Dangerous foods and plants

If you suspect your pet may have ingested a toxic plant or food substance contact your vet immediately

 

The Australian Animal Poisons Centre is a specialist service for poisoned animals, FREE for pet owners.

Call 1300 TOX PET (1300 869 738)

 

Common harmful/toxic plants

There are hundreds of plants that can cause cats and dogs illness or even death. Check the plants in your home and garden and ensure they are safe before allowing your pets access to them.
If in doubt, speak to your vet. The following information and images have been sourced from the ASPCA website.

Lilies (particularly dangerous for cats)

Common types to avoid include Peace, Tiger, Wood, Easter, Glory, Asian, Day, Japanese Show, Rubrum, Red and Stargazer lilies.

Ingesting even the smallest part of any of the lily plant can cause death.

Symptoms may include lethargy, diarrhoea and vomiting.

lily-r

Sago Palms (cycads)

All parts of this plant are highly toxic to dogs.

Symptoms may include diarrhoea and vomiting.

sago-palm-r

Ivy

Common types to avoid include English and Devil's ivy. 

Symptoms may include mouth and stomach irritation, excessive drooling, foaming at the mouth, swelling of the mouth, tongue and lips, vomiting and diarrhoea.

ivy 2

Philodendrons

Common types to avoid include Cutleaf philodendron, Swiss cheese plant, Heartleaf and Fiddle-leaf philodendron.

Symptoms may include irritation of the mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting and difficulty swallowing. 

philodendron

Rubber tree plants

Common types to avoid include Japanese/Chinese/Jade rubber plant and the Indian rubber plant.

Symptoms may include loss of appetite,vomiting, depression and lack of coordination.

jade-r

Aloe Vera

Symptoms may include loss of appetite,vomiting, lethargy and diarrhoea.

aloe vera

Chinese evergreen

Symptoms may include pain and swelling of the mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting and difficulty swallowing.

chinese-evergreen-r 2

Asparagus fern

Also known as the Emerald Feather or Lace fern.

Symptoms may include allergic dermatitis, excessive drooling, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhoea.

emerald-feather-r

Lantana

Also known as Shrub verbena, Yellow Sage and Red Sage.

Symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhoea, laboured breathing, weakness and loss of appetite.

lantana-r

Other common toxic plants include, but are not limited to: holly, tulip, oleander, azalea, daffodil, carnations, chrysanthemum, corn plant, dumb cane, jade plant.

Common harmful/toxic foods and liquids

Never leave food lying around where your pet can access and ingest it. This includes food packaging!

If in doubt, contact your vet. The following information has been sourced from the ASPCA  website.

Alcohol

Alcoholic beverages and foods containing alcohol can seriously harm your pet

Symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhoea, decreased coordination, difficulty breathing and tremors.

beer 2

Chocolate, coffee and caffeine

Dark chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate.

Symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive panting, thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors and seizures.

coffee choc 3

Citrus

Significant amounts of the stems, leaves, peels, fruit and seeds of citrus plants can be harmful to your pet.

Symptoms may include vomiting and diarrhoea.

citrus

Coconut and coconut oil

Significant amounts of the flesh and milk can cause illness. Coconut water is high in potassium and should be avoided.

Symptoms may include vomiting and diarrhoea.

coconut 1

Grapes and raisins

Toxic to dogs.

Symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhoea, increased thirst, weakness and loss of appetite.

grapes red

Macadamia nuts

Signs of poisoning usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and can last approximately 12 to 48 hours.

Symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhoea,weakness, tremors and hyperthermia.

macadamia 1

Milk and dairy

Cats and dogs are not able to break down lactose in milk.

Symptoms may include vomiting and diarrhoea.

milk

Nuts

Avoid nuts containing high amounts of oils and fats including almonds, pecans and walnuts.

Symptoms may include vomiting and diarrhoea.

nuts

Onions, garlic and chives

Cats are more susceptible than dogs. These vegetables and herbs can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage. 

Symptoms may include vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal pain and diarrhoea.

bulb-close-up-clove-161603

Raw/under-cooked meat, eggs and bones

Raw meat and eggs can contain bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli that can be harmful to pets.
 
Raw eggs contain an enzyme which can lead to skin and coat problems.

Bones may cause choking or may splinter and become lodged in your pet's digestive tract.

raw meat

Salt and salty snack foods

Large amounts of salt can be harmful to your pet. Keep your pet away from salty snacks such as potato chips, pretzels and salted popcorn.

Symptoms may include excessive thirst and urination, vomiting, loss of appetite, seizures, elevated body temperature, tremors and diarrhoea.

popcorn

Xylitol

Xylitol is used as a sweetener in many products including gum, lollies, baked goods and toothpaste.

Symptoms may include vomiting, lethargy, loss of coordination and seizures.

candy

Yeast dough

Yeast dough can rise and cause gas to accumulate in your pet's digestive system. This can cause the stomach to bloat and twist resulting in a painful and life-threatening emergency. Ethanol is produced as a by-product which can be harmful to your pet (see 'alcohol' above).

dough

Symptoms may include vomiting, lethargy, abdominal pain, loss of coordination and diarrhoea.
Common harmful medications

The following information has been sourced from the ASPCA website.
If in doubt contact your vet without delay.

Aspirin

aspirin

Ibuprofen

ibuprofen

Nasal decongestant

pills

Have a pet first aid kit on hand

First aid for your pet is not a substitute for veterinary care.

Creating a pet first aid kit may help you to feel more prepared in case of an emergency situation.
Ask your vet to check over your kit to ensure it is customised for your cat or dog. The following list has been compiled from information on the Animal Welfare League website.

  • Emergency paperwork e.g. this may include medical history, current medications and vaccination status
  • Emergency contact list e.g. your vet's details, details of your nearest 24-hour emergency vet hospital
  • Leash
  • Towels
  • Blanket
  • Flashlight
  • Pet carrier 
  • Self-adhesive bandages
  • Gauze swabs
  • Iodine antiseptic
  • Sterile saline solution 
  • Wound dressing
  • Hypo-allergenic tape
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Thermal shock blanket
  • Non-latex disposable gloves
  • Disposable bags

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Page last updated: 26 Feb 2021