March is here, the birds are signing, blooms are opening and spring is knocking on our door. Did you know March is also Pet Poisoning Awareness month? Check out my blog about poisonous plants here ( for tips on what NOT to plant in your garden. Plus, here are some potential hazards that may be lurking around your home.

1. Baker’s chocolate

Methylxanthines substances (theobromine and caffeine) are found in chocolate and are highly toxic to pets. The higher the cocoa content, the more toxic, meaning dark and good quality chocolates are most poisonous. Even good quality milk chocolate can have up to 65% cocoa!

2.Antifreeze, motor oil, brake fluid, etc.

Antifreeze, radiator coolant, motor oils, hydraulic brake fluid, paints, solvents and photography developing solutions all contain ethylene glycol. It is so toxic that just one teaspoon can kill a cat and cause kidney failure in a dog. The sweet smell of antifreeze is very attractive to pets and every precaution should be taken to keep it away from prying paws. 12 to 24 hours after ingestion the pet can start to look better, but this is usually followed by more extreme symptoms. Get your pet to a vet immediately.

3.Marijuana (not CBD)

This plant is toxic to dogs, especially if a great amount is consumed. Marijuana is toxic to dogs and the animals usually come into contact with the plant by ingesting the supply of the drug that belongs to the owners. If dogs ingest at least 3 g / kg, toxicity can occur. Symptoms usually begin within one hour and may vary depending on the amount eaten.

4. Xylitol

Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is found in many products such as toothpaste, sugar free chewing gum, mints, supplements (including fish oil) and various other foods.
Consuming small amounts of xylitol, such as a piece of sugar free chewing gum, could cause a sudden (life threatening) drop in blood sugar levels while larger amounts can cause severe liver damage. It is important to get your pet to a vet as soon as possible so that they can maximise the chances of your pet surviving.

Poison Prevention

5. Alcohol

Symptoms of alcohol poisoning in animals are similar to those in people, and may include vomiting, breathing problems, coma and, in severe cases, death.

6. Avocado

While toxicity levels of avocado are low, the avocado pit can cause severe obstruction. Chewed or swallowed whole, parts of the avocado pit can find it’s way through the digestive system, causing blockages. Digesting avocado pits is very difficult and usually results in surgery to remove them.

7. Macadamia nuts

Dogs may suffer from a series of symptoms, including weakness, overheating, and vomiting, after consumption of macadamia nuts.

8. Grapes & raisins

We are not sure what exactly causes dogs and cats to have kidney failure or die from consuming grapes, currants, sultanas and raisins, but we do know the level of toxicity is different for each pet. Cooked raisins are no less toxic either; hot cross buns, fruit cake, natural snack bars and other foods containing raisins are just as poisonous. It’s best to keep them out of reach and sight.

9.Acetominophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, antidepressants, blood pressure medication & other prescriptions

Drugs that might be beneficial or even lifesaving for people can have the opposite effect in pets. And it doesn’t always take a large dose to do major damage.

10. E-cigarettes

E-cigarettes and e-cigarette refills are extremely poisonous to cats and dogs due to their high nicotine level. Although a popular choice for people, arguably, wanting to be healthier, it has led to an increase in pets accidentally being poisoned by them.
Like human medication, pets who have consumed e-cigarette contents must be seen by a vet immediately. The quicker you can get them veterinary care, the less likely it will be life-threatening.

11. Onions, garlic, leeks & chives

These foods cause anaemia (low red blood cells) and other problems with blood cells. This includes ground, pill and salt versions of these foods. Even the tiniest amount ingested (0.5% of a dog’s bodyweight) can result in poisoning. Japanese dog breeds and cats are even more susceptible to poisoning.

12. Rat poison, slug pellets

Metaldehyde is the toxic ingredient found in slug pellets, liquid and powder. Usually sweetened, which is attractive to pets, metaldehyde is converted in the body to acetaldehyde which effects the nervous system.
Taking simple precautions including putting these items out of reach of your pets can save you significant vet visit costs, and the life of your pet.
Remember, if your pet needs a ride to the vet, groomer, or other appointments, ask me about my pet taxi service! Even emergencies can sometimes be accommodated. Read all about it here (   and contact me asap at 858-692-7448 to check availability.