Home is Where the Heart and Potential Toxins Are

Now that you’ve learned about dangerous food items, what about other household items like bait, cleaners, and other products?

rodent poison
Rodent Poison

Toxic Component

bromethalin, cholecalciferol, and many others

The toxin depends on the type of rodenticide.


The signs depend on the type of rodenticide, but they may include:

  1. vomiting and diarrhea
  2. muscle paralysis or seizures
  3. uncontrolled bleeding
  4. difficulty breathing

There are many different types of rodent poison, and each type has different toxicities associated with it. When talking to your veterinarian, make sure you either bring a label or a picture of the label so we can know how best to treat your pet!

Poisoning can happen if the pet eats the bait directly or even if they consume part of the rat or mouse that ate the bait.

slug bait
Slug Bait

Toxic Component



  1. vomiting and diarrhea
  2. abdominal pain
  3. anxiety and other neurologic signs
  4. convulsions and seizures
  5. liver toxicity

Slug bait is often flavored with molasses which can attract pets, but it also contains a dangerous compound called metaldehyde. Ingestion of even small quantities of this material can be fatal, so it is important to keep your pets away or to use safer methods of getting rid of slugs.

insect repellant
Insect Repellant

Toxic Component






  1. depression, weakness, and confusion
  2. coma and seizures
  3. vomiting and diarrhea
  4. skin irritation
  5. liver and kidney failure (naphthalene)

There are many different types of insect repellant, and they may have different toxicity levels based on the ingredient. However, it is always best to be cautious when using insect repellants around pets.


Toxic Component

ethylene glycol


  1. vomiting
  2. depression and coma
  3. incoordination and seizures
  4. kidney failure

Antifreeze that contains ethylene glycol is extremely toxic to pets. Cats can even be poisoned by getting it on their skin! Ethylene glycol causes the kidneys to shut down and often leads to death if immediate and intensive care is not pursued.


Toxic Component

Thiourea dioxide

Chlorine bleach


  1. vomiting and diarrhea
  2. stomach ulcers
  3. lung irritation (if inhaled)
  4. skin irritation and ulceration

Bleach can result in extreme irritation to the stomach and intestines – sometimes even resulting in a perforation of the stomach. Vomiting, diarrhea, inappetence, lethargy, and hypersalivation are all common signs as well.


Toxic Component




  1. vomiting and abdominal pain
  2. lethargy
  3. dehydration
  4. increased heart and respiratory rates
  5. seizures

Coins that contain copper or zinc can be toxic to pets. Excess amounts of copper or zinc destroy the red blood cells in the body. Zinc toxicity can also cause severe stomach irritation and even ulceration.


Toxic Component




  1. vomiting and diarrhea
  2. inappetence
  3. stomach pain
  4. tremors and seizures
  5. weakness
  6. death

Many human toothpaste products contain xylitol (an artificial sweetener) and fluoride. Both of these are toxic when consumed by pets.


Toxic Component

alkaline or acidic material


  1. oral pain and frequent swallowing
  2. inappetence and abdominal pain
  3. vomiting and diarrhea (sometimes bloody)
  4. liver failure

If a battery ruptures, alkaline or acidic material can leak and ulcerate (destroy) tissues.

This is by no means a complete list of toxic or dangerous household items. If you are ever concerned about something your pet ate, contact your veterinarian or call the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 OR the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661. There may be a fee associated with the call.

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