From raisins to onions to acetaminophen, the typical Ahwatukee home is filled with items that can be toxic to pets.

Many pet owners are not aware of products and foods that can be harmful to cats and dogs. Many products and foods located in your home can often make a dog or cat very sick and can sometimes be fatal.

Visits to the vet for pet poisoning can not only be horrifying for you and your pet but can costs hundreds of dollars, sometimes even in the thousands of dollar range.

One of a my clients, a rambunctious female Norwich terrier puppy named Chippy, caused a recent scare for her owner when she gobbled down a gel tab that is used to treat monthly water weight gain — in women, not female dogs!

Chippy’s owner immediately called her vet and was relieved to hear the pill would not be harmful. But had Chippy swallowed acetaminophen or a birth control pill the situation might have been different.

Listed below are some of the foods and products that can make your pet very ill. Please make your home a poison safe home. And if you have a curious puppy like Chippy, consider keeping all pills and vitamins behind a closed door.

Foods to avoid feeding your pet:

• Alcoholic beverages

• Chocolate (all forms)

• Coffee (all forms)

• Fatty foods

• Macadamia nuts

• Moldy or spoiled foods

• Onion, onion powder

• Raisins and grapes

• Salt

• Yeast dough

• Garlic

• Products sweetened with xylitol

Warm weather hazards often found in backyards:

• Animal toxins — toads, insects, spiders, snakes and scorpions

• Algae in ponds

• Candles

• Coca mulch

• Most fertilizers

• Flea products

• Many outdoor plants and plant bulbs (a detailed list of these can be found on the Internet)

• Swimming pool treatment supplies

• Fly baits containing methomyl

Medications: Common examples of human medications that can be potentially lethal to pets, even in small doses, include:

• NSAIDs (Advil, Aleve and Motrin)

• Acetaminophen (Tylenol)

• Pain killers

• Cold medicines

• Anti-cancer drugs

• Antidepressants

• Vitamins

• Diet pills

• Sleep aids

• Birth control

• Thyroid hormones

• Cholesterol lowering agents

Always keep medications safely out of reach of your pet and never administer a medication to a pet without first consulting your veterinarian.

Cold weather hazards include:

• Antifreeze

• Liquid potpourri

• Ice melting products

• Rat and mouse baits

Common household hazards include:

• Fabric softener sheets

• Mothballs

• Post 1982 pennies (due to high concentration of zinc)

Be aware of signs of poisoning in your pet, they can consist of (but not limited to):

• Vomiting

• Diarrhea

• Drooling/hypersalivating

• Lack of appetite

• Nausea

• Coughing or vomiting blood

• Pale or discoloration to the gums

• Black-tarry stool

• Racing heart rate

• Weakness or lethargy

• Collapse

Always have your vets phone number available, emergency vet phone number available, and the Animal Poison Control Center, which is open 24 hours a day/seven days a week, at 1-800-213-6680.

• Barbara Drummond is a longtime Ahwatukee Foothills resident and owner of Home Alone Pet Services. She has been training and boarding animals for 25 years. Reach her at (480) 326-6918 or For more information, visit

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