National Animal Poison Prevention Week

Happy National Animal Poison Prevention Week!!  For those who may not know, NAPP Week (as I’m going to call it because the whole thing is just far too long, lol) started this week on Sunday the 19th.

So let’s talk about things that are poisonous to our pets.

Treat Box Chocolate Snack Gourmet Candies Sweets

Most pet owners know there are substances out there that are toxic to our beloved four-legged fluffy and not-so-fluffybutt family members.  Chocolate is a major food toxic to both dogs and cats, not just because of the caffeine content, but also because of a chemical it contains called theobromine.  Neither of these substances can be broken down properly by either cats or dogs and so should be kept far away from them.



Alcohol is another substance toxic to both dogs and cats.  Some people think it’s all fun and games to give a little bit of alcohol to their pet in celebration of an event such as Christmas or New Years and watch them wobble around acting drunk, but it’s not.  The consumption of alcohol by a dog or cat can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma, and ultimately death.  Alcohol poisoning in dogs and cats is becoming an increasing concern for vets around the world, not only because people are ignorantly and deliberately giving it to them, but also because many people don’t think well when drunk and leave their drinks down where an animal can get to it.  Dogs and cats are curious creatures and will, if given the chance, sniff at and taste or drink down a carelessly unguarded drink.

One woman’s story comes to mind:

Yorkshire Terrier Puppy Yorkshire Terrier Puppy Dog

Sarah Hendy, rescuer and owner of an abandoned Yorkie named Casey, tells of the tragedy of carelessly leaving her drink unattended on the floor.  It took little more than a second for Casey to sneak over and lap up the leftover alcohol.  She admits they at first found it funny watching Casey staggering around and being unable to jump onto the sofa.  However, “it stopped being funny very quickly.”  They’d looked on the internet to see if any dogs had suffered negative effects from being given alcohol.  All the stories noted the staggering about followed by a period of “sleeping it off.”  None of that could have prepared Sarah for the reality of what her little bit of carelessness caused.  Casey soon became floppy and couldn’t even hold her head up.  Sarah called the vet at 10 PM on New Year’s Eve.  Yet even the vet didn’t seem all that worried.  Jokes were made about partying too hard, but he suggested bringing Casey in just in case.  Following protocol for alcohol ingestion, the vet took some blood for testing and inserted an IV with fluids to flush the alcohol from Casey’s system.  They then settled the little Yorkie into a well-padded crate for overnight observation and Sarah Hendy went home, reassured that Casey would be fine.

By 12:10 AM, Casey was suffering from seizures.  The vets tried seizure medications and each seemed to work for a short time but ultimately couldn’t stop the seizures.

By 7:30 AM Casey’s chances for recovery were not looking good.  The vets called Sarah and put Casey under general anesthesia to give her brain and body a rest from the constant fitting.

Not long after, the vet called asking Sarah to come in to see Casey.  For a moment, there was hope.  Casey seemed to be doing a little better under the anesthesia, though her chances of full recovery were still slim.

9 AM the next day, Sarah woke and knew something was very wrong as she had not received the usual morning update from the vet.  Within a few moments of waking, the phone rang.  Casey was in a very bad way.  The fitting had started again, her temperature had sky-rocketed, her blood pressure had dropped, and her heart was racing fit to burst.  There had been no update because the vets had been trying to save Casey’s life or at least give Sarah and her family time to get to her to say goodbye.

Sarah woke her children with the news that they had to get dressed as quickly as possible so they could make it to the vet and say goodbye.  They spent a few moments with their beloved little dog and sat and watched over her as Casey breathed her last.

You can read the full tragic story, here:

Take this warning to heart:  ALCOHOL IS POISON TO PETS!  Giving a pet alcohol is not funny.  It’s not a joke.  It’s not a game.  If you give your pet alcohol, you are gambling with their life.  If you suspect your pet of consuming alcohol, please, please, please call your vet immediately!

Other substances toxic to pets include apple seeds (dogs and cats), apricot pits (dogs and cats), cherry pits (dogs and cats), candy (dogs and cats), coffee (dogs and cats), citrus if consumed in large amounts (dogs and cats), grapes (dogs and cats), raisins (dogs and cats), gum (dogs and cats), hops (dogs and cats), macadamia nuts (dogs), moldy foods (dogs and cats), mustard seeds (dogs and cats), onions and onion powder (dogs only in large amounts, cats), garlic (dogs only in large amounts, cats), chives (dogs only in large amounts, cats), peach pits (dogs and cats), green parts of potato leaves and skins (dogs and cats), rhubarb leaves (dogs and cats), tea that contains caffeine (dogs and cats), green parts of tomato leaves and stems (dogs and cats), salt (dogs and cats), salty foods (dogs and cats), walnuts (dogs and cats), xylitol (dogs and cats), and yeast dough (dogs and cats).

Besides foods, there are also certain plants that are toxic to pets.  Some of the more common ones are Aloe Vera (dogs and cats), Autumn Crocus (dogs and cats), Azalea (dogs and cats), the roots of Cyclamen (dogs and cats), Kalanchoe (dogs and cats), Tiger Lily (cats), Day Lily (cats), Asiatic Lily (cats), Easter Lily (cats), Japanese Show Lily (cats), leaves and flowers of Oleander (dogs and cats), Dieffenbachia (dogs and cats), Daffodil (dogs and cats), Lily of the Valley (dogs and cats), the leaves and seeds of Dago Palms (dogs and cats), the bulbs of Tulips (dogs and cats), and Hyacinth (dogs and cats).

For a comprehensive list of substances, plants, and other things toxic to pets, visit

If you suspect your pet of consuming a toxic substance you can call the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680.  If your pet is already showing signs of poisoning, please take them to the vet!  They stand a better chance of survival if they get to the vet quickly; always, always better safe than sorry.

Happy NAPP Week!

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