5 Household Items That Are Poisonous
to Pets

A vet from Hackensack shares ways to keep these hazardous products out of your furry friend’s reach.
Little Mongrel Dog With Chocolate


Think about it: Pets have a lot in common with toddlers. Sure they’re cute and all, but their curious natures tend to lead them into household products and items that could be dangerous—and even deadly.

“Anything potentially toxic to pets should be kept in a cabinet or closet out of their reach,” says Zacharia Marteney, DVM and medical director of Meadowlands Veterinary Hospital in Hackensack. “Many dogs can follow their nose and learn to open low cabinets or closets, so child locks can help make sure pets stay safe and out of trouble.”

But what are some items in particular that are especially hazardous and poisonous for pups? BluePearl Speciality and Emergency Pet Hospital, which has a location in Paramus, compiled a list of the top five most seen pet toxicities of 2020. They are:

  1. Chocolate. Caffeine and theobromine in chocolate can be toxic and sometimes even lethal to dogs. The amount of damage it can do depends on the size of the dog and the type of chocolate. To avoid exposure, make sure your M&Ms and chocolate chip cookies are kept in a cabinet that’s way out of your dog’s reach.
  2. Marijuana. This one is probably a given, but it deserves a reminder as more and more states, including New Jersey, legalize cannabis. CBD products are generally non-toxic, says Dr. Marteney, but THC can be absorbed both orally and through inhalation and is toxic to pets. Store it where your pet can’t get a hold of it.
  3. Rodenticide. Because these products are designed to kill rodents by causing high calcium levels, internal bleeding, brain swelling or toxic gas production, they are particularly dangerous to pets too. Make sure containers of rodenticide are up on a high shelf in the garage or storage closet and never within your pet’s reach. And keep in mind “pets can also be exposed by ingesting rodents who have recently eaten the toxin,” Dr. Marteney adds.
  4. Grapes and raisins. Parents know that grapes are a choking hazard and need to be cut in half before being served to toddlers, but pet parents know that grapes are a big no-no for dogs—no matter how you (literally) slice them—because they can cause acute kidney failure in dogs, says Marteney. If Fluffy accidentally ingests grapes or raisins, take him or her to be treated by a vet immediately.
  5. Human medication. Both over-the-counter and prescription medications should not be given to pets. These include aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, naproxen, ADHD medications, antidepressants, heart medications, cold medications and many herbal supplements. Be sure all meds are stowed away in a medical cabinet. To be on the safe side, don’t leave them in an accessible purse or jacket pocket either.

Dr. Marteney also says the ASPCA Animal Poison Control hotline—which you can reach at 888. 426.4435—is a great resource that guides pet owners on what to do if your dog ingests any of the above substances.

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