Did you know that something as seemingly innocent as a raisin is poisonous to dogs? And that giving a cat a piece of chocolate can have not-so-sweet consequences?

We all know certain pet dangers lurk in our homes and yards, but can you name them off the top of your head? With a little research, you can quickly raise your awareness — and ensure Fluffy and Fido stay out of harm's way.

Off Limits

Some items on the "household danger list" can simply cause stomach upset for a day or two, but many toxic substances can cause serious illness, from liver and kidney problems to neurological issues.

Take a look at this chart below for just a few common things that can have severe, poisonous effects for pets.² (And see the list further down the page for common foods that can be toxic to pets as well.)

Household objects/ chemicals Household plants
Potpourri oils Aloe
Dish detergent Lily
Batteries Tulip
Pennies Mistletoe
Fertilizers Daffodils
Mothballs Azalea
Rodent bait Oleander
Fabric softener sheets  

Better Safe Than Sorry

As a precaution, try not to leave food items, chemicals and other potentially dangerous products within your pet's reach. Veterinary professionals recommend you keep your pet on a strict diet of quality pet food and discourage handing out table scraps. If you're unsure about whether a certain food is safe for your pet, avoid sharing until you talk to your veterinarian.

You can learn more about pet toxins by visiting the Animal Poison Control Center* managed by The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.*

In Case of Emergency

If you suspect your pet has ingested a toxic substance, contact your regular veterinarian or nearest emergency vet clinic right away. Act quickly instead of waiting for your pet to show symptoms of trouble. If there is any physical evidence of the object your pet ingested, take it along for the doctor to examine.

1. "A Poison-Safe Home,", Animal Poison Control Center,, accessed Nov. 15, 2007.

2. "Toxic Plants,", Animal Poison Control Center,, accessed Nov. 15, 2007.

3. "Products With Xylitol as a Sweetener Harm Dogs," by Amy Francisco, , published Oct. 11, 2006, accessed Nov. 15, 2007.

4. "Which foods are toxic to cats and dogs?,",, accessed Nov. 15, 2007.