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Pets and poisons


There are many potential poisons and toxins within the home and environment which our pets have potential to accidentally be exposed to.

This information should help you become more aware of what you can do to reduce your pet’s exposure.

Preventing poisoning in the home: 

  • Keep all medicines out of reach — preferably in a locked kitchen cupboard 
  • Keep human and veterinary medicines separate
  • Never give animals medicines intended for human use — only medicines prescribed by your vet 
  • Some foods (for example, chocolate, onions, grapes, raisins, sultanas, avocados, certain nuts, xylitol-sweetened foods and sweets) can be toxic. Do not allow animals access to foods intended for human consumption. Pets should only be given food and treats formulated for animals 
  • Some plants are hazardous (for example, lilies to cats, daffodils) — keep houseplants and floral displays out of reach of pets 
  • Some products intended for dogs can be hazardous to cats. Always read the instructions 
  • Always read labels on products and follow their warnings about contact with animals
  • Dispose of unwanted medicines safely — ideally return them to your pharmacy 
  • Clean up spills promptly

Preventing poisoning in the garden or open spaces: 

  • Prevent access to gardens where pesticides or fertilisers have recently been used, especially slug pellets and rodent baits. Access to such baits can be reduced by placing them in narrow tubes etc 
  • Keep pesticides/herbicides in a safe and inaccessible place—away from all pets 
  • Never leave buckets or watering cans full of mixed chemicals 
  • Do not allow animals to drink from ponds/puddles that appear oily or otherwise polluted 
  • Be careful not to leave plant bulbs lying around 
  • Keep dustbin lids firmly closed to prevent access 
  • Replace the tops of containers securely after use

What to do if you think your animal has been poisoned: 

  • Don’t panic—remember, few cases have fatal outcomes and few poisons act very rapidly. 
  • Remove your animal(s) from the source of poison—protecting yourself if necessary 
  • Contact your vet for advice immediately, especially if your animal is unwell, and be ready to provide information on when, where and how poisoning occurred, as well as the quantity consumed 
  • If instructed to go to the practice, take a sample of the poison and the packaging with you 
  • If the skin is contaminated then wash thoroughly with WATER 
  • DO NOT try to make your animal vomit—unless you are instructed to do so by your vet.