Is your pet out of harm’s way?

Toxic chemicals, dangerous plants, as well as products and substances found in everyday surroundings can be poisonous or even fatal to animals. Unfortunately, a pet can ingest a household chemical, lap up a liquid, or chew on a seemingly harmless plant – and become sick or even die.

Have a look around the home, accidents can happen quickly. Here are some preventative measures that can help:

  • Keep medicine, household cleaner, pesticides & automotive products locked up or stored out of reach of pets and children.
  • Before using any household or yard product, always read the label first and follow instructions exactly for safe use, storage and disposal.
  • Never give any medication or supplement to your pet without first consulting your veterinarian. What’s helpful to humans can be dangerous or even deadly to pets.
  • Always read the label before using any flea control product on or around your pet. For example, flea products labelled “For dogs only” can cause serious or life-threatening illness if used on cats.

It may surprise you how many substances found in and around your home can be dangerous to your pet.


  • In the garbage: fatty off cuts causing pancreatitis; off chicken containing E coli & Salmonella; cooked bones causing obstruction; even coffee grounds (caffeine causes increased heart rate, hyperactivity, shaking or seizures).
  • Foods: grapes or sultanas cause cause kidney failure & possibly death in pets; chocolate; yeast dough; avocado; alcohol; tea; macadamia nuts; onions; salt; fatty foods; foods containing the sweetener xylitol eg peanut butter, chewing gum.
  • Painkillers and medications: do not give your pet human medication without consulting a veterinarian.
  • Soaps, detergents & cleansers: can cause stomach upset, drooling, vomiting &/or diarrhoea. Bleaches can cause severe oral burns & irritation to the respiratory tract.

Bedroom / Living Room

  • Mothballs: can cause vomiting, lethargy, seizures, haemolytic anaemia & even death. Ingestion of even one mothball in a small pet can cause serius signs.
  • Batteries: can cause oral ulcers, burns, perforation or blockage of the gastrointestinal tract.

Garage / Backyard

  • Antifreeze: can be fatal to dogs & cats, even in very small amounts.
  • Petrol: can irritate skin & mucous membranes. Exposure can lead to central nervous system depression, vomiting, drooling, diarrhoea & aspiration.
  • Insecticides & herbicides: always follow label directions; keep pets away from the area of application for the time recommended.
  • Glues & adhesives: apart from sealing body parts, some can cause stomach upset & others can expand to cause gastric obstruction.

Potentially Dangerous Plants

  • Plants harmful to the heart are: liliy of the valley, oleander, rhododendron, azalea, yew, foxglove & kalanchoe.
  • Plants that can cause kidney failure: rhubarb leaves & shamrock; & especially lilies in cats.
  • Plants that can cause liver failure include sago palms, cycad palms & some species of mushrooms.
  • A particularly dangerous plant is Brunfelsia (Yesterday Today & Tomorrow). It causes vomiting, facial twitching, seizures and possibly death.
  • Corn plant, ribbon plant & other Dracaenia species can cause abdominal plant, vomiting, depression, weakness, drooling, loss of appetite, incoordination, dilated pupils, difficulty breathing & elevated heart rate.
  • Castor bean (Ricinus species) can cause renal failure, convulsions & death.

Contact Quakers Hill Veterinary Hospital immediately on 9626 9561 if you suspect your pet has swallowed a suspicious item or substance.

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