• Protect your pets

How to Prevent Poisoning in your Pets

While we adore spending as much time as we can with our pets, we cannot keep track of their every movement. All pets have a tendency to explore, be it your neighbour’s rubbish bin or your prescription medication bottle; they have a penchant for getting themselves into sticky situations. Dogs usually enjoy chewing anything they can find, however, cats are more mischievous so it can be harder to keep an eye on them.

Every year there are thousands of cases of pet poisoning in the UK, many of which are caused by household substances. Things that would be poisonous to our furry friends can easily be found at home and are often used daily, for example, prescription medication.

When you suspect that your pet has eaten something poisonous, contact your vet without hesitation, even if you aren’t entirely sure. It is important you are aware of the substances that cause poisoning, the signs of poisoning and how to prevent it.


What substances can cause poisoning?

Prescription medication

  • NSAIDs, e.g. Nurofen
  • Anti-depressants


  • Flea and tick products
  • Snail and slug pellets

Food and drink

  • Chocolate
  • Alcohol
  • Avocado
  • Grapes and raisins


  • Rhododendrons
  • Tulips
  • Daffodils



Bee and wasp stings can also cause allergic reactions in pets, it is important not to overlook these.

Snake and spider bites can be highly toxic too, although it is less common in the UK due to the lack of tropical species.


What are the signs of poisoning?

Signs of poisoning will be different in each animal, depending on the poison and on the volume ingested. There are, however, common signs to look out for when you suspect your pet has been poisoned:

  • Vomiting/diarrhea
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Dilated pupils
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pale gums
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Muscle tremors
  • Bleeding
  • Loss of balance
  • Appetite loss


How do you prevent poisoning?

In the home:

  • Keep household cleaners and poisons locked away
  • Place medications out of reach
  • Keep houseplants where your pet cannot reach them
  • Try to only give your pet treats specially made for them


  • Where possible, avoid using plants that are poisonous to our pets
  • Ensure water supplies cannot become contaminated, e.g. if they are left to stand
  • Watch rabbits closely when they are allowed to roam outside – they love nibbling which may get them into trouble


If you suspect your pet has been poisoned, call your local Medivet practice immediately. We are always happy to offer more free advice or provide you with more information – just give us a call.

To make an enquiry click here or find your local practice