Xylitol, a class of sweetener known as sugar alcohol. Xylitol is present in many products and foods for human use, but can have devastating effects on your pet.

  • breath mints
  • baked goods
  • candy
  • cough syrup
  • children’s and adult chewable vitamins
  • gum
  • mouthwash
  • toothpaste
  • some peanut and nut butters
  • over-the-counter medicines
  • dietary supplements
  • sugar-free desserts, including “skinny” ice cream

Xyletol is also listed in ingredients as Birch Sugar

**If you think your dog may have eaten a product containing xylitol, call your vet, emergency clinic, or animal poison control center right away.


Every year, by some estimates, about 10,000 dogs and cats are victims of accidental poisoning by automobile antifreeze. A pet does not have to drink a lot of antifreeze to be poisoned. Most brands of commercial antifreeze consist of 95 percent ethylene glycol, an extremely toxic chemical. Even a few licks of this sweet-tasting liquid can be fatal to a cat or dog. (Ethylene- glycol-based antifreeze is also extremely hazardous to children. A few ounces are lethal.) For a medium sized dog, ingestion of about 2 ounces (3-4 tablespoons ) is toxic. For cats, as little as 1/4 of an ounce (1-2 teaspoons) can be lethal. Antifreeze poisoning commonly occurs in spring and fall when car owners replace the old antifreeze with fresh antifreeze in their car radiators. However, poisoning can happen anytime, particularly when a car boils over or when a hose leaks, releasing the antifreeze. As mentioned above, this poisoning happens often to animals who are allowed to roam freely in their neighborhoods, but another high risk group are those dogs who are confined in garages and who may not always be provided with adequate fresh drinking water. These dogs may gain access to improperly or inadequately stored antifreeze or lick spilled or leaked anti-freeze off the garage floor. If it is necessary to confine your pet(s) to your garage, make sure antifreeze containers are well secured and your animal has plenty of fresh water. Another source of antifreeze are the decorative “snow globes” glassware. The liquid in the these displays contain 2% antifreeze and are very toxic.. I recently received of call of a young cat poisoned when ingesting some of the liquid from a shattered “snow globe”. Both cats and dog are attracted to the smell and taste of ethylene glycol. Therefore, when you or a member of your household changes antifreeze in the driveway, be sure to collect all of the waste coolant and properly dispose of it. And never leave a bucket of ethylene-glycol coolant unattended – even for a moment. Also remember that your car can leak coolant at any time. If you see a puddle of greenish-colored liquid in your driveway, flush the area with plenty of water and don’t delay locating and fixing the leak. Another method of quick clean-up is to spread cat litter on the spill, clean up with rags (which are bagged immediately) and then rinse. Antifreeze will biodegrade in the environment, but it takes weeks or months to do so, so removing the spill is absolutely essential. Antifreeze poisoning occurs in two stages: In the first stage, the ethylene glycol in the antifreeze causes a drunken appearance in the animal within about 30 minutes which may continue for several hours. After passing through stage1, the animal appears to recover. Stage 2 begins when the dog’s liver begins metabolizing the ethylene glycol, changing it into more toxic substances. Within 12 to 36 hours of ingestion, these metabolites have reached such a level that the dog’s kidneys stop functioning, and the animal slips into a coma. Getting the dog to a veterinarian is critical within the first 9-12 hours following ingestion. After that length of time, the liver will have already begun metabolizing the ethylene glycol into substances that cause kidney failure and ultimately death. I have been asked the question by several people-What should be done immediately care for my pet. Should I induce vomiting or give activated charcoal to my pet? These are very short term fixes and not a cure. The faster your pet is treated by a veterinarian the better the chances of recovery. Again, this poison is extremely toxic. Another source of help is the National Poison Control Center, 800-548-2423. This call will cost $30.

Symptoms of antifreeze poisoning include a drunken appearance including staggering, lack of coordination, and apparent disorientation and vomiting. The animal may appear listless and depressed. Because early signs of antifreeze poisoning often mimic signs of other illness, neither you or your veterinarian may suspect antifreeze poisoning until it is too late. Fortunately, in house lab tests performed by your veterinarian by assist in the diagnosis of antifreeze toxicity.

In our practice we had a tragic incident involving two pets. One dog ingested antifreeze and then vomited the product. The other dog then licked up the vomit and also developed the toxicity. By the time the owner recognized the seriousness of the situation, it was too late and both pets died. We also had a situation involving a household of three cats. The same situation occurred. But, fortunately, the owner recognized the problem and we were able to save two of the three pets. As, you can see, this is truly a horrible and tragic poison.


Indoor & Outdoor Plants:

  • Azalea – entire plant, Cardiotoxic. Can affect the heart, produce vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, weakness and central nervous system depression. Severe cases could lead to death from cardiovascular collapse.
  • Boxwood Leaves – Boxwood is a common hedge
  • Caladium – entire plant
  • Castor Bean – all parts, mostly the seeds can produce significant abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea and weakness, dehydration, tremors, seizures and even death.
  • Chinaberry Tree – berries, flowers, leaves
  • Cocoa Bean Mulch – see below
  • Cycads – can result in liver failure
  • Daffodil – bulbs
  • Dieffenbachia – entire plant
  • Elephant Ear – entire plant
  • English Ivy – berries and leaves
  • Fertilizer – see below
  • Foxglove – Cardiotoxic, can affect the heart
  • Holly – berries
  • Hyacinth – bulbs
  • Hydrangea – entire plant
  • Lily – certain species can cause kidney failure [including Easter lily, tiger lily, rubrum lily, Japanese show lily and some day lilies if ingested. Lilies rank # 1 in the most common pet poisoning statistics. Signs of toxicosis, such as vomiting, lethargy and loss of appetite, may appear within a few hours of ingestion, and will continue to worsen as damage to the kidneys progresses. If left untreated, kidney failure can develop in 36 to 72 hours. All parts of the lily are considered toxic to cats, and consuming even small amounts can be life-threatening.
  • Lily of the Valley – Cardiotoxic, can affect the heart
  • Mistletoe – berries
  • Mushrooms – both toxic and NONTOXIC can cause liver failure
  • Oleander – entire plant, Cardiotoxic, can affect the heart and can cause irritation of the gastrointestinal tract or hypothermia
  • Philodendron – entire plant
  • Poinsettia – entire plant
  • Rhododendron – Cardiotoxic, can affect the heart
  • Rhubarb Leaves – can cause kidney failure
  • Sago Palm – can potentially produce vomiting, diarrhea, depression, seizures, liver failure and even death.
  • Wisteria – seeds
  • Yew – Cardiotoxic, can affect the heart

Some items in everyday life:

  • Antifreeze – all kinds, even the ones that claim nontoxic – they all kill, some slower than others.
  • Avocado – Guacamole, produce cardiac tissue damage, respiratory distress and mammary gland damage
  • Bread Dough – As alcohol is produced, the dough expands. Pets experience abdominal pain, bloat, vomiting, disorientation and
  • depression.
  • Chocolate – Theo bromine can induce irregular heartbeat, irritate gastrointestinal tract, and trigger
  • epileptic seizures
  • Cocoa, Cocoa Powder & Baking Chocolate – more intense than chocolate
  • Cocoa Bean Mulch – vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, seizures and death
  • Fertilizer – can cause severe gastric upset & gastrointestinal obstruction
  • Flea Control products- read the label and follow the directions (dog flea control can be lethal to felines)
  • Grapes – and raisins enough of them can cause kidney failure
  • Herbicides – read the label
  • Insecticides – read the label Disulfoton (see below)
  • Onions / Onion Power / Onion flavoring – thiosulphate in the onions can cause hemolytic anemia
  • Rasins and grapes – can cause kidney failure