Top Toxins for Cats and Dogs + Symptoms of Poisoning


Cats and Dogs have different "affinities", they tend to get into trouble with different hazards. We have also included a list of the most commonly reported incidents involving human medications. There are different "poison lists" out there, the lists below are from Pet Poison Helpline Centre in Canada, US and the Caribbean.

(Related Blog: When should I take my pet to emergency vet care)

Most Reported Poisons for Dogs:

  1. Chocolate
  2. Mouse and Rat Poisons (rodenticides)
  3. Anti-inflammatory medications
  4. Xylitol (sugar-free gum & more)
  5. Grapes & Raisins
  6. Antidepressant Medications
  7. Acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol)
  8. Vitamin D Overdose
  9. Stimulant Medications (e.g., for ADD/ADHD)
  10. Fertilizers

Most Reported Poisons for Cats:

  1. Lilies (Lilium species)
  2. Spot-on flea/tick medication for dogs
  3. Household Cleaners
  4. Antidepressant Medications
  5. Essential Oils
  6. Anti-inflammatory Medications
  7. Mouse & Rat Poisons (rodenticides)
  8. Stimulant Medications (e.g., for ADD/ADHD)
  9. Onions & Garlic
  10. Vitamin D Overdose


Most Common Medications which can be Poisonous to Pets

Ibuprofen (e.g., Advil and some types of Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve).  Pets may develop serious stomach and intestinal ulcers as well as kidney failure.

Acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol)
One regular strength tablet of may damage a cat’s red blood cells. In dogs, acetaminophen leads to liver failure and, in large doses, red blood cell damage.

Antidepressants (e.g. Effexor, Cymbalta, Prozac, Lexapro)
Overdoses can lead to serious neurological problems and may cause dangerously elevated heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature. Many cats like the taste of Effexor. Unfortunately, just one pill can cause serious poisoning.

ADD/ADHD medications (e.g. Concerta, Adderall, Ritalin)
Minimal ingestions can cause life-threatening tremors, seizures, elevated body temperatures and heart problems.

Benzodiazepines and sleep aids (e.g. Xanax, Klonopin, Ambien, Lunesta)
These medications may bring the opposite effect in pets.  Dogs may become agitated instead. For cats, some forms of benzodiazepines can cause liver failure when ingested.

Birth control (e.g. estrogen, estradiol, progesterone)
Large ingestions can cause bone marrow suppression. Intact female pets are at an increased risk of side effects from estrogen

ACE Inhibitors (e.g. Zestril, Altace)
Also used in pets but overdoses can cause low blood pressure, dizziness and weakness.

Beta-blockers (e.g. Tenormin, Toprol, Coreg)
Small ingestions may cause serious poisoning. Overdoses can cause life-threatening decreases in blood pressure and very slow heart rate.

Thyroid hormones (e.g. Armour desiccated thyroid, Synthroid)
Large acute overdoses can cause muscle tremors, nervousness, panting, a rapid heart rate and aggression.

Cholesterol lowering agents (e.g. Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor)
Serious side effects  come with long-term use, not one-time ingestions.

    Main types of Poisoning Symptoms

    ~~ GASTROINTESTINAL e.g. Vomiting, Nausea, Diarrhea, Drooling

    ~~ INTERNAL BLEEDING e.g. Coughing or vomiting blood, Pale gum, Elevated heart rate, Lethargy

    ~~ KIDNEY FAILURE e.g. Vomiting, Diarrhea, Uremic breath, No appetite, No or excessive urination, Very thirsty

    ~~ LIVER FAILURE e.g. Jaundice, Collapse, Vomiting, Black stool

    Source: Pet poison Helpline


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