Back to articles

Fido doesn’t want your aspirin: Preventing pet poisoning


If you have pets, then you know that they are not unlike having children: You have to take them for regular checkups, feed them healthy meals and sometimes even send them to (obedience) school! There are other, less obvious, things you must do to protect your pets from danger. Just like your kids, you have to protect your pets from poisons.

While March 19-25 is National Poison Prevention Week, we think it’s an important safety concern year-round. The goal of this week in particular is to spread awareness about general poisons and prevention—because according to the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA), 90 percent of poisonings happen at home. From common household cleaners to medications and art supplies, there are many substances that can be dangerous if inhaled or ingested. While it may be common sense for us not to eat a spoonful of Red Paint #106, Fido and Fluffy may not know any better.

Here are a few tips you can use to help avoid an emergency trip to the vet.

Don’t share your dinner with Fido

As much as we’d love to say that caring is sharing…sharing your table scraps with your pet isn’t the best idea. While it may seem harmless to share a “bite” of your chicken or dessert, the ASPCA warns us that a lot of these foods can be harmful—even toxic—to our pets. Some common offenders that you should watch out for include:

  • Avocado
  • Chocolate, coffee and caffeine
  • Citrus
  • Coconut oil
  • Nuts
  • Milk and dairy products
  • Raw or undercooked meats
  • Xylitol
  • Yeast dough/breads

And these are just a few! Human foods can cause unpleasant symptoms in our pets such as gas, diarrhea and vomiting—and sometimes it can be fatal. If you think your pet has ingested any of the above foods, contact your veterinarian or call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

Cautious cleaning

Another common offender when it comes to poisons and pets are the products that we keep under our sinks and in our garages. While we think it’s simple to keep all our cleaning solutions out of reach of our pets, don’t forget about the products after using them; If you’re using a bleach solution to clean your pet’s bedding or play areas, remember that any residue or strong odors left behind can be harmful. Carpet cleaners are also common offenders: Make sure all products are fully removed from the floor before letting Fluffy walk on it.

Fluffy doesn’t need your aspirin or face cream

Over the counter drugs containing acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen can be toxic for pets. Sometimes it’s easy to drop these into the kitchen ether—how many times have we dropped a Tylenol next to the fridge and the cabinet—just out of our reach? But pets have small, curious paws and can reach things we might not be able to, so keep this in mind next time you open the medicine cabinet or reach for your night-time face moisturizer.

Fifi shouldn’t snack on the bouquets

As much as we love putting our green thumbs to use with our indoor and outdoor gardens, it’s important to know which plants might cause harm to our pets. While we may look at our bounty of Red Lilies and think “Oh, how beautiful!” our new puppy might see it and think “Oh! Yummy snack!” which is bad news.

Many household plants are toxic to animals, so before you plant your dream garden, check out this comprehensive list of plants to avoid for Fido’s sake. There are also non-toxic plants on this list so you can plan your garden accordingly!

While we may plan accordingly for ourselves and our kids when it comes to poison prevention, it’s easy to forget about the family pets. But taking a few simple precautions can save a lot of discomfort, fatal reactions, and unnecessary trips to the vet. For more information about Poison Prevention Week, check out this resource here. And to learn more about how you can protect your pets, check out the ASPCA Animal Poison Control site here. Fido will give you two paws up!