Pet Poison Prevention

As pet owners, we would never intentionally poison our pets, but sometimes accidents do happen. While there are many items that we already know pose a risk to our pets such as chocolate, anti-freeze, onions, grapes and raisins – there are a growing number of products that at first glance seem harmless but can cause severe illness in our furry companions.

Here are a few products that you may not have thought would cause harm

Mouldy Food (tremorgenic mycotoxins)

Tremorgenic mycotoxins are produced when food becomes mouldy. These mycotoxins can cause tremors, and seizures in pets as well as respiratory distress, vomiting, hyperactivity, lethargy and tachycardia (rapid heartbeat). The ingestion of mouldy food is considered an emergency and any suspected ingestion should be reported to your veterinary clinic immediately. Compost heaps should be well maintained and made inaccessible to animals especially the family pet. Dogs seem to be the most common culprits when it comes to eating mouldy or spoilt foods, so it is especially important to monitor them around the compost heap.


If ingested, mothballs can cause a severe toxic reaction. Cats are especially sensitive to naphthalene which can be a primary composing agent in moth balls. Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and collapse. Liver damage can frequently occur, ingestion of moth balls should be reported immediately to your veterinarian.

Essential Oil Diffusers

Any scented oil that contains essential oils can be toxic. These oils can cause mucous membrane and gastrointestinal irritation, depression, irritation to the skin and eyes as well as ulceration of the mouth, gums, trachea and gastrointestinal system. It is important to keep all essential oils away from pets as the risk of toxic exposure is high.

Detergent Packs

We have seen a lot of advertising aimed at parents of small children, outlining the risk of ingesting detergent packs. Do we have to worry about our dogs or cats – the answer is yes. Detergent packs are easily picked up, and dogs seemed to be more attracted to them; cats are more likely to lick up spilt liquid detergent. Once the pack makes content with saliva the protective coating breaks down and the detergent will ooze out. The most common sign of detergent ingestion is vomiting; which due to the detergents foamy nature can be inhaled. This can lead to coughing, difficulty breathing, inflammation of the air passages and lung tissue. Once detergent ingestion is noted, please call the veterinary clinic immediately.

If you think your pet has come into contact with or ingested something potentially toxic or dangerous, please call the veterinary clinic immediately. Another resource available is the pet poison hotline at 855-764-7661 they also have a website that has more information on toxic items that can affect your pet.

Written by Fairmont Animal Hospital