Accidental Pet Poisoning - What You Need To Know

What You Need To Know About Accidental Pet Poisoning

Pets become integral members of the family unit and with that serious bond between owner and pet comes a strong emotional attachment. Losing a family pet can be an extremely challenging process as it seems as though you are losing a close family member. Most pet owners want to give their pets the best quality of life possible and that often means they must research and determine how to promote and encourage a safe pet environment within their own homes. 

Owning a pet is a large responsibility that requires the owner to love and care for their pet while managing the animal’s needs in a manner that creates a safe and healthy living environment. Many owners may overlook the importance of surveying their homes for any potential hazards that may negatively impact their pet’s home living experience. Accidental animal poisoning is one of the leading causes of death for pets across the world. Therefore, creating an animal poison control game plan in order to reduce the risk of your furry friend ingesting a toxic item is an important component of owning a pet.

Over 67% of American households own at least one pet which means that the need for proper information regarding pet welfare is especially important in today’s world. Many new pet owners may not spend time thinking of the potential hazards that their house or its items may pose to their new furry friend.

Many first-time pet owners only think about exercising their new pet or providing it with food, water, and playtime. However, there are many additional components of caring for a pet that must be acknowledged and addressed before picking up your newest addition to your family.

What Is Accidental Pet Poisoning?

Many household items such as food or cleaning supplies that may seem unassuming to most can actually be extremely dangerous to our furry companions. Thus it is crucial that all pet owners take inventory of their homes and stow away or get rid of any items that may be dangerous for their pets. First-time pet owners may mistakenly assume that their pet companions will know what is safe and acceptable to interact with inside their homes. However, this is not the case!

Pets are unable to understand that some household items are safe for them to interact with while others are not. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the owner to maintain a safe living environment for their furry companions. Poison control with pets is an important aspect of being a responsible pet owner.

If after reading this article, you are still unsure about how to best protect your pet, look up pet poison guides online as there are a variety of resources available that will help you create a safe environment for your pet.

Accidental pet poisoning is the process in which a household pet ingests or is exposed to a dangerous substance that can cause potentially fatal repercussions for the animal. Many instances of accidental pet poisonings are completely preventable and educating owners about pet safety and potential household hazards is an important component of effectively preventing future accidental pet poisonings. 

Information About Potential Household Hazards & Pet Poisons

Some potentially hazardous household items are well known; for example, many people know that chocolate is dangerous for dogs to ingest. Many pet owners would know not to leave any chocolate lying around their house at the risk of their canine companion consuming it. Yet there are countless other potentially dangerous common household items that pet owners may have unknowingly placed in pet-accessible locations. 

In this article, we will discuss common household items that may pose serious poisoning threats to your pet and the best ways in which to keep your furry friends safe and sound. Just because an item is listed in this article does not mean that you have to immediately go and throw it in your garbage can. Rather, you may want to reconsider how you store the item or when you use it in order to promote a safe and healthy environment for your pet. 

It is always important to remember that your pets should be supervised much of the time. Even the best-trained pets can make mistakes, and the most foolproof way to prevent accidental pet poisoning is to keep a watchful eye on your pet within your house. 

The Most Common Household Items That Pose A Poisoning Risk To Your Pet

It is important to note that depending on what type of pet you have living in your home, poisons will vary between the different animals. For example, the household items that pose a risk to cats can be very different from the household items that pose a risk to dogs. Therefore, the pet owner needs to determine what items are dangerous for the specific pets that live within their own homes. Many households have both cats and dogs and must therefore pay even more attention to what may act as a potential hazard to their animal companions. 


Many enjoy cuddling up with their feline friends. Cats serve as wonderful companions and are known for their intelligence and adorably mischievous behaviors. To promote and encourage a safe living environment for these cute kitties, owners should pay close attention to identifying any potentially hazardous items within their homes. 

Household Cleaners

Many household cleaners can be extremely dangerous for cats to ingest. Even mere exposure to these cleaners can be detrimental to your cat’s health. Some owners may think that household cleaners are safe to use within their homes as long as their cat friends do not directly ingest the cleaning agents. However, this is not always the case. 

Most cats lick their furry coats and paws to properly groom themselves. You may have noticed that their little pink tongues have a rough or scratchy texture to them, and this is specifically to properly groom themselves.

Because cats do not bathe in the way humans do, they rely on their own tongues to maintain healthy hygiene. Therefore if their owners are utilizing harsh chemicals and household cleaning agents within the home, it is very possible that your cat’s fur coat and paws may become exposed to these potentially hazardous agents. It is then very probable that trace amounts of these chemicals may be ingested by your cat as they groom themselves throughout the day. 

Therefore, it is highly recommended that cat owners pay close attention to what cleaning agents they are using within their house to ensure that they are safe for their feline friends to be exposed to.


Anti-depressants are medicine that chemically alters and helps balance neurotransmitters in the brain. They are extremely important and helpful for people that struggle with mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety. 

However, despite their extreme importance and value for millions of humans, they can be extremely dangerous for cats to consume. As mental illnesses continue to be destigmatized in modern society, more and more humans are seeking treatment for their own mental illnesses. This means that the prevalence of anti-depressants in many households across the nation is also increasing.

In order to reduce the risk of accidental pet poisoning, cat owners need to keep these medications away from their feline companions. It is important to note that this might not be as simple as stowing the medicine away in a nightstand or kitchen drawer. Many cats can jump up onto the counter of nightstands and some can even bat open drawers or cabinets. 

Due to their agility and intelligence, it may be helpful to lock away your anti-depressants with a childproof lock or store them in a location where you are certain that your cat will be unable to access them. 


Many pet owners may already know that some plant species and flowers are toxic to their animal companions. However, with a plethora of plants advertised on the market, it can become overwhelming to determine which plants are safe for your furry friend and which ones pose a serious threat. 

Lilies are a popular flower that many like to display in their homes. They are sold in a variety of beautiful colors and their delicate scent can add an air of freshness to your home. However, if you are a cat owner, these beautiful plants can be deadly to your feline companions.

Cats are known to chew or gnaw on grasses and other plants regularly. It is thought that this curious behavior is a remnant trait from their wild ancestors who relied on plants and grasses to aid in digestion and reduce parasitic threats. Despite their domestication, this ancestral behavior has persisted within modern household cats. 

Again, thanks to cats’ agility and prowess, toxic plants such as lilies should be kept out of a household with cats entirely. Even if the toxic plant, such as a lily, were placed on a high shelf or cabinet, cats could still jump up and reach the hazardous plant. Therefore, cat owners should be sure to verify that any plants within their home are safe and non-hazardous to their cat companions. 

If you want to add a little greenery to your home, consider bringing in cat-friendly plants such as cat grass or catnip as these are not only safe for your furry companion, but they also can offer exceptional enrichment to your cat’s life. 

Cold & Flu Medications

Many households keep cold and flu medications stocked at all times. You never know when a sniffly nose may turn into a full-blown cold but having some nighttime cough medicine on hand helps humans prepare for these pesky sicknesses. 

However, while preparedness can be wonderful for humans within a household, exposing your cat companions to these medicines can be extremely dangerous and potentially fatal. The ingredients within most cold and flu medications can be toxic for cats to ingest.

Therefore, it is very important to store your cold and flu medications in an inaccessible place for your cat. While many owners may think that the childproof lids and seals are enough to minimize risks to your feline friends, this is not always the case. 

Cats have extremely sharp teeth and are more than capable of chewing through the plastic bottle of cold medicine. This means that if they can access the bottle of medication, they could also ingest some of the medication if they chew through the bottle itself. 

Because of this threat, cat owners should store their cold and flu medication in an extremely safe location. We recommend utilizing childproof locks or storing the bottles in places where your cat has absolutely no access. While these measures may seem extreme, saving your cat from an accidental and preventable poisoning is the highest priority. 

Glow Sticks

While not the most common item on our list, glow sticks can pose a significant threat to our cat companions. This item may be found more commonly in households with children, but it is an important item to be mentioned, nonetheless. 

Glow sticks are filled with hazardous chemicals that enable them to glow in the dark once they are ‘cracked’ and shaken up. These glow-in-the-dark toys are tremendously popular with children and are often used for celebrations such as holidays or birthday parties. And while these may seem like harmless and fun toys, they pose a serious risk to household cats.

If a cat gains access to a glow stick and chews through the outer plastic, the liquid chemicals within the glow stick can be fatal if ingested. This means that glow sticks should be stored in a completely inaccessible location or should not be kept at all within a household that has cats. 

Some glow sticks may even resemble your cat’s favorite toys and this may result in an accidental poisoning of your feline companion. Therefore, it is much better to be safe rather than sorry and keep these items out of reach as they are toxic for pets.

NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs—or NSAIDs for short—are medications such as Tylenol or ibuprofen that are commonly used to treat inflammation and pain. These medications are extremely common in most households across the country and therefore proper storage of these medications is extremely important for cat owners. 

If ingested, these drugs can pose a serious threat to your cat companions and could potentially be fatal. Therefore, cat owners need to store these medicines properly to ensure that their pet does not have access to them.

Cats are often playful by nature and enjoy batting items around, especially items that make noise such as pill bottles. A quick search on the internet will show countless videos of cats knocking pill bottles off the counter in what seems to be a cute game. 

However, despite how cute this may appear, it can be hazardous for cats to have access to NSAIDs. Thus, owners need to store their NSAIDS in locations where their cats have no access to the medicines. If left to their own devices for long periods of time, cats can chew through the plastic of pill bottles and potentially ingest the medications, which could result in a deadly poisoning. 

ADHD Medications

ADHD medications are another relatively common medicine that can be found in households across the world. Unsurprisingly, these medications are intended for human use and can be very harmful to cats if they are ingested. 

With the potential poisoning risk that these medications pose for cats, owners that have ADHD medications within their homes should make sure to store these properly to minimize the risk of an accidental pet poisoning. 

As mentioned for other medications, we encourage cat owners to store ADHD medications in cabinets with childproof locks or keep them in locations of the house where their cats have no access.

Certain Household Plants

You already know now that lilies are extremely toxic and dangerous for cats. However, there are a variety of other household plants that are also very dangerous for cats to ingest. While household plants are becoming more and more popular and trendy in today’s society, cat owners need to research the risks associated with each plant before adding one to their home. 

Owners should conduct ample research about each plant they are considering purchasing before bringing it home to verify that the plant is safe for their cats. Countless articles detail the potential pet risks associated with hundreds of household plants and we encourage cat owners to do their homework before introducing a new plant addition to their home.

If you are interested and invested in having plants within your home that may pose a risk to your pets, we recommend that these plants are stored in a room or greenhouse that is completely inaccessible to your pet. While your plants may not be scattered throughout your house, you can rest assured that your feline friend will not accidentally ingest any potentially hazardous plants. 


Dogs are another abundant household pet all across the globe. These furry canine companions often become integral parts of the family unit and their owners must maintain a safe living environment. The following items are very hazardous to dogs and should be kept out of reach within the home. 


As mentioned earlier, it is fairly common knowledge that chocolate is poisonous for dogs. Therefore, dog owners need to keep this scrumptious snack away and out of reach from their canine companions. 

Dogs might not be as agile as cats; however, they too can jump onto counters or nudge open cabinets. Due to these abilities, owners should pay close attention to where they store potentially hazardous items such as chocolate. It is recommended that owners store this human treat in difficult-to-reach cabinets or behind a childproof lock. 

While it is totally fine to keep this yummy snack within your home, you should ensure that your dog cannot gain access to this food as ingestion of the sweet can lead to potentially deadly consequences. 

Mouse Or Rat Poisons

Having a problem with mice or rats in your home can be frustrating and may cause distress for homeowners and their pets. It is not uncommon for homeowners to purchase mice or rat poison to manage the problem. 

However, if you own pets, using hazardous chemicals such as mouse or rat poisons can prove fatal to your beloved pets. The chemicals in these poisons can be very deadly for cats or dogs if they are exposed to the poison.

Due to the significant risk of these products, we highly recommend utilizing alternative methods of managing any rodent problems. There are other options available on the market that do not rely on the use of deadly poisons, and these are much safer to keep in your house than rat or mouse poisons. 

It is important to note though, that when using any rodent trap within your home, make sure to keep your pets away from the devices completely. Even a simple snapping trap could injure your pet if they accidentally step on it. Owners should conduct plenty of research before deciding on the best method to manage their rodent infestation and should always consider the impacts of their management choices on their canine companions.


Simple multivitamins are a very common supplement in many households. These pills can serve as a wonderful way to boost human immune systems and overall health, however, the same benefits do not apply to our pets. 

Ingesting these multivitamins can be quite dangerous for dogs and may lead to fatal, accidental poisonings. Therefore, human owners must make sure to store these multivitamins in locations that are inaccessible to their pets.

When bored, it is sometimes common for dogs to play with items that are not actually pet toys. Sometimes the items that they occupy their time with can pose serious risks to their health. 

If multivitamins were left lying in an accessible location, it would be easy for a dog to bite into the packaging and ingest some of the vitamins which could lead to accidental poisoning.

Cardiac Medication

Similar to other medications listed in this article, it is unsurprising that cardiac medication can be extremely dangerous to dogs if it is ingested accidentally. Therefore, if a household contains any cardiac medication, the owners should make sure that these medications are stored responsibly in a location where their dog will have no access. 

Certain Household Plants

Dogs, like cats, are also known to chew on plants that may be found within the house. Dogs are not generally picky when it comes to what plant they are chewing on and thus it is extremely important for pet owners to only own plants that are safe and non-toxic to their pets. 

Some plants that may be safe for cats might be toxic to dogs and owners should pay close attention to these details. Many households own both cats and dogs and should assess which plants are safe for both animals. 

Again, keeping potentially hazardous plants on tall shelves or cabinets might not be enough to ensure that your pets are safe. Dogs can become agitated and knock down items that may have once been out of their reach. We recommend that pet owners only keep non-toxic plants within their homes to avoid any potential accidental poisonings. 


Acetaminophen is another anti-inflammatory drug that is commonly found in many households. It is typically used to treat small aches and pains or headaches. If ingested by dogs, however, it can be extremely dangerous and potentially fatal. 

As with any other medications, we encourage owners to store Acetaminophen responsibly in locations where their canine companions have no access to prevent potential poisonings.

Warning Signs Of A Potential Pet Poisoning

If you suspect that your pet may have accidentally been poisoned, it is very important to know the warning signs and develop an action plan that will increase your chances of helping your pet. Some common signs of potential poisoning in your pet are diarrhea, vomiting, excessive drooling, lethargy, and jaundice (yellow coloring of the gums). 

If you notice any of these signs in your pet, it is important to take immediate action to offer them the best aid possible. 

What To Do If You Think Your Pet Has Been Poisoned/ How to Treat Poisoned Pets

If you think that your pet may have been poisoned, you should immediately call your primary veterinarian. Timing is extremely important here because some antidotes must be administered rapidly after accidental poisoning has been identified. Your vet will be able to inquire about your pet’s condition and will offer the best help in treating your furry companion. 

If your veterinarian is unreachable or your clinic is closed, you can also call the pet poison hotline. Their phone number is: 800-213-6680. This hotline is available 24-7 and the trained professionals on the line will be able to help you assess the situation and come up with a plan to best assist you and your pet. 

In addition to the pet poison hotline, you can also take your pet to the closest emergency animal hospital. These are similar to human emergency rooms where they are open 24-7 and offer care for patients that need immediate assistance. These clinics are well-equipped to help you and your pet in emergencies. 

It is smart to research the emergency animal clinics in your area as a form of preventative care. In the case of an emergency, you would then know exactly where you can take your pet companion for the best immediate care.

How To Poison Proof Your Home

Owning a pet takes a lot of responsibility and owners need to take the time to poison-proof their homes to best prevent potential accidental poisonings. In this section of the article, we will touch on the best ways to maintain a safe living environment for your pets at home. 


Make sure to store all of your medications in a secure and high location. Keeping medications locked away in areas that are inaccessible to your pets is one of the best ways to ensure that your furry friends do not ingest any hazardous medications. Many pets are left to their own devices when their owners go to work or school, so making sure that any dangerous medications are stowed away while people are absent from a household is a wise way to prevent any accidental poisonings. 


As mentioned before, cleaning products can also be very hazardous to pets. Therefore, it is important to store these chemicals in high, difficult-to-reach places as well. Many pets have learned to open cabinets and can gain access to potentially dangerous household items in this manner. Utilizing childproof locks or stowing these items in extremely difficult-to-reach places is the best way to reduce the risk of your pet ingesting these chemicals. 


There are many toxic plants for pets, so pet owners should pay close attention to what plants they keep in their yards and their homes. To prevent any accidental poisonings, pet owners should get rid of any hazardous plants within their homes. Many people overlook the plants in their yards, but these should also be assessed for the risk they may pose to household pets. This issue is most prevalent with dogs that utilize outdoor yard spaces the most, but owners should also remove any outdoor plants that may be hazardous to their pets. 


It is a very good idea to educate every member of your household on the proper ways in which to prevent accidental pet poisoning. Even small children should learn that they cannot share their human food such as chocolate with their family pets as this could be very dangerous for their furry companions. Keeping all members of a household on the same page regarding proper safety measures is a responsible way to prevent accidental pet poisoning.  Learn more about how to keep your pet safe duirng a natural disaster.

Can My Pet Recover From An Accidental Poisoning?

Mild cases of poisoned pets report high recovery numbers. However, extreme poisoning cases do not support high recovery rates. This is why it is so important for pet owners to develop preventative measures that encourage pet health and the overall safety of their pet companions.

It is important to keep a close eye on your pets to catch any accidental poisonings very early on. If you ever suspect that your pet may have ingested a potentially harmful substance, contact your vet at the emergency pet poison hotline to determine which steps you should take next.

It is always better to cautious when it comes to the health of your animal companions. Pet companion health may seem like a frivolous topic to address, however making sure your pet is safe and cared for is an essential responsibility of any pet owner.

How To Deal With Pet Death From An Accidental Poisoning

Losing a pet is an extremely difficult process and losing a pet to accidental poisoning can be even more challenging. Losing a pet in this manner can be very jarring and sudden and it is common for owners to struggle with feelings of guilt and grief. Here are a few ways to deal with the pain of losing a pet to accidental poisoning. 


Pets truly become integral parts of our family and the sudden loss of a pet can leave the owners feeling immense guilt and grief. Talking with a trained professional can help humans cope with this loss in a way that is healthy.

If you are struggling with the grieving process, Everlasting Memories has a large selection of articles that discuss the topic and the best ways to cope with the loss of a pet. 

Preparing for the loss of a pet? Find ways you can help family members say good-bye to a beloved family pet.


A plethora of resources specifically addresses the best ways to manage grief associated with losing a pet to an accidental poisoning. These resources also help educate the owners about the best ways to cope with the emotions they are experiencing. This is a great option for owners that may not feel comfortable talking to or opening up to strangers.  


Personalized memorial urns for pets are a wonderful way to honor your pet that may have passed. With a variety of options where owners can choose between urns for dogs or urns for cats, grieving owners can take comfort in knowing that their pet will have a peaceful and touching resting place.

These urns for animals can then be displayed in the home or buried in a special location of the owner’s choosing. If you feel overwhelmed with the process of selecting an urn, Everlasting Memories has a variety of educational articles that can help you navigate the selection process. 

Come in now to learn more about choosing a small pet urn and ways that you can honor and remember your small dog or small pet.


Owners need to remember that the death of their pet was accidental and that they did not purposefully cause their pet’s death. While the guilt and grief will most likely stay with an owner long after the passing of their pet, it is important to remember that it was accidental. Through this time of mourning, owners can work toward learning the best ways to prevent accidental poisonings in the future.


The loss of a pet to accidental poisoning can be very jarring and sudden for many pet owners. If you are unsure what to do with your pet’s ashes, Everlasting Memories has helpful articles to assist you with this decision. Because of the difficult nature of losing a pet, the owner may want to remember their pet with a piece of pet memorial jewelry. 

Pet cremation jewelry for ashes is a fantastic way to help keep a beloved pet close to its owner’s heart. Purchasing a pet cremation pendant or pet cremation necklace is a meaningful way to remember and cherish your pet that has passed.

Everlasting Memories creates beautiful pet remembrance pendants and jewelry for pet’s ashes to help owners remember their pets that have passed. 

Not sure what to do with your pet's ashes? Find 15 Creative Things To Do With The Ashes Of Your Pet. Now know what to do with your pet's ashes.


During this difficult time, pet owners can also talk with their close family and friends to cope with their emotions. Seeking comfort from those that they are close with can offer peace of mind and important support during this difficult time.  

Many pet owners will want to remember their beloved pet for years to come and purchasing a piece of pet photo engraved memorial jewelry with a picture of their pet may help them cope with the loss. The pet photo engraved necklaces from Everlasting Memories give owners the ability to select their favorite photo of their pet to be engraved on a beautiful necklace.

Color Photo Engraved Jewelry

The customization options are plentiful as owners can also select from color photo engraved pet pendants and necklaces. These color photo engraved memorial pieces can serve as the perfect reminder of their beloved companion. Owners can pick from multiple metal finishes to craft the perfect piece of memorial jewelry.

These photo keepsakes offer a reminder of their pets and allow owners to always feel connected to their beloved companions. If someone close to you has lost a pet to accidental poisoning, consider giving them a photo gift in remembrance of their pet.

Learn about when is the right time to get a new pet after suffering a pet loss.


Another way to cope with the loss of a pet to accidental poisoning is to plant a memorial garden for your pet. You can fill the garden with memorial stones, messages, or plants that remind you of your pet. This garden can then serve as a peaceful memorial to your lost pet. 

Pet Poisoning Frequently Asked Questions

Can you be traumatized after the death of a pet?

Yes, you can definitely be traumatized after the death of a pet because pets truly become valued and loved members of your family. It is okay to seek out professional help if you are really struggling with the loss of a beloved pet. 

How do you stop feeling guilty after a pet dies?

Feelings of guilt may persist after the loss of a pet to accidental poisoning, however, talking to a professional therapist or your veterinarian about the best ways to cope can help reduce feelings of guilt. 

What types of indoor plants are toxic to pets?

Different plants are toxic to different types of pets. For example, some plants may be very toxic for cats and not for dogs. Hence why it is so important for owners to research which plants are safe for the pets living in their house. There are numerous articles online that detail the plants that are toxic to each type of pet. 

Can a dog recover from being poisoned?

If the poisoning was mild, it is very possible for a dog to recover from the ordeal. However, if the poisoning was more serious, the rate of recovery is much lower. Hence why it is so important to create a safe home environment for your dog. 

How long does it take poison to affect a dog?

It depends on what type of poison and how much of the poison was ingested by the dog. There is no specific timeline for how quickly this process occurs so if you ever notice your dog exhibiting some of the accidental poison symptoms in pets, make sure to call your vet right away. 

Keeping Our Pets Safe From Poisons

It is important to remember that being a pet owner requires immense responsibility and owners should take time to learn about the risks of accidental pet poisoning. Maintaining a safe home environment is key to preventing accidental pet poisonings.

A variety of household items can prove dangerous to your furry companions and therefore, ensuring that all hazardous materials are stored properly is essential to maintaining a healthy living environment for your pet. If you are ever concerned that you may be dealing with a poisoned animal, do not hesitate to call your local vet or emergency pet poison hotline.

November 28, 2022 by Frances Kay

“Oregon Poison Center.” Pet Poisoning | Oregon Poison Center,