Your Pet's Health - 101 Things You Didn't Know Could Harm Your Pet

Provided by the ASPCA

Hazards in the Home

Make your home a safer place for your pets by keeping them away from the following hazardous household items, plants, foods, objects, and trouble areas.

If you think your pet has been exposed to a poisonous substance, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center can help. Call 1-888-426-4435

Household Items

  1. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications
  2. Acetaminophen
  3. Cold and flu medications
  4. Antidepressants
  5. Vitamins
  6. Home insect products
  7. Rat and mouse bait
  8. Bleach
  9. Diet pills
  10. Disinfectants
  11. Fabric softener
  12. Lead
  13. Lighter fluid
  1. Mothballs
  2. Anti-cancer drugs
  3. Solvents (paint thinners, etc)
  4. Flea and tick products
  5. Drain cleaners
  6. Liquid potpourri
  7. Slug and snail bait
  8. Oven cleaner sprays
  9. Lime/scale remover
  10. Fly bait
  11. Detergents
  12. Tobacco products

Do you have any of these plants in or around your home? If so, make sure they're in places where your pets can't reach them, or consider getting rid of them altogether.

26. Common Plants

Andromeda Japonica
Asian Lily (Liliaceae)
Asparagus Fern
Australian Nut
Autumn Crocus
Bird of Paradise
American Bittersweet
European Bittersweet
Branching Ivy
Buddist Pine
Calla Lily
Castor Bean
Ceriman (aka Cutleaf Philodendron)
Chinaberry Tree
Chinese Evergreen
Christmas Rose
Corn Plant (aka Cornstalk Plant)
Cornstalk Plant (aka Corn Plant)
Cutleaf Philodendron (aka Ceriman)
Day Lily
Devil's Ivy
Dumb Cane
Deadly Nightshade (See Nightshade)
Easter Lily
Elephant Ears
Emerald Feather (aka Emerald Fern)
Emerald Fern (aka Emerald Feather)
English Ivy
Fiddle-Leaf Philodendron
Flamingo Plant

Fiddle-Leaf Philodendron
Flamingo Plant
Florida Beauty
Fruit Salad Plant
Glacier Ivy
Glory Lily
Gold Dieffenbachia
Gold Dust Dracaena
Golden Pothos
Green Gold Nephthysis
Hahn's self branching English Ivy
Heartleaf Philodendron
Heavenly Bamboo
Horsehead Philodendron
Hurricane Plant
Japanese Show Lily
Japanese Yew (aka Yew)
Jerusalem Cherry
Lace Fern
Lacy Tree
Lily of the Valley
Macadamia Nut
Madagascar Dragon Tree
Marble Queen
Mauna Loa Peace Lily (aka Peace Lily)
Mexican Breadfruit
Mistletoe "American"
Morning Glory
Needlepoint Ivy

Orange Day Lily
Peace Lily (aka Mauna Loa Peace Lily)
Philodendron Pertusum
Plumosa Fern
Precatory Bean
Queensland Nut
Red Emerald
Red Lily
Red-Margined Dracaena (aka Straight-Margined Dracaena)
Red Princess
Ribbon Plant (Dracaena sanderiana)
Rubrum Lily
Saddle Leaf Philodendron
Sago Palm
Satin Pothos
Spotted Dumb Cane
Stargazer Lily
Striped Dracaena
Sweetheart Ivy
Swiss Cheese Plant
Taro Vine
Tiger Lily
Tomato Plant
Tree Philodendron
Tropic Snow Dumbcane
Variable Dieffenbachia
Variegated Philodendron
Warneckei Dracaena
Wood Lily
Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow
Yew (aka Japanese Yew)

You should never let your dogs or cats eat any of these foods. Be sure to store them where your pets can't find them.

Harmful Foods

  1. Avocados
  2. Chocolate (all forms)
  3. Coffee (all forms)
  4. Onions & onion powder
  5. Garlic
  6. Grapes
  7. Raisins
  8. Macadamia nuts
  9. Alcoholic beverages
  10. Moldy/spoiled foods
  11. Salt
  12. Fatty foods
  13. Gum, candies, or other foods sweetened with xylitol
  14. Tea leaves
  15. Raw yeast dough

These household objects can cause puncture wounds, choking, or internal damage to you pets. Make sure they aren't left lying around.


  1. Balls (specifically balls that are small or have a smooth outer coating)
  2. Batteries
  3. Bread twist ties
  4. Buttons
  5. Coins
  6. Cotton swabs
  7. Glass
  8. Hair pins
  9. Jewelry
  10. Nylons
  11. Paper clips
  12. Plastic wrap
  13. Socks
  14. Rubber-bands
  15. Sharp objects (knives, razors, scissors, nails, needles, etc.)
  16. String, yarn, or dental floss
  17. Towels
  18. Wax

Dogs and cats are more likely to be injured in these areas of your home. Keep your pets away from these places or watch them closely when they're near them if you can.

Trouble Areas

  1. Balconies - tall balconies without safety railings, or railings spaced too far apart, can lead to a dangerous fall.
  2. Bath tubs or sinks - Small pets can drown in full bathtubs or sinks.
  3. Doors and windows - Dogs and cats can run away if they find an open door or window. They can also get seriously injured if they run across a busy road. Windows should have screens to prevent cats or other pets from falling out.
  4. Electrical cords - Your pet can be electrocuted if they bite or chew on electrical cords that are plugged in.
  5. Fireplace - Your pet can be burned by the flames or get sick if they eat the ashes.
  6. Toilets - Toilet water is not healthy for pets to drink; always remember to close the lid. Make sure you have plenty of clean, fresh water for your pets if you must leave them alone.
  7. Washer and Dryer - Your pets can crawl into a washer or dryer without your knowledge; close the doors to these appliances when you're not using them.

Outside the Home

Make sure your pets are safe as they enjoy the outdoors by keeping them away from these potential dangers.


  1. Algae* - Can be found in ponds or other bodies of water; certain forms can be toxic.
  2. Antifreeze/Coolant* - Some types of antifreeze or coolant products contain ethylene glycol, which is highly toxic to dogs and cats, even in small amounts.
  3. Fire pit/Grill - Flames can result in serious burns and ashes can cause illness if ingested.
  4. Fences or gates - Your pets can run away if they find openings in damaged fences or gates. They can also get hurt or strangled if the get stuck.
  5. Deck lattice - Your dogs or cats can get stuck in the openings under your deck and possibly be strangled.
  6. De-icing salts - Some formulations can contain a chemicals that are hazardous to pets if ingested in large amounts. Look for "pet-friendly" de-icing salts.
  7. Compost (particularly if moldy)
  8. Gasoline*
  9. Oil*
  10. Pesticides*
  11. Cocoa bean shell mulch fertilizer*
  12. Swimming pools and hot tubs - Never leave your pet unattended near uncovered pools, even if they can swim.

Holiday Hazards

Help your pets enjoy the holidays safely by keeping them away from potential problems on these special days.

  1. Alcohol - Alcoholic beverages are toxic to pets and should NEVER be given to them during the holidays or any other time.

Valentine's Day

  1. Flowers and candy - Many types of flowers and plants found in bouquets are harmful to dogs and cats if they are ingested (see our list of hazardous plants above). Chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity. abnormal heart rhythm, tremors and seizures, and, in severe cases, chocolate poisoning can be fatal.


  1. Fake grass - This colorful "grass" may look appetizing to your pets, but it could cause them to choke or obstruct their intestines if ingested.
  2. Small toys and other plastic items - If swallowed, small toys and plastic Easter eggs can cause your pet to choke or even damage their intestinal tracts.

4th of July

  1. Fireworks - Fireworks can scare your pets making them run off, or cause serious injuries if detonated near them. Many formulations are also toxic if ingested.


  1. Repeatedly opening doors to greet trick-or-treaters can increase the chances of your pets running out. Keep an eye on their whereabouts at all times. If feasible, keeps cats in a secure area or closed room when opening doors.
  2. Candles - Pets are naturally curious, and may be attracted to the bright lights of the flame in dark areas. Dogs and cats could either burn themselves by the flame or knock the candle over, starting a fire.
  3. Xylitol - Candy or gum sweetened with xylitol is toxic and should be kept away from your pet.
  4. All forms of chocolate can be harmful to your pet, potentially resulting in poisoning or even pancreatic inflammation from the high fat content.


  1. Bones - Turkey, chicken, and other small animal bones are very different from the large bones you find at the pet store. These bones splinter easily and can cause serious internal damage if swallowed, so NEVER give them to your pets.
  2. Hot containers - Your dog or cat will most likely become curious when they smell something cooking. Keep an eye on hot containers so that your pet does not tip them over and get burned.


  1. Holiday plants - Christmas rose, Holly, Lillies and Mistletoe are all toxic to dogs and cats.
  2. Ribbons - It may look adorable, but placing a ribbon around your pet's neck may cause them to choke.
  3. Bubbling lights - Older forms of this attractive decoration may contain methylene chloride, which is a highly toxic chemical.
  4. Fire salts - Contain chemicals that could be harmful to pets.
  5. Angel hair (spun glass) - Can be irritating to eyes and skin, and could cause intestinal obstruction if eaten in large amounts.
  6. Christmas tree water - Stagnant tree water or water containing preservatives could result in stomach upset if ingested.
  7. Styrofoam - Can cause your pets to choke if swallowed.
  8. Ornaments - These can look like toys to cats and dogs, but they can cause serious injury, especially if your pets break or swallow them.
  9. Tinsel - Can cause choking or internal trauma if swallowed.

New Year's

  1. Balloons and Confetti - These fun New Year's party decorations can cause your pet to choke or obstruct their intestines if ingested. Keep an eye on your pets when they're around these items or move them to an area that is not decorated.
  2. Loud noises - New Year's is typically a noisy holiday. Unfortunately, loud noises frighten pets and can cause them to run off. Keep your pets in a separate room, away from noisemakers, music, and other loud sounds that may startle them.

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