Pet Poisons - Essential Advice for Pet Owners

Poisoning is one of the most common reasons pet owners call the Pet Health Helpline, and as with most things, prevention is better than cure. Being aware of food and products that are toxic to your pet and keeping them out of their reach is essential.

Veterinary Nurse, Carolanne, says that the most common calls received from pet owners reporting cases of toxicity are:

  • Chocolate – Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine that the human body can process but dogs and cats cannot. There are some types of chocolate that are more harmful than others so the general rule is to keep ALL chocolate out of reach of your pets. Always contact your vet immediately if you think your pet has consumed chocolate.
  • Painkillers – Over the counter human medicine such as ibuprofen can cause vomiting and diarrhoea, stomach ulcers and kidney failure in dogs.
  • Grapes, raisins, sultanas and currants - These fruits can cause kidney failure in dogs but the process is not fully understood, some dogs can eat a huge amount and have no toxic affect, whereas one small grape could seriously harm another dog.
  • Lilies – The whole of this plant is toxic to cats, the pollen is particularly dangerous. Some cats brush against the flower then groom themselves, this causes the cat to ingest the pollen and they can quickly show symptoms of kidney failure.
  • The Common Toad – this species is found all over Britain and it secretes a coating that is toxic to dogs and cats when ingested.
  • Slugs and snails – if eaten can transmit Lungworm. Adult lungworms live in the heart and the major blood vessels supplying the lungs of dogs and cats, they can cause potentially serious problems.
  • Mouse and rat poison – some of these can stop blood clotting internally. Symptoms of this don’t show for a few days so making sure your pet doesn’t encounter these in the first place is very important.
  • Permethrin – this is an insecticide that is found in dog flea treatments but is highly toxic to cats. Even the correct dose for a very small dog is enough to kill a cat.

“Most owners don’t realise there are many seemingly harmless items that are potentially poisonous to their pets”. If you see your pet eat something they shouldn’t then contact the Pet Health Helpline or your vet as soon as possible

If you have an Agria Pet Insurance policy, you can access the free Pet Health Helpline, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The veterinary-trained team will advise on any concerns or queries that you may have over your pet’s health – much like the NHS 111 service for people. Call free on 03333 32 19 47.

Pet Health Helpline 03333 321 947 should be used as a first port of call for any health concerns you may have about your pet. They will recommend if you need to go to the vets or not, but the service is not intended to be used in place of going to your vet. If you are very concerned about your pet do not hesitate in going to your vet in the first instance.