Pet Health Tips


Call the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center's hotline at

Be ready to provide:

Your name, address and phone number
Information concerning the poison your pet was exposed to, such as the amount ingested, if known, and the time since exposure
Your pet's species, breed, age, sex and weight
The problems your pet is experiencing
If your pet is having seizures, unconscious or losing consciousness, or having difficulty breathing, contact your vet immediately!


Top 10 household items poisonous to pets

  1. Human medications including painkillers, cold medicine, dietary supplements and antidepressants.
  2. Insecticides, especially misuse of flea and tick products (such as applying a product to a cat when it was meant for a dog)
  3. People food such as chocolate, avocado, onions, hops, raisins and grapes, and products containing the sweetener xylitol (often found in gum)
  4. Plants including lilies (very toxic to cats), azalea, rhododendron and sago palm
  5. Veterinary medications that are improperly dispensed or misapplied. Antibiotics, de-wormers, anti-inflammatory drugs and others can cause problems if misused.
  6. Rodenticides that use bait to attract rats and mice can be attractive to pets too, and can cause seizures, bleeding or kidney damage.
  7. Household cleaners such as detergents, bleaches and disinfectants can cause problems if inhaled by pets.
  8. Heavy metals, especially lead, which is in paint chips, linoleum and consumer products.
  9. Garden products, especially certain types of fertilizer
  10. Chemical hazards found in products such as antifreeze, paint thinner, drain cleaners and pool chemicals

Source: ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center: Top 10 Pet Poisons of 2009.

 Common human foods that can be poisonous to pets

  1. Chocolate, coffee, caffeine
  2. Alcohol
  3. Avocado
  4. Macadamia nuts
  5. Grapes and raisins
  6. Yeast dough
  7. Raw or undercooked meat, eggs and bones
  8. Items sweetened with xylitol (found in gum, candy, baked goods and toothpaste)
  9. Onions, garlic, chives
  10. Milk
  11. Salt

Source: ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center: People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets


If you think your pet is overheated, call your vet immediately!

Signs of heat stroke:

  • Skin is hot to the touch
  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Rapid panting
  • Distress
  • Loss of coordination
  • Collapse
  • Unconsciousness

What to do if your pet is overheated:

  • Remove the animal from the heat
  • Use cold water, ice packs or wet towels to cool the head and body
  • Offer small amounts of water after the pet has begun to cool down
  • DO NOT immerse the animal in cold water!

*Source: The Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health Home ed., PP 1052


If you think your pet has frostbite or hypothermia, call your vet immediately!

Signs of frostbite and hypothermia:

  • Frostbite: skin is pale or red, swollen and painful or numb
  • Frostbite typically affects poorly insulated body parts such as the tips of the ears
  • Hypothermia: slow pulse, shallow breathing,  disorientation, collapse, unconsciousness

What to do if your pet is affected:

  • For frostbite, warm the affected area slowly. Do NOT rub it or apply snow or hot water.
  • For hypothermia, if the animal is wet, dry him thoroughly, then place wrapped, warm (NOT hot) water bottles around the body.

*Source: The Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health Home ed., PP 1052


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