Top 10 Animal Toxins found in the Kitchen

While the list is long, we wanted to know: What are ten of the most dangerous — and perhaps unsuspecting — things in the kitchen readily available to dogs and cats that pet owners may not know about? Check out the list below and the reason why:

  1. Coffee pods, beans, and coffee grounds:  are a very dangerous and toxic chemical to cats and dogs. Ingestion can be life threatening. According to the Pet Poison Helpline, a moderate amount of coffee can easily cause death in small dogs or cats. Be careful where you store your coffee. Also be careful of chocolate, soft drinks, energy drinks, coffee- or chocolate-flavored yogurt or ice cream, pain relievers, diet pills and even some caffeine-infused energy foods such as oatmeal and sunflower seeds as they can contain enough caffeine to affect your dog’s heart, nervous system and gastrointestinal tract. 
  2. Grapes, raisins & currants: According to Pet Poison Helpline, grapes and raisins have been known to cause acute kidney failure in dogs.
  3. Xylitol/sugar-free gum/candy: Xylitol is a sugar substitute commonly used in sugarless gum, certain cough medicines, children’s chewable multi-vitamins and a variety of nut butters. Xylitol can also be found in a variety of toothpastes and there are a few peanut butter brands that now list xylitol as an ingredients
  4. Fatty table scraps: As much as your dog would love to chow down on the leftover fat trimmed from your steak, it’s a bad idea to indulge him. Avoid sharing fat-filled items like fast food, fried foods, foods cooked in grease, high fat dairy items, processed meats and junk food. These items can cause severe gastrointestinal upset in dogs. Further, pancreatitis, which can be fatal if left untreated, has been linked to the ingestion of fatty foods.
  5. Onions & Garlic: Close members of the allium family (onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, chives, scallions) and concentrated versions of them (garlic powder, dehydrated onions, onion soup mix) contain the compound thiosulphate. In dogs, thiosulphate causes hemolytic anemia. It attacks the red blood cells, causing them to burst. Signs of allium toxicity may not be apparent for three to five days after ingestion. They include vomiting, oral irritation, drooling, diarrhea, abdominal pain, lethargy, pale gums, weakness, elevated heart or respiratory rate, exercise intolerance and fainting.
  6. Compost: You might be wondering why compost is bad for your furry friend. After all, dogs eat crazier stuff than food scraps. The danger with compost lies in a fungus called tremorgenic mycotoxin that can occur in moist, decomposing food.  Poisons from molds can cause neurological symptoms such as tremors and seizure that can last hours or days if not treated rapidly. Other symptoms include vomiting, hyperactivity, depression, coma, behavior alterations, increase in heart rate, and buildup of fluid in the lungs.
  7. Human medications: One of the most dangerous rooms of the house with regard to accidental poisonings is the bedroom, since many medications are left on a nightstand. Many adult dogs and teething puppies sleep in the bed with their humans, and thus have easy access to the drugs on that nightstand. Medications left on counters in kitchens and bathrooms find their way into the stomachs of bored dogs, too. Here are a few common medications that are very harmful to dogs or cats. Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Naproxen, Indomethacin, Acetaminophen, Xanax, Ambien, Ace inhibitors, Beta Blockers, Adderall. If you pet should ingest ANY medications, call the Pet Poison Hotline and keep the bottle on hand. The vast majority of these accidental intoxications can be successfully managed with early treatment. For poisonings, the best outcomes involve seeking immediate advice from your veterinarian followed by aggressive, proactive treatment
  8. Macadamia nuts or others: Do not feed your dog nuts or any foods containing nuts. Macadamia nuts can cause serious symptoms in dogs that last up to two days, including rear leg weakness, fever, tremors and pain. Moldy walnuts, hickory nuts and pecans contain the toxin juglone, which can cause seizures and other neurological symptoms. Almonds, pistachios and non-moldy walnuts, pecans and hickory nuts can cause gastrointestinal distress or blockage in the throat or intestinal tract.
  9. Household cleaners (Oven cleaner or dishwasher detergent): Also known as alkaline substances, oven cleaners and automatic dishwasher detergents have little odor or taste, making them easier to consume by curious pets. Those convenient dishwasher pods are often targeted by pets — and children.
    Severe injury to the eyes, skin, gastrointestinal tract and respiratory system can be seen and require immediate decontamination, medication and supportive care by a veterinarian.
  10. Unbaked bread dough/alcohol: While most of us know alcohol is bad for our pets, there are some who think it’s funny to share a beer with their pet. According to the Pet Poison Helpline, alcohol poisoning in pets is all too common. You might be surprised to know where alcohol is hidden — and how your pet can become accidentally poisoned: Pure vanilla and almond extracts, certain brands of Dijon mustard, wine vinegar, wine-flavored cheeses, certain whipped creams, marinara sauces prepared with wine, chocolate truffles that may contain rum or bourbon, rum-soaked fruit cakes and unbaked dough. When the yeast in the unbaked dough ferments in your pet’s stomach, it produces carbon dioxide and alcohol which is then rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. Ingestion of alcohol can cause dangerous drops in blood sugar, blood pressure and body temperature. Intoxicated animals can experience seizures and respiratory failure.

PET POISON HELPLINE: 1-800-213-6680