7 Common Pet Poisoning Risks

Pet care & safety
pet poison: chocolate

Our pets are naturally curious, so it shouldn't be surprising that they sometimes get into things they shouldn't. But this behavior becomes dangerous when your mischievous pet swallows something toxic. Embrace Pet Insurance scoured through hundreds of thousands of claims to find the most common pet poison risks so you can be prepared.

1. Chocolate

Chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats due to both the caffeine it contains and a chemical called theobromine. While dark chocolate is the most toxic, no amount of chocolate is safe for pets.

The first and most common sign of chocolate ingestion is vomiting. This is not an situation where you want to wait and see how the pet does. Contact your vet immediately.

2. Grapes & Raisins

A popular snack with kids and adults alike, grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs. Within 6-8 hours of ingestion, dogs will start exhibiting signs such as vomiting and diarrhea. Consider grape or raisin ingestion a medical emergency and contact your vet immediately. If you know how many your pet ate, they can do calculations to see if your pup is in danger.

3. Lilies

While they're a beautiful and popular flower, all parts of lilies, even the water they sit in, are poisonous to cats. Just a few bites can cause the cat's kidneys to shut down. Vomiting, drinking, and excessive urination are the most common symptoms.

If you suspect your cat has eaten lilies, get to the vet as soon as possible. They'll likely induce vomiting and give your cat medication to help absorb the toxins.

4. Mushrooms

While the mushrooms you buy in the store are fine, may varieties of mushrooms that you find in your yard or along the hiking trail are not.

It can be hard to identify the mushroom type, so if you suspect your dog may be suffering from mushroom poisoning, bring the suspected mushroom with you to the vet when possible.

Embraced Samoyed Walter found himself in the hospital after snacking on mushrooms in his backyard. His overnight stay and care cost $1,278.


NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like aspirin and ibuprofen are staples of the average American's medicine cabinet, but when our pets get into them it spells disaster. And your pet doesn't need to swallow the whole bottle, even normal human doses can prove fatal.

Excessive NSAID ingestion damages the lining of the gastrointestinal tract and bleeding soon ensues. Get your pet to the hospital as soon as possible so they can induce vomiting and provide supportive care.

6. Rat Poison

While it shouldn't be surprising that rat poison is toxic to pets, many pet parents don't think about the danger to their pets when they set the traps. There are two types of rat poison that are commonly used and your vet will need to know which type your pet has ingested to treat them. So if you have the packaging, bring it with you when you take your pet in.

7. Xylitol

One of the lesser known pet poisons, xylitol is a sugar substitute used in gum, candy, and other sugar-free foods. Xylitol creates a huge release of insulin in dogs, causing their blood glucose levels to drop dangerously low.

There is no known antidote so induction of vomiting and supportive care are the most common treatments.

With these potential poisons and all others, the best advice we can give is to contact your vet as soon as possible.