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Signs & Symptoms of Poisoning in Pets

Pets love to explore their surroundings, but this can land them in all kinds of trouble. While you do not want to imagine your pet eating things he or she should not, accidental poisoning is more prevalent than you think.

The home can be an unsafe environment for pets because it is packed with potentially toxic items. A dog or cat can find leftover food or lay their paws on rat bait, leaving them fatally ill. Here is what can be toxic to pets and the signs of accidental poisoning to look out for.


What Is Poisonous/Toxic to Pets?

With pets being curious and occasionally sneaky, open cupboards and containers make for difficult situations. Common household risks include household or environmental items and human food.

  • Human food: The most common poisonous foods for pets include chocolate, garlic, onion, raisins, grapes, sultanas, dairy, salt, macadamia nuts, xylitol, and fatty meats. If you like to feed your furry friend from your plate, be mindful of these basic ingredients.
  • Flowers: Often ignored poisonous substances are flowers and plants. While these certainly perk up your space, some plants and flowers are poisonous to pets. These include lilies, rhododendrons, and azaleas. Sago palms, Moses in the cradle, and yesterday-today-tomorrow are other plants toxic to pets.
  • Household items: Things you use daily can harm your pet, including human medication and drugs, cleaning chemicals and products, and pet medication.
  • Animal poisons: Some animals intoxicate pets by releasing poison if they feel threatened. The dangerous animal toxins are snake bite venom, insect stings or bite poison, cane toad toxin, tick bite paralytics, and pufferfish toxin.

Signs and Symptoms of Pet Poisoning

Signs and symptoms of pet poisoning differ depending on how much poison is in your pet. These vary from minor to more severe warning signs.

The minor indications include:

  • Diarrhea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Sneezing.
  • Coughing.
  • Weariness.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Drooling.
  • Increased thirst.
  • Swelling.
  • Skin irritation.
  • Increased urination or inability to urinate.
  • Pale gums.
  • Abdominal aches.

The more severe warning signs include:

  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Fast heartbeat.
  • Agitation or extreme nervousness.
  • Trembling.
  • Seizures.
  • Loss of coordination.

These signs and symptoms do not apply to all pets. While some pets may display them, others might not appear ill at all. This could either be because some poisons take longer to react than others or because your pet may not have swallowed enough to get sick. Some poisons are only deadly if taken in large quantities.

If you suspect your pet has ingested poison, vets do not advise you to wait and watch what happens. Your pet can develop organ failure in the space of 72 hours after consuming the poison.

The biggest indication that your furry friend has ingested a toxin is a torn wrapper, an open container, or an empty cover. If it seems your pet is responsible, assume they may be in danger of being intoxicated.


To know more about pet poisoning, visit Santa Monica Pet Medical Center at our office in Santa Monica, California. You can also call (310) 393-8218 to book an appointment today.

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