One of the other big food ones that many people are still unaware of is xylitol. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener used in many different things, like toothpaste, peanut butter, chewing gum, and sugar free candies. It is processed differently in dogs than in humans, and can cause serious problems even in small doses. Other artificial sweeteners can be dangerous, and some can even be found in dental products for pets. Make sure you are always using veterinary approved products, and follow dosing instructions closely, make sure you know the weight of your pet.
Other toxicities found in the kitchen include grapes (and therefore, raisins) garlic, onion, chocolate of course, macadamia nuts, caffeine, and alcohol.
A little greenery in the house can bring joy, especially when it is cold and gray still outside, but if you have pets, you need to do your research before deciding what plants or flowers to bring into your home. Plants to avoid are lilies, sago palm, tulips, daffodils, rhododendron, oleander, castor bean, cyclamen, kalanchoe, yew, amaryllis, crocus, chrysanthemum, english ivy, pothos, and schefflera.
All these plants, if ingested by your pets, can cause various symptoms from GI upset, to cardiac arrest, seizures, and death. For more information, go to Veterinary Partner's Toxic Plant Section.
There is one more plant that can be toxic, cannabis, which crosses over into the medications that are also toxic. It can be dangerous and even fatal for your pet to ingest cannabis. If you suspect this has happened, please contact your vet and let us know what has happened. Knowing what an animal has ingested can be the difference between life and death in terms of treatment. We are not there to judge you, we only want the best chance of recovery for your pet.
Also never give your pet Tylenol, and consult with your vet before giving NSAIDS (Advil, Aleve, Aspirin, etc.) There are veterinary preparations of NSAIDs for your pet, and it is much safer to use these as NSAIDs can be harmful to your pets’ internal organs. Generally, your medicine cabinet should be off-limits to your pet, as there are many antidepressants and ADHD medications that can be harmful too. If you notice symptoms in your pet, and you suspect a medication related toxicity, please let your vet know. We are bound by the same confidentiality rules as your own doctor, and will treat you with the same level of professionalism.
When it comes to medication, even veterinary products can be dangerous for species they were not prescribed to. Make sure to follow your vets directions, and only use a medication for the animal it has been prescribed to. A good example of this is topical pyrethrins used for flea treatments. They are sometimes used for dogs, but should never be used for cats, or for dogs that live with cats (because the cat might ‘groom’ the dog by licking) unless the animals can be separated for several hours until the treatment is completely dry.
There is a world of things out there that our pets can get into that may be harmful. I’ve only touched on a few of the bigger ones here, but any time your pet falls ill, keep in mind anything in your house that could be a culprit. The more your vet knows, the more likely they will be to help your pet.