A Guide to Pet Poison Prevention

The best way to prepare for a poison emergency is to educate yourself and plan ahead.

With the help of the veterinary toxicologists at VET PETS, Trupanion highlights the most common poisons and how you can prevent and prepare for an incident.

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Top Poisons Affecting Trupanion Pets

Cats and dogs are both at risk for poisoning, and many pet poisons can be found in your cupboards, garage, even your everyday purse or briefcase. This provides the curious cat and dog with easy access to items that can cause them serious harm. In fact, we have searched our database and found thousands of cases of pets poisoned by everyday household items. We wanted to share some of the most common poisons we found, so we can help you prevent this from happening to your own pet.

Food and beverages: Chocolate is a well-known toxin, but we still see hundreds of claims for chocolate toxicity a year. This is especially true around the holidays. Other common poisons include xylitol (found in sugar-free gum), grapes, raisins, alcohol, yeast dough, caffeine, onions, macadamias, and mushrooms.

Substances around the home: We all want to get rid of bugs and rodents we find in our homes, but that can pose a serious problem for pets, as poison-related claims involving pest control products top the list. Antifreeze, dishwashing detergent, and household cleaner are also real dangers.

Medications: We see many poison claims involving human pain relievers and medications because the pills are so small and can be easily scooped up by pets when dropped. These include acetaminophen, pseudoephedrine, albuterol, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen.

Plants: Ingestion of poisonous plants is a big concern, since many people like to decorate with them throughout the year. Lilies are especially dangerous for cats, and we’ve seen several claims for sago palm ingestion in dogs.

For a full list of pet poisons by category, visit VET PETS.

If You Think Your Pet Has Been Poisoned

  • Stay calm and act fast. Many of these toxins absorb quickly, and a fast response is the most effective.
  • If necessary, safely remove the toxin from your pet’s reach. Do not allow them to ingest any more of the substance.
  • Contact your veterinarian immediately. If your veterinarian’s office is closed, contact your local emergency clinic, or call VET PETS and follow their instructions.

How to Prepare

  • Keep emergency contact information readily accessible including your veterinarian’s phone number and directions to your local 24-hour emergency veterinary hosptial.
  • Talk to your veterinarian to determine the best plan for you and your pet.
  • Prepare a Pet First Aid Kit with any supplies you may need.
  • Familiarize yourself with pet poisons and keep them out of reach of your pets. If you believe your pet has ingested a poison, do not wait for signs to develop - take your pet immediately to the veterinarian.

Real Stories of Pet Poisonings



Georgie the pug ingested yeast dough, the ethanol from the yeast made him extremely ill. Read more about Georgie.



Bruce the domestic shorthair ingested part of a lily, which lead to renal failure. Read more about Bruce.



Gus the Wheaten terrier ingested a box of yogurt-covered raisins and was in the hospital for three days. Read more about Gus.

More Pet Poison Resources