Beware of Common Things That Poison Cats and Dogs
A Companion Animal Care Article from

This Companion Animal Care directory is presented to help people seeking reliable resources, tips, and information for companion animals.


National Humane Education Society

This is ONLY A PARTIAL LIST of potential poisons and toxics that may cause harm to your companion animals.

Be sure to “pet proof” your home and yard against these common pet poisons.


  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Chocolate (baker's, semi-sweet, milk chocolate)
  • Coffee (grounds, beans, chocolate covered espresso beans)
  • Moldy or spoiled foods
  • Onions, onion powder
  • Salt Yeast dough
  • Grapes and Raisins: According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, grapes and raisins are dangerous for dogs.

Liquid Potpourri

Cats are often exposed to liquid potpourri by direct ingestion from simmer pots or spills, or by rubbing against leaky bottles or simmer pots containing the potpourri, or from spilling the containers on themselves. Oral exposures result following grooming. Exposure of cats to some types of liquid potpourris can result in severe mouth, skin, and eye damage.


Prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs must be kept out of the reach of your pets, preferably in closed cabinets. Common examples of human medication that could be potentially lethal even in small dosages include:

  • Pain killers
  • Cold medicines
  • Anti-cancer drugs
  • Anti-depressants
  • Vitamins
  • Diet pills

During the holidays, many vet clinics have limited office hours. Sometimes pet owners try to medicate their animals without their veterinarian's advice. Never give your pet any medications unless under the directions of a veterinarian. Many that are used safely in humans can be deadly when used inappropriately.


This list is a collection of some common toxic plants. It is NOT a list of ALL poisonous plants. In some vegetation, only certain parts of the plants are toxic. In others, all parts are poisonous. If your pet ingests a toxic plant, do not delay in getting your pet to a veterinarian.

  • Lilies that may be found in holiday flower arrangements could be deadly to your cat, such as: Tiger, Asian, Japanese Show, Easter, Stargazer, and the Casa Blanca. These can cause kidney failure in cats.
  • Poinsettias are generally over-rated in toxicity, but if ingested, can be irritating to the mouth and stomach, and may cause mild vomiting or nausea.
  • Mistletoe has the potential to cause cardiovascular problems, but usually only causes gastrointestinal upset.
  • Holly ingestion could cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and lethargy.
  • Other plants include: dieffenbachia, ivy all varieties, lilies of the valley, caladium, cala lilies, oleander, primroses, philodendrons and rhododendrons.


Even in small amounts anti-freeze is very dangerous. As little as one teaspoon of antifreeze can be deadly to a pet. Thoroughly clean up any spills, store antifreeze in tightly closed containers and store in secured cabinets.

Ice Melting Products

These can be irritating to skin and mouth. Depending on the actual ingredient of the ice melt and the quantity, signs of ingestion would include excessive drooling, depression, vomiting or even electrolyte imbalances.

Be Prepared!

Your pet may become poisoned in spite of your best efforts to prevent it. Keep the telephone numbers for your own vet, a local emergency veterinary service, and the ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center (1-888-426-4435) in a convenient location. If you suspect that your pet has ingested something poisonous, seek medical attention immediately.

Return to Companion Animal Care