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Beware of These Winter Pet Poisons

January 15, 2020

Your pet will be happiest indoors this winter, where it’s warm and comfortable. But there are still a few potential pet toxins to watch out for in and around your home! Allow your Virginia Beach, VA veterinarian to tell you about some of the most common wintertime pet poisons and how you can help your pet avoid them.


When temperatures drop, small pests like insects and rodents seek warmth inside our homes. We sometimes use pesticides or rodenticides to fend them off, but these products are poisonous and designed to kill what comes in contact with them. If you plan on using pesticide products, choose pet-safe versions or manual traps that aren’t as dangerous for pets. And make sure to place these items where pets won’t be able to gain access.


Antifreeze keeps our cars’ engines running in the cold weather, and you might have a container of the stuff in your garage right now. Did you know that antifreeze is a dangerous pet toxin? Many varieties contain ethylene glycol, a toxic alcohol that can even attract pets with its sweet smell and taste. Use antifreeze when pets are safely indoors, and store the chemical carefully.

Ice Melt

Most ice melts are made of sodium chloride, known more commonly as salt. It turns out that large amounts of salt can prove very dangerous for pets! Ingesting small amounts of salt can lead to throat irritation and intense thirst, while large amounts can cause a dangerous condition known as sodium ion poisoning. When taking your pet outdoors this winter, avoid ice patches and other areas where ice melt has been sprinkled.

Human Medications

Cold and flu season isn’t far off now. You and your family members will probably take certain medications in order to feel better, but those medicines might prove very dangerous for pets. NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, are particularly dangerous, as is cough syrup, acetaminophen, prescription drugs, and other medications. Store medication carefully so that pets can’t get at it.

Winter Plants

Even plants that thrive during the cold weather can prove harmful for pets. The list includes Amaryllis, Autumn crocus, lilies, holly and mistletoe, daffodils, certain types of aloe plants, Christmas cactus, and more. Remove any harmful plant life from your home so that your pet can’t chow down.

Want to learn more about pet toxins in your home this winter? Call your Virginia Beach, VA vet.

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