Flea Products Top Reason for Pet Toxicity in Alabama

28 Mar 2016 Lacey Bachus
Pet Toxicity Calls Per State Pet Toxicity Calls Per State ASPCA

Every home contains everyday items and substances that can be dangerous or even fatal if ingested by dogs and cats.  In Alabama, the most calls are related to cat and dog flea products.

This is National Poison Prevention Week and that includes being aware of items dangerous to your pets and what you should do if something happens.

Keep the following foods away from pets:

  • Coffee grounds & tea
  • Fatty foods
  • Chocolate
  • Avocado
  • Alcohol
  • Yeast dough
  • Grapes/raisins
  • Salt
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Onions & garlic
  • Any products containing xylitol (an artificial sweetener) – check gums, mints & peanut butter

Always keep the garbage out of a pet’s reach, as rotting food contains molds or bacteria that could cause food poisoning.  As well plastic wrappers and aluminum foil are dangerous to pets.

Cleaning Products

  • Many household cleaners can be used safely around pets. However, if the label states “keep pets and children away from area until dry”, follow those directions.
  • Mothballs can cause digestive tract irritation, liver, kidney and blood cell damage, swelling of the brain tissues, seizures, coma, respiratory tract damage (if inhaled) and even death (if ingested).


  • Flea and tick prevention products labeled “for use on dogs only” or “for use on cats only” should never be used other species.
  • If a pet ingests rat or mouse poison, potentially serious or even life-threatening illness can result. Place the poison in areas completely inaccessible to pets.


Never give your pet any medication, including over-the-counter medications, unless directed by your veterinarian. Human medications that pose higher risk to pets include:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen
  • Acetaminophen
  • Diet Pills/Vitamins
  • Cold Medicines
  • Antihistamines
  • Antidepressants

Antifreeze, Herbicides and Insecticides

  • Ethylene glycol-containing antifreeze and coolants can be fatal.
  • When chemical treatments such as insecticides, plant/lawn fertilizers or weed killers are applied to grassy areas, keep your pet off the lawn for the manufacturer’s recommended time.
  • If pets are exposed to wet chemicals or granules that adhere to their legs or body, they may lick it off later; stomach upset or more serious problems could result.


  • Certain types of lilies (Lilium and Hemerocallis species) are highly toxic to cats, resulting in kidney failure if  ingested.
  • Lily of the Valley, oleander, yew, foxglove, and kalanchoe may cause heart problems if ingested.
  • Sago palms (Cycas species) can cause severe intestinal problems, seizures and liver damage, especially if the nut portion of the plant is consumed.
  • Azaleas, rhododendrons and tulip/narcissus bulbs can cause intestinal upset, weakness, depression, heart problems, coma and death.
  • Other plants that can cause intestinal upset include amaryllis, chrysanthemums, pothos, English ivy, philodendron, corn plant, mother-in-law’s tongue, hibiscus, hydrangea, peace lily and schefflera/scheffleria.
  • Additionally, fungi (such as mushrooms) can cause liver damage or other illnesses.


Keep these items away from your pets to keep them safe.  If you suspect they ingested or came into contact with poisonous items, call your veterinarian immediately.  After hours, contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at (888) 426-4435


Learn more about keeping your pets safe from poisons around your home at www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control.


“In addition to dealing with the stress of an emergency situation, pet owners often feel regret that most toxic situations could have been avoided. It takes only a few minutes to educate yourself on how to keep your pet safe and avoid the heartache that happens when a beloved pet is accidentally poisoned.”– Dr. Chase Whitworth, DVM, Patton Chapel Animal Clinic

Lacey Bacchus is an animal lover and proud parent to McGee, a Pekingese mix adopted from Shelby Humane Society. She is Director of Marketing for Oak View Animal Hospital, Patton Chapel Animal Clinic and Valleydale Animal Clinic.

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Birmingham Post-Herald (BPH) is Birmingham, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.

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