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Common poisonings

Common poisonings

Here’s a list of common toxic substances it’s good to be aware of.
If your pet eats or comes into contact with any of the below or some other unusual substance please call us on 01525 373329.
Alternatively call the Animal Poison Line on 01202 509000 . Please note there is a charge for this service.
  • Chocolate is poisonous for all pets – even a tiny amount of chocolate (for example,a couple of squares of dark chocolate for a small dog) is likely to make them ill. It causes vomiting and diarrhoea, and sometimes even fatal convulsions. Keep chocolate well out ofreach, but if your pet still manages to get hold of some, contact us for advice straight away.
  • Grapes (also raisins, sultanas, currants) are incredibly toxic to some dogs and cats,causing serious kidney failure, whilst others appear to be fine. It’s not worth the risk to find out. Don’t forget that Christmas cake, Christmas pudding and mince pies all contain lots of raisins, currants and sultanas.
  • Nuts can cause stomach upsets, twitching and convulsions.
  • Onions (raw or cooked, also garlic, leeks, shallots) can cause an upset stomach and can trigger anaemia. Remember that stuffing and gravy may contain onions too.
  • Xylitol is an artificial sweetener, which is often found in sugar free chewing gum, medicines and processed foods (including some peanut butters). It’s really dangerous for dogs even in small amounts, causing fatal liver failure.
  • Fatty foods of many kinds will give your pets an upset stomach. With a particularly excessive amount they could even get pancreatitis – a very painful inflammation of the pancreas.
  • Bones, especially cooked poultry bones, can get stuck in the throat or intestines.This is very painful, and is likely to need an anaesthetic and operation for the bone fragments to be removed. Make sure that the bones from your Sunday Roast are disposed of safely, and that the bin is secure!

Non food items

  • Position all candles and tea lights out of reach of pets and children
  • Pick up all the little fiddly plastic bits and tags left after shopping – these can easily get stuck in an inquisitive pet’s mouth or throat.
  • Antifreeze is extremely toxic, particularly to cats. It tastes sweet so is very attractive and even small spills in the garage are enough to poison a cat. Signs may take 2 days to develop by which time it is usually too late to treat. Make sure antifreeze bottles are secure and any spills cleaned up.
  • Rock salt – salt used on roads in cold weather can cause illness if pets lick the salt from their paws. Clean your pets paws with water or a mild shampoo after walking in rock salt. If you are concerned that your pet has eaten some rock salt please contact us immediately
  • Conkers – may cause vomiting, diarrhoea and muscle tremors in dogs. They usually need to have eaten quite a few for signs to develop.
  • Both cats and dogs seem to like items as varied as batteries, ear plugs, small socks, cake decorations and elastic bands. Be vigilant!


  • Human medicines should always be kept out of reach of your pets. Whilst all should be avoided, Nurofen in particular is toxic to dogs and paracetamol is lethal for cats, so make sure handbags are put somewhere safe.
  • Also, some psoriasis creams can be fatal, even the small amount that can be ingested when a pet licks a hand.

If your pet does accidentally eat any of the foods or items listed above please call us on 01525 373329. We partner with Vets Now to run a full emergency service throughout nights weekends and the holiday periods

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