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Spring cleaning? 6 pet dangers to throw out and avoid

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  • RSPCA Australia
  • Tuesday, 24 October 2017

So you’re finally about to go into battle and tackle the items around the house you’ve been avoiding since last spring? While you’re sorting through, keep an eye out for these household dangers and take appropriate action to either throw them out or keep them somewhere safe away from your much-loved pets.


Many human and animal prescription medications are toxic to pets. One of the most common is paracetamol, which is incredibly toxic to cats, even in tiny amounts. Some medications can also be dangerous if they’re used incorrectly, such as some flea-prevention treatments for dogs contain ingredients highly toxic to cats.

Never medicate your pet without your vet’s advice and keep all medications in sealed containers well out of reach of your pet’s curious paws.


The list may seem long, but it’s important to keep these in mind and away from your furry friends.

Chocolate, onions, and garlic (including the powdered versions, used in – for example - baby food), macadamia nuts, raisins, grapes and foods containing caffeine are all very much off the menu.

Fat trimmings from meat can cause pancreatitis, a very painful and dangerous condition.

Although we humans may love smashed avo on toast, avocado is toxic to many pets including birds, dogs, mice, rabbits, horses, and livestock.

Cooked bones can splinter and cause all kinds of problems in your pets’ tummy, and foods such as raw fish, liver, and sugary foods can lead to metabolic diseases. See all the no-go foods for dogs and cats here.


Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol which tastes sweet, is attractive to animals and deadly if eaten even in small amounts.  Ethylene glycol poisoning is rarely seen in Australia, however, be conscious of its potential as a poison regardless.


String and similar items such as dental floss, yarn, and rubber bands are often loved by cats as play toys, but they can actually cause potentially deadly intestinal obstructions if eaten. Don’t risk it, and find your cat a safe toy to enjoy.

Xylitol (sugar substitute)

This low-carbohydrate sugar substitute is used as a sweetener in chewing gum, some toothpastes, some low-fat peanut butters and baked goods.  While safe for humans to eat, it is metabolised differently by dogs.  After a dog eats xylitol, they can develop low blood sugar leading to seizures and death, if not treated immediately.  Xylitol consumption can also cause liver failure and clotting problems in dogs. Always check peanut butter for xylitol if you plan on using it as a treat.

Snail and slug baits

This is a relatively common form of poisoning seen in pets and is both distressing and dangerous. Dogs especially can be attracted to baits in pellet form as they look similar to dry dog food.

While you’re in the swing of spring cleaning fever, take a walk outside and learn what garden dangers to keep your pets away from too.

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