Keep your animal safe from these toxins!

Like it or not, our world is filled with chemicals and toxins that can harm your dog or cat. It’s impossible to eliminate them all, but there are plenty of ways you can reduce his exposure and preserve his wellness.

How can you protect your animal companion from today’s toxic world? It’s not as difficult as you think. Keep all major toxins out of your animal’s reach and follow these tips for a healthier environment.

Poisonous plants

Start by removing these poisonous plants and flowers: 

• Amaryllis

• Crocus

• Buttercup

• Calla lily

• Christmas rose

• Chrysanthemum

• Daffodil bulbs

• Easter lily

• Foxglove

• Hyacinth bulbs

• Iris roots

• Jessamine

• Morning glory

• Peony

• Periwinkle

• Primrose

• Tulip bulbs

…and replace with these non-toxic varieties:

• African violet

• Peperonias

•  Christmas cactus

Foods they should avoid

Make sure your pet doesn’t consume any of these food items!

• Grapes and raisins – cause irreversible damage to a dog’s kidneys

• Onions – causes a condition called Heinz body anemia, which damages red blood cells

• Chocolate – damaging to the dog’s heart, lungs, kidneys and central nervous system

• Caffeine – causes the same type of damage as chocolate; is most toxic in the form of pills, coffee, coffee beans and large amounts of tea

• Macadamia nuts – cause severe illness

• Alcohol and yeast dough – both contain ethanol, which causes nervous system and respiratory depression

• Fruit pits and seeds – the pits found in apples, cherries and plums contain cyanide

• Avocados — the fruit itself isn’t toxic, but the skin and pit is!


Any medication can be poisonous so make sure all pills are kept in a secure cabinet. The following veterinary medications can be harmful if the correct dosages aren’t followed:

• Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)

• Heartworm preventatives

• De-wormers

• Antibiotics

…and you should never give the following human medications to your dog or cat:

• Tylenol

• Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc)

• All prescription drugs

Non-toxic human medications include aspirin, Pepto Bismol, kaopectate, Imodium AD and Pepcid AC – however, even these are not meant to be given to a dog or cat on a regular basis and should be administered according to a veterinarian’s dosing instructions.

Other common products

Animals not only get ill by ingesting poisons, but by absorbing them through their noses or skin. Some of these toxins include chemical cleaning products, insecticides, fertilizers and many commercial flea controls.

Toxic household cleaners can be replaced with baking soda, Borax (sodium borate), lemon, white vinegar and cornstarch. Corn meal and Epsom salts can be used in place of lawn and plant fertilizers. Make sure to keep any rodent poisons away from your animal, and don’t spray for insects near his favorite hangouts.

Many popular flea products contain ingredients such as carbaryl and DDVP, which can paralyze your dog’s nerves. These ingredients can be found in commercial flea powders, sprays, collars, shampoos and dips. The best way to naturally protect your dog or cat from fleas is to help him build a strong healthy immune system. Start by feeding him a natural diet that doesn’t contain chemical preservatives, artificial coloring or by-products. Along with a good diet, be sure to bathe your companion with natural non-medicated shampoo and groom him regularly.

Beyond your control — air and water

You can’t completely shield your companion from contaminants found in our air and water, but there are steps you can take to enhance his safety.


1. Keep your dog or cat inside on bad air days.

2. Use an indoor air filter.

3. Avoid strenuous exercise on really hot days.

4. Don’t use your fireplace on bad air days.


1. Invest in a water purifier.

2. Don’t let your animal drink from lakes, streams, creeks or puddles.

3. Always carry bottled water on hikes.

4. Keep water bowls clean.

Knowing your toxins can help you keep your animal companion safe from harm!

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Sara Jackson lives on a 12-acre farm in American Canyon, just outside the Napa Valley. She is a graduate from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and has a B.F.A. in Screenwriting. She is also a freelance writer for several publications, and has written on a range of topics from politics to animal rights. She has also written a number of short stories and two horror scripts which are being read by two production companies in England. Her first book, Jack's Dreams Come To Life, was published in 2009.