Common Household Dangers

  • Anitfreeze
  • De-icing salts used to melt snow and ice
  • Chemicals used on lawns and gardens, such as fertilizer and plant food
  • Cedar and other soft wood shavings, including pine. They emit fumes that may be dangerous to small mammals like hamsters and gerbils.
  • Human medications including pills and ointments
  • String, yarn, rubber bands, and dental floss
  • Toys with removable parts—like squeaky toys or stuffed animals with plastic eyes

Human foods to keep away from pets:

  • Onions and onion powder
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Grapes
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Turkey & chicken bones
  • Chocolate
  • Yeast dough
  • Coffee grounds and beans
  • Salt
  • Tomato, Potato and Rhubarb leaves and stems
  • Avocados (toxic to birds, mice, rabbits, horses, cattle, and dairy goats)
  • Anything with mold growing on it.

Household plants to keep away from pets:

  • Azalea
  • Geraniums
  • Dieffenbachia (dumb cane)
  • Lilies
  • Mistletoe
  • Philodendron

Raw Meat

While there are advocates of raw food diets for pets, there can also be dangers associated with it. Chicken can be especially dangerous. It is a major carrier of Salmonella bacteria.

How do you know if your animal has been infected with salmonella?

Here are the most common signs:

  • Diarrhea – often watery and containing mucus or blood
  • Vomiting
  • Increased salivation (especially cats)
  • Increased thirst
  • Abdominal pain

Other signs include:

  • High body temperatures
  • Depression
  • Dehydration
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness
  • Shock

Many animals can be infected with Salmonella but show no signs at all. That presents a real risk to humans especially young children who may handle infected pets. Basic hygiene is important to prevent the spread of the bacteria, especially after playing with animals, cleaning out their environments or handling their food and water bowls. Hands should be washed thoroughly.


Paraquat is one of the most widely used herbicides in the world. It is quick-acting, non-selective, and kills green plant tissue on contact.

Animals often vomit quite soon after ingesting the paraquat-containing food. Sometimes they will vomit up pieces of the food that the poison was hidden in. Occasionally they’ll vomit multiple times.

Often, animals will seem to feel better after the initial vomiting, but others will continue to vomit. Usually, within a couple of days, the vomiting will start up again, and the animals will become lethargic. They will usually stop eating. If very large quantities are ingested, they may progress more quickly through the symptoms and show signs of respiratory distress or death.

Slug Bait & Other Poisons

Slug baits:

he ones containing metaldehyde are toxic to pets. They are cheap, abundant, and well advertised, but they seriously affect your pet’s central nervous system.
They can cause tremors, drooling, restlessness and often proceed to seizures and death if not treated.

Non-toxic alternatives:

  • Beer or yeast placed in slug traps
  • Copper bars or crushed eggshells placed around plants
  • Iron phosphate pellets found under commercial name such as “Worry-Free,” “Sluggo,” and “Escargot.”

Rodent Baits:

The most popular chemicals used to control rodent populations have been “anticoagulants.” These cause the body to lose its ability to clot normally, and in three to five days, a rodent will die of internal bleeding. Currently, one of the most popular baits on the market is bromethalin. Animals who ingest a substantial quantity of this bait can have tremors, running fits, seizures, and death within the first few hours. Smaller amounts may cause weakness and wobbliness that progress to paralysis and coma. Bromethalin is often green and in a block or pellets like many anticoagulants.

If you can’t use non-toxic alternatives, always use a tamper-proof bait station. For the best possible results, consult with or utilize a professional who is knowledgeable about proper baiting techniques, equipment, and current products on the market and who is accustomed to treating homes with pets and children.