If you suspect that your pet has ingested an agent containing ANY of these toxins please contact us immediately at our emergency number which is (727)560-6555.


Chocolate, Coffee, Tea, and Caffeine

           These products all contain the substance called methylxanthine. Theobromine, until recently known as xantheos, is one of these substances and can be found in chocolate, even sugar free chocolate since the theobromine actually comes from the cocoa plant itself and is not an additive. It is worth noting that darker chocolate, although delicious, has a much higher toxicity than milk chocolate due to the increased cocoa content and is also a much higher concern.

            Symptoms of ingestion of chocolate, coffee, or caffeine are vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and can even cause death.


            Alcoholic beverages, food products, and cleaning products containing alcohol can be very dangerous to give to dogs and cats. While in horses it may give them a shinier coat in our smaller friends it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death. 

Milk and Milk Products

            We have all seen the shows or read the stories where owners will leave milk or cream out for cats but the fact of the matter is that after kittens and puppies mature and are no longer receiving milk from their mothers then most of them become lactose intolerant meaning that they cannot properly digest the milk products and instead they ferment within their intestines leading to gas, diarrhea, and nausea.


            If you would still like to feed your cat or dog some milk then there is lactose free milk that you can buy from most food stores.

            Now for those few cats and dogs that aren't lactose intolerant the occasional bowel is fine however milk can be very fattening for cats and dogs and should only be given as a treat.



            Avocados contain Persin, which is a fungicidal toxin. Birds and rodents have a very high sensitivity to avocado poisoning and can develop congestion, difficulty breathing, and the accumulation of fluid around the heart. No toxicity in dogs and cats has been found.

Macadamia Nuts

            Macadamia nuts are commonly used in many cookies and candies, and while they may be delicious to us in dogs these nuts have caused weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs. Signs usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and last approximately 12 to 48 hours. 

            While there has been no data regarding the toxicity of macadamia nuts in cats it is advisable not to take the risk.

Grapes & Raisins

            Although grapes and raisins seem to be the perfect little morsel to reward our pets with, they are actually a toxin in dogs and cats. Though the toxic substance within grapes and raisins is unknown these fruits can cause kidney failure. In pets who already have certain health problems, signs may be more dramatic. 


            Xylitol is used as a sweetener in many products, including gum, candy, baked goods and toothpaste. It can cause insulin release in most species, which can lead to liver failure. The increase in insulin leads to hypoglycemia (lowered sugar levels). Initial signs of toxicosis include vomiting, lethargy and loss of coordination. Signs can progress to recumbency and seizures. Elevated liver enzymes and liver failure can be seen within a few days. 

Onions, Garlic, Chives

            These vegetables and herbs can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage. Although cats are more susceptible, dogs are also at risk if a large enough amount is consumed. Toxicity is normally diagnosed through history, clinical signs and microscopic confirmation of Heinz bodies. An occasional low dose, such as what might be found in pet foods or treats, likely will not cause a problem, but we recommend that you do NOT give your pets large quantities of these foods. 


            Rodenticides are both very toxic to your pets. Just like how they kill wild rats they can just as easily harm your pets. Rodenticides most commonly used in homes use an anticoagulant which causes internal bleeding and death in animals. If your animal has ingested a rodenticide it may take them a few days to show signs so if you suspect that they have ingested some contact us immediately for instructions.


            Most household drugs such as Aleve (Naproxen) aspirins, Tylenol (Acetominophen) and Motrin (Ibuprofen) can be very toxic to your pets and can cause liver failure since they cannot metabolize the drugs like we can. You should never self medicate your animals without speaking to a doctor first. If you have given your animal personal medications or if you believe they may have gotten into them then give us a call immediately.


            While bones may not be a toxin in and of themselves they can be extremely dangerous to your animal. Bones can easily become trapped in gums or the intestines creating blockages or rupturing the intestines causing internal trauma and very possibly death. Never feed your animal anything with bones in them even if you think it is too large for them to eat as part of the bone can splinter off and still cause the above serious problems.




Autumn Crocus

There are two Crocus plants: one that blooms in the spring (Crocus species) and the other in the autumn Colchicum autumnale). The spring plants are more common and are part of the Iridaceae family. These ingestions can cause general gastrointestinal upset including vomiting and diarrhea. These should not be mistaken for Autumn Crocus, part of the Liliaceae family, which contain colchicine. The Autumn Crocus is highly toxic and can cause severe vomiting, gastrointestinal bleeding, liver and kidney damage, and respiratory failure. If you’re not sure what plant it is, bring your pet to their veterinarian immediately for care. Signs may be seen immediately but can be delayed for days.


In the same family as rhododendrons, azaleas can have serious effects on pets. Eating even a few leaves can result in vomiting, diarrhea and excessive drooling; without immediate veterinary attention, the pet could fall into a coma and possibly die.



The roots of this seasonal flowering plant are especially dangerous to pets. If ingested, cyclamen can cause severe vomiting and even death.


This popular flowering succulent plant can cause vomiting, diarrhea and heart arrhythmias if ingested by pets.


There are dangerous and benign lilies out there, and it’s important to know the difference. Peace, Peruvian, and Calla lilies contain oxalate crystals that cause minor signs, such as tissue irritation to the mouth, tongue, pharynx, and esophagus – this results in minor drooling. The more dangerous, potentially fatal lilies are true lilies, and these include Tiger, Day, Asiatic, Easter and Japanese Show lilies – all of which are highly toxic to cats! Even small ingestions (such as 2-3 petals or leaves) can result in severe kidney failure. If your cat is seen consuming any part of a lily, bring your cat (and the plant) immediately to a veterinarian for medical care. The sooner you bring in your cat, the better and more efficiently we can treat the poisoning. Decontamination (like inducing vomiting and giving binders like activated charcoal) are imperative in the early toxic stage, while aggressive intravenous fluid therapy, kidney function monitoring tests, and supportive care can greatly improve the prognosis.


Oleander is an outdoor shrub, popular for its evergreen qualities and delicate flowers. However, the leaves and flowers are extremely toxic if ingested and can cause severe vomiting, slow the heart rate and possibly even cause death.


Popular in many homes and offices, dieffenbachia can cause intense oral irritation, drooling, nausea, vomiting and difficulty swallowing if ingested.


These flowers contain lycorine, an alkaloid with strong emetic properties (something that triggers vomiting). Ingestion of the bulb, plant or flower can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and even possible cardiac arrhythmias or respiratory depression. Crystals are found in the outer layer of the bulbs, similar to hyacinths, which cause severe tissue irritation and secondary drooling. Daffodil ingestions can result in more severe symptoms so if an exposure is witnessed or symptoms are seen, we recommend seeking veterinary care for further supportive care.

Lily of the Valley

The Convallaria majalis plant contains cardiac glycosides which will cause symptoms similar to digitalis (foxglove) ingestion. These symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, a drop in heart rate, severe cardiac arrhythmias, and possibly seizures. Pets with any known exposure to this plant should be examined and evaluated by a veterinarian and treated symptomatically.

Sago Palm

Very popular in warmer climates, this household and outdoor plant can be very harmful to pets. If ingested, the leaves and seeds can cause vomiting, bloody stools, damage to the stomach lining, severe liver failure and, in some cases, death.

Tulips and Hyacinths

Tulips (Top) contain allergenic lactones while hyacinths (Bottom) contain similar alkaloids. The toxic principle of these plants is very concentrated in the bulbs (versus the leaf or flower), so make sure your dog isn’t digging up the bulbs in the garden. When the plant parts or bulbs are chewed or ingested, it can result in tissue irritation to the mouth and esophagus. Typical signs include profuse drooling, vomiting, or even diarrhea, depending on the amount consumed. There’s no specific antidote, but with supportive care from the veterinarian (including rinsing the mouth, anti-vomiting medication, and possibly subcutaneous fluids), animals do quite well. With large ingestions of the bulb, more severe symptoms such as an increase in heart rate and changes in respiration can be seen, and should be treated by a veterinarian. These more severe signs are seen in cattle or our overzealous, chowhound Labradors.