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As a pet owner, you want to keep your furry friend safe and healthy, but your pet’s curious nature sometimes can get him into trouble. Animals investigate the world with their mouths and they can ingest poisonous substances accidentally. 

The most frequent offenders, many of which can be found in and around your home. 

Pets and over-the-counter medications 

Even a medication that does not require a prescription can be extremely dangerous to your pet. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen and naproxen can cause acute kidney failure and should never be given to pets. Do not try to treat your pet’s medical problems without consulting an AAHA-accredited veterinarian, and never give him a medication that is not approved for veterinary use. 

What foods are toxic to pets? 

Many foods that are safe for people can be deadly to pets. Keep the following toxic foods away from your beloved companion: Chocolate, xylitol (often found in sugar-free gum), macadamia nuts, grapes and raisins, onions, garlic, alcohol, caffeinated drinks, raw yeast dough, raw or undercooked meat. 

What other household items are dangerous to my pet? 

Products such as paint, glue, and cleaning chemicals often are left out on the assumption that pets won’t eat these bad-tasting substances. But sometimes pets lap up liquids because they feel good or have an interesting texture. Household products can contain dangerous chemicals and some household glues expand in the stomach, causing a life-threatening blockage. 


Products designed to kill rodents are particularly dangerous to pets, who may be tempted to eat the tasty bricks, granules, or pellets left out for mice and rats. Rodenticides kill rodents by causing internal bleeding, high calcium levels, brain swelling, or toxic gas production. Never put rat bait out where your pet can find it and keep your pet confined to your yard to prevent him from eating your neighbors’ rodenticides. 

Insecticides and pets 

Ant baits, bug sprays, and foggers can be poisonous to your pet. Read labels to ensure proper use of these products and prevent pets from exposure during and after use. Store all insecticides on high shelves out of a pet’s reach. 

Plants toxic to pets 

Plants found in flower beds, vegetable gardens, and indoor planters and arrangements can be toxic to pets. Cats, who particularly like to munch on greenery, are sensitive to many plant types, but dogs also can be at risk.