leaks are cleaned up immediately, and store antifreeze/coolant containers securely away from pets.


As responsible pet own-ers, it’s our duty to safeguard our furry friends from potential hazards in our homes. By being aware of common household items that pose a poison threat to pets and taking proactive measures to prevent exposure, we can help keep our beloved companions safe and healthy. Remember, when in doubt, always consult your veterinarian for guidance on pet safety and poisoning prevention. If you suspect you pet has ingested something poisonous, please contact the ASPCA Poison Contro hotline at 888-426-4435 or online here.