Toxins and Poisons
If you suspect that your pet has ingested a poisonous substance, please call us immediately at (952) 448-2936. If it is after clinic hours, please call the Affiliated Emergency Clinic in Eden Prairie (952) 942-8272.
If you are unsure if a substance that was ingested is poisonous, please contact the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680. The Pet Poison Helpline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Common Items Toxic to Pets
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) can be very dangerous to dogs and cats. Cats seem to be especially sensitive because they are missing a specific enzyme that would allow their bodies to metabolize the drug. As little as one extra-strength tablet can cause death in an average size cat. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage and affect the ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body.
- Ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®) can cause serious liver and kidney damage in both dogs and cats.
- Topical hormone creams used by women to treat symptoms of menopause can cause signs of heat in female dogs and cats that have already been spayed. Signs of breast tissue enlargement and hair loss can be seen in both male and female dogs exposed to the creams. If you use a topical hormone cream, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after applying the cream. Also, do not allow your pet to lick or rub against the area where the cream was applied.
- Sugar-free gum and other products containing xylitol can be fatal to dogs and cats. When a pet ingests xylitol, its body thinks that the blood sugar is increasing, so the body releases insulin in very large amounts. Large amounts of insulin cause the blood sugar to drop dramatically. Serious decreases in blood sugar can occur within thirty minutes of ingestion. Xylitol can also cause liver failure.
- Grapes and raisins contain a toxin that can lead to kidney damage in dogs and cats.
- Onions and garlic both contain a toxin that can cause damage to red blood cells, which leads to anemia. Be cautious of certain baby foods, especially the “dinner” forms, which contain onion powder.
- Chocolate and cocoa contain substances that cause severe gastrointestinal, heart and nervous system abnormalities. Dogs and cats that ingest chocolate typically develop seizures and heart rhythm abnormalities. Depending on the size of your pet, ingesting even a small amount of chocolate can be fatal. Use caution when using cocoa mulch in your yard since this type of mulch does contain cocoa and can be fatal if ingested.
- Antifreeze smells and tastes sweet, making it attractive for dogs and cats to drink. Antifreeze can cause severe kidney damage, even in small amounts.
- Mouse and rat poisons are extremely toxic to dogs and cats. If ingested, they interfere with proper blood clotting and can quickly lead to death.
- There are numerous plants that are poisonous to dogs and cats. For a list of these plants, please visit the ASPCA website at www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control.