husky and plants.

March is Pet Poison Prevention Month, and it’s important to keep household pet safety in mind all year long. Read on for the information you need to help prevent accidental pet poisoning in your everyday life:

Toxic Foods

One category of poisoning dangers for pets is food. Ask your veterinary team about your specific pet, but in general, dogs and cats should never eat chocolate, onions, garlic, raisins, macadamia nuts, or foods that contain the sugar substitute xylitol. These foods can affect kidney and liver function, and acutely they may cause seizures and even death. Curious birds, ferrets, and other pocket or exotic pets can be affected, too.

Even if not overtly toxic, too much of any food can be dangerous and lead to vomiting, diarrhea, intestinal blockage, or pancreatitis. This is true for any and all “table scraps,” so you can stay safest by sticking to foods and treats made just for pets.

Household Items

You may have heard that antifreeze has a sweet taste, but you don’t need to go around taste-testing household items if you want to keep your pets safe! Think of your pets in the same way that you would a toddler who explores the world by putting things in their mouth: if something looks fun and interesting, a dog, cat, hamster, or parrot may want to give it a try—and accidentally get themselves in trouble!

Cleaners and Automotive Products

Store household cleaners in secure cabinets, either where your pets can’t reach or with doors that latch. Our furry and feathered friends should not have access to the garage, at least if they aren’t being supervised. Some common pet toxins may be in items like:

  • Kitchen and bath cleaners
  • Laundry products
  • Antifreeze
  • Car wash and wax
  • Fertilizers
  • Pest control products


Over-the-counter, prescription, and even veterinarian-prescribed medications can be dangerous, either via toxicity or overdose. And “overdose” can mean something very different for companion animals than it means for humans. Because their metabolisms and organ function are not the same as ours, even a large dog can be poisoned by a small child’s dose of pain reliever or fever reducer.

Pills and capsules are often the same size or shape as some pet treats, and liquids can be lapped up quickly. So store all medications in secure, out-of-reach locations.

Plants and Flowers

We use flowers and plants to brighten our homes and yards, but unfortunately they can have dark consequences for pets. Some plants, such as lilies and poinsettias, are actually toxic. Other considerations include the fertilizers or pest control products within the soil.

Pets may also look at bulbs, buds, roots, and more as playthings, leading to choking or blockage hazards. And don’t forget about thorns and spikes! Daffodils, tulips, roses, cacti, and more may or may not be toxic, but they present dangers just the same.

In Case of Accidental Pet Poisoning

Keep your veterinarian’s contact info handy, but also know the location of the closest animal emergency hospital, especially if you’re away from home with your pets.

Put pet poison hotline numbers and information in your phone contacts for quick access any time you’re concerned about something your pet may have ingested:

If you have to call, have a pen and paper or note app ready for instructions and a case number to share when you visit your veterinarian or the pet ER. Know some basics such as your pet’s breed, age, and approximate weight. They’ll also want to know as much detail about the ingested item as you can provide, like amount, ingredients, or medication strength. There may be a consultation fee for your call.
Everyday dangers are out there, and we at Veterinary Medical Associates are a great resource for keeping your pets as safe as possible! Give us a call at (209) 527‑5855 or visit us at if you have questions about your best friend’s best care!