Pet Poison Prevention

March is Pet Poison Prevention and Awareness month, and we want to remind our pet families to always “pet-proof” your house and to be aware of those items in your home that may cause serious harm to your pet. 

If you suspect your pet has ingested a toxic substance, or your pet is exhibiting any unusual signs or symptoms – such as drooling, vomiting, difficulty breathing, seizures, or loss of consciousness – they require immediate treatment.  

Boundary Bay Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Critical Hospital is open 24/7. If your pet is experiencing a medical emergency, please come directly to our hospital. If you have time, call us to let us know you’re on the way (604) 514-8383. Visit our emergencies webpage for more information.

Here is a list of the top 10 things that are poisonous to pets:
  1. Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medications

OTC medications are the top toxin on the list and are the most common cause of pet poisonings. The most common items are cold medications, vitamins, and pain relievers (ibuprofen, naproxen, acetaminophen).

  1. Human Prescription Medications

Maintaining its spot as the second top toxin, prescription medications, including antidepressants, cardiac, and ADHD meds, can lead to gastrointestinal upset and kidney failure in severe cases.

  1. Human Food

The most common food product cases include ingestion of protein bars and shakes, xylitol, garlic, onions, grapes, and raisins.

  1. Chocolate

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) averages over 103 cases of chocolate ingestion per day, which results in more than 1 case every 15 minutes. The higher the cocoa content, the more dangerous it is.

  1. Plants

There has been an increase in plant-related poisonings in pets. Many household plants are toxic, including Lilies, Aloe Vera, Ivy, Jade, Dieffenbachia, Elephant Ear (Caladium),  and ZZ plant (Zamoculcas).

  1. Household toxins

Many cleaning products include toxic ingredients like bleach, ammonia, chlorine, glycol ethers, and formaldehyde. Paint and spackle are also toxic to pets.

  1. Veterinary Products

Chewable medications (pain medications, incontinence medications, calming treats) make up a large part of this category.

  1. Rodenticides

Serious symptoms can result from ingestion of rodenticides (chemical baits for mice and other small rodents), such as bleeding, seizures, or kidney failure.

  1. Insecticides

As safer alternatives for pest control emerge, we have seen a decrease in the number of calls concerning insecticides, but these products should be kept away from all pets.

  1. Garden products

Slug bait is extremely toxic to all animals. Ingestion of slug bait is life-threatening and should be treated immediately. Fertilizers contain ingredients (bone meal, blood meal, feather meal, etc.) that dogs love to eat but can be toxic. 

24-hour emergency poison hotlines: 

24/7 Animal Poison Control Center at 1-855-764-7661 or  

ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) at 1-888-426-4435 (fees may apply)

Other helpful articles and websites:


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