Poisonous hazards

Common Poisons – Dogs

Going on walks each day and enjoying sniffing almost everything that lies in front of them, it’s not surprising dogs can be prone to coming into contact with things they shouldn’t! Wylie Vets, dog friendly vets, highlights some of the most common poisons for dogs. 

Slug/snail pellets

Some of these products contain an ingredient called ‘Metaldehyde’ which is extremely toxic to dogs. Dogs tend to become ‘twitchy and unsteady’ initially but this can progress to seizures and death.


Chocolate contains an ingredient called ‘theobromine’; there is a higher concentration of this in dark chocolate compared to milk or white chocolate. Dogs can either suffer milder signs like vomiting, diarrhoea and hyperactivity or more severe signs like high blood pressure, high temperature and an abnormal heart rate.

Rodenticides (rat poisons)

These can prevent blood clotting when ingested. Signs can occur within 1-5 days. Uncontrolled bleeding can occur – but this can be internal so may go unnoticed. It is important to know which product has been ingested.

Grapes, sultanas, raisins, currents

Any amount of these can be toxic to dogs. Cooking doesn’t affect how toxic they are. They can lead to kidney failure in dogs and ingestion normally results in a hospital stay in order to check kidney values and help support the kidneys with fluids.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Ibruprofen, Naproxen etc)

Even though these are normal drugs for humans they can be poisonous to dogs. Dogs have specific drugs they can use and particular doses. If they ingest drugs that we normally use then this could be harmful. Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach ulceration and kidney failure.

Onion, garlic, chives and leeks

 These can all cause damage to the red blood cells and lead to anaemia. Therefore we can see weakness, lethargy, pale gums and an elevated heart rate. We can also see gastrointestinal signs such as vomiting and diarrhoea. Signs can take several days to appear.

Chewing gum 

Some brands of chewing gum contain an ingredient called ‘Xylitol’ – it can also be found in mints, human toothpastes and mouth washes. Small ingestions can cause the dogs blood sugar to fall dangerously low, larger ingestions can cause severe liver disease. Signs to be aware of include vomiting, lethargy, seizures and collapse.

Common Poisons – Cats

Being outdoor animals, cats are also prone to ingesting things they shouldn’t. Expert cat vets, Wylie Veterinary Practice, notes some of the common poisons cats can ingest.


Paracetamol is extremely toxic to cats at most doses. Usually clinical signs occur rapidly, but these can be delayed – so signs can appear anytime from 4 hours to 7 days. They usually display pale gums, rapid breathing, vomiting and collapse. These signs are due to both the effects of the drug on the cat’s red blood cells and the liver.


All parts of the flower are toxic and even ingesting the lily pollen can have serious effects on cats, even when just grooming it from their fur. Signs range from drooling and vomiting to kidney failure. Kidney failure is very serious and can take 2-4 days to become apparent. Signs to look out for are vomiting, an absence of urination following a period of increase in thirst and urination. This is a very serious condition and your cat should be seen immediately if there are any concerns.

Ethylene Glycol

Ethylene Glycol is the ingredient found in anti-freeze. Cats like to lick this as it is apparently ‘sweet’ tasting. Signs occur rapidly after ingestion and include high heart rate, ataxia (wobbly, unable to balance), rapid breathing, weakness, increased thirst and urination. Once signs occur the prognosis is unfortunately poor and recovery is rare due to irreversible kidney damage.

Spot-on treatments for dogs

Some flea treatments for dogs actually contain an ingredient that is toxic to cats – ‘Pyrethrin’ and ‘Pyrethroids’. Typically signs present within 1-3 hours of application. Cats display vomiting, diarrhoea, hypersalivation, ataxia, hyperexcitability and convulsions. Treatment is supportive and you would need to seek pet advice if you are concerned that you have used an inappropriate product.

These are just an overview of the most common poisons our team of dog friendly vets and cat friendly vets get asked about. There are many other poisons that can also harm our beloved pets. If you are unsure or worried about anything that your pet may have ingested or come into contact with then please call Wylie Vets for quality and comprehensive pet advice today.