Common Household Products and Your Pet

Which of the following is poisonous to your pet: Tylenol, sugar-free gum or walnuts? If you said “All three” then give yourself a gold star! All of these substances along with many other common household products can be extremely dangerous to your dog and cat.

Most people wouldn’t think twice about a dog that got into gum but be very careful. Sugar-free gum containing Xylitol can be deadly to animals. I recently got to spend an interesting evening at a friend’s house dealing with their two dogs. Only one of the dogs had actually eaten the toxic gum but of course, we didn’t know which one. The owners needed to make both dogs vomit in order for us to see the evidence. We all felt really sorry for the dog that hadn’t eaten the gum but it had to be done.

If you believe your pet has ingested gum with Xylitol, walnuts, Tylenol, alcohol, antifreeze, chocolate or human prescription drugs and it was within the past few hours you need to make them vomit as quickly as possible preferably before or at the same time you are calling your veterinarian. The easiest way to make most dogs and cats vomit is to force feed them fresh hydrogen peroxide. Usually a few tablespoons through a turkey baster will get the job done but sometimes it takes more. What I tell people is give it to them until they vomit. If you’ve given them an entire bottle and they still haven’t vomited, you need to call your veterinarian.

Many other household products can also be very dangerous to your pet but making them vomit is not always the best way to go. Most household cleaners, fertilizers, insecticides and rodenticides will have either emergency instructions written on them or a phone number to call if ingested. Many times if you call your veterinarian he or she won’t know exactly what to do because there are so many different toxins out there that we can’t know the best course of action for all of them.

Finally, and I cannot stress this enough, if your animal ingests some type of toxin and you are taking them to your veterinarian please, please bring the package of the chemical with you. We will need it to help us determine first of all, what it is and secondly, what to do about it. Even if you have spoken with the company and they have told you what to do, please bring the package with you.

There are too many poisonous household substances for me to list them all here so if you have a question about something your furry friend has ingested, call your veterinarian. It is also helpful to check the internet or call the company that made the substance. Whatever you do, do it quickly as possible. Often, time is of the essence.


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