21 Sunday July 2019
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Poisonous to Pets:

Poisonous to Pets

Introduction to the poisons that are common dangers to our pets. A few comments about Garbagitis, Food Poisoning, the dangers of household cleaners, Lead, and Zinc. Also the danger of overheated Teflon.

And Links to our pages about rat poison, pesticide poisoning, poisonous plants, medicines and foods that are sometimes poisonous are to your left.


  • If other vet practices are like mine, a typical small animal practice deals with serious poison cases several times a month. Most of the time, these poisonings are accidental, but ocassionally these are intentional poisonings.
  • Most adults are aware of the more common household poisons and are suitably careful. But some pets sometimes get loose, get into neighbor's sheds, barns, or shops. Accidents happen. And some pets just happen to be more sensitive to some things than others.
  • These pages will hopefully make you aware of a few things that are potentially dangerous to your pets that you didn't know about. And of course, each page is a summary of what to expect if your pet ingests these different types of poisons to include emergency treatment.
  • Speaking of emergency treatment ... if you discover that your pet has ingested a potential poison and less than an hour has gone by, the standard initial treatment in poison cses Is to Get It out of Their Stomach ... Make Them Vomit. The exception to this advice is if the poison is a caustic agent or a petroleum based pesticide that might burn the esophagus or throat on the way back up.
  • To make your pet vomit, force down orally 1/4th -1 cup (depending on the size of your pet) of either hydrogen peroxide or very salty luke warm water. Or give a bottle of Ipecac syrup. And then Phone Your Vet or Nearest 24 Hour Vet Care Facility.
  • Please check out the pages about the different types of poisons to your left. Below are a few comments about garbagitis, food poisoning, household cleaners, Lead and Zinc poisoning, and the dangers of overheated Teflon. And finally a little history and fun.



Dogs and cats that roam unsupervised or otherwise eat decaying, rotten carcasses or other food that has been contaminated by bacteria and the toxins that bacteria produce are susceptible to this poisoning.

Bacterial toxins tend to cause severe gastrointestinal upset. Clinical signs can include vomiting, diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, and malaise. Severely affected animals can go into shock and even die as a result of the absorbed bacterial toxins.

Mild cases will probably be okay with time and a little kaopectate, but if symptoms are severe or last more than a couple of days, you should make an appointment with your vet.

TEFLON Inhalation Poisoning:

I've never seen Teflon poisoning in a dog or cat, but I mention it here just for your information; birds are very sensitive to the fumes.

The problem occurs when pots or pans with non-stick surfaces are left on a hot stove and forgotten. If the pan gets hot enough, toxic particles are released into the air that cause lung damage to birds.

Birds are unable to clear the toxic particles by exhaling, coughing, etc. and are therefore more susceptible to this type of poisoning.

Lead poisoning:

Occurs from eating stuff that contains lead such as fishing and other weights, lead shot,  lead-containing paint, caulking, and motor oil.

Clinical signs for animal suffering lead poisoning usually include vomiting, constipation diarrhea, painful abdomen as well as depression, blindness, circling, muscle tremors, and seizures.

Onset of signs is usually relatively quick but signs can progress more slowly if the animal is slowly being exposed to the poison over time. There is no specific treatment for lead poisoning so please be careful.

Zinc poisoning occurs most frequently when dogs ingest zinc in the form of pennies. The metal interacts with components of the animal's red blood cells and can cause, weakness, trembling, loss of appetite.

Although not seen frequently, it is interesting to note how such a mundane object can be toxic when ingested.