Chocolate (theobromine) and Caffeine can cause excitation and cardiovascular changes that can be potentially fatal. Milder cases of toxic ingestion involve vomiting, diarrhea, increased drinking and urinating and lethargy. The toxic substance within chocolate, Methylxanthine, varies according to the type of chocolate. Generally, the more bitter the chocolate, the more toxic it is. For example, dark cooking chocolate is much more toxic than milk chocolate which is more toxic than white chocolate. Treatment involves immediately inducing vomiting or if it is too late, providing supportive care and cardiovascular monitoring until the chocolate is out of their system.
Onions, Garlic and other members of the genus Allium can be harmful to dogs and cats. Small amounts of onion can cause damage to red blood cells which results in Haemolytic Anaemia.
Macadamia Nuts are dangerous to dogs. Ingestion can cause weakness, lethargy, vomiting, incoordination and tremors. Treatment involves inducing vomiting, enemas and potentially supportive care if they are showing clinical signs.
Uncooked Bread Dough contains yeast which will continue to rise and expand in the stomach causing abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting and potentially gastrointestinal obstruction or torsion. Surgery is sometimes required in these cases.
Grapes and Raisins can cause kidney failure if eaten in large amounts. At this stage we do not know why. If your dog ingests a large number of grapes it is best to see a vet immediately.
Xylitol is a sugar alternative that is used in many commercial sugar-free candies, gum, and other food items. Xylitol has been shown to cause severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and liver damage in dogs and can be fatal. Recent articles have warned pet owners about peanut butter as some replaced sugar with xylitol within.
Fatty foods can cause pancreatitis in dogs or cats which is inflammation of an abdominal organ involved in digestive processes. Clinical signs include vomiting, lethargy, diarrhoea or abdominal pain. Milder cases may be managed as outpatients however often treatment involves hospitalization for intravenous fluids and pain relief.
Mouldy foods or ingestion of mycotoxins causes gastrointestinal upsets, tremors, seizures and potentially death.
Lillies are highly toxic to cats causing rapid acute renal failure and death. If your cat has eaten any part of a lily plant (or is seen to have pollen around its face) see a vet immediately.
Wandering dew causes a severe contact skin allergy leading to extreme itching and secondary infections.
Many fertilizers and herbicides can cause gastrointestinal upsets including bone and blood meal, paraquat, essential oils and Melaleuca Oil.
Rat bait (containing difethialone, warfarin, brodifacoum etc) cause of loss of clotting abilities leading to haemorrhage from all body systems. Symptoms may include respiratory signs, bleeding from orifices, bruising or lethargy. It is important you bring your animal to the vet immediately and make sure you bring with you the type of rat bait ingested if possible.
Snail bait contains Metaldehyde which primarily affects the central nervous system. Ingestion of the bait can cause seizures and muscle tremors, liver problems and hyperthermia. If ingested get to your vet immediately to induce vomiting and treat any symptoms.
Ingestion of Batteries can cause damage and death of the gastrointestinal tract or heavy metal poisoning. Endoscopic removal of the battery may be required, and the dog should not vomit as it may cause corrosive injury to the food pipe.
Other toxic substances > Ring the vet if ingested
- Ethylene Glycol
- Propylene glycol
- Cyanoacrylate and diisocyanate (glue)
- Hydrocarbons (e.g. petrol, turps, lighter fuels)
- Hydrofluoric acid (in rust removers and automotive cleaning products)
- Chemotherapy drugs
- Other drugs e.g. albuterol, amphetamines, ACE Inhibitors, Baclofen, Benzodiazepines, Beta-blockers. Calcipotrienne, Calcium Channel Blockers, Diuretics etc)
- Illicit and recreational drugs e.g.cocaine or marijuana
- Soaps, detergents, fabric softeners and deodorizers
- Pyrethrins and pyrethroids
- Heavy metals e.g. iron, lead and zinc.
- Blue-green algae.
- Cardiac glycosides
- Rhododentrons and azaleas
- Sago palms
- Electrical cords