Common Household Medications Toxic to Small Animals

Our pets are such an important part of our lives. As such, they share our homes, frolic in our yards, and ride in our cars. As much as we enjoy their companionship, it is important to remember that these areas can be filled with dangers, sometimes where we least expect them. The following is a brief, but eye-opening, list of some of the household medications that are toxic to our pets.

Acetominophen (Tylenol), Ibuprofen, Naproxen

While these can be considered daily supplements for human beings during sinus season in Kentucky, they can all cause lifer threatening toxicity to dogs and cats. A good rule of thumb, no matter what the internet says, do not give these medications to dogs or cats.


Aspirin toxicity in small animals is does dependent. Occasionally we will suggest a low dose of aspirin for pain control in a feline patient, or as a therapy in dogs with renal failure. These does are very low ans infrequent.


Rarely does a day begin without a good dose of caffeine, and while our pets usually don’t finish up our morning cup ‘o joe, keep caffeine tablets or gum out of their reach.

Iron Supplements, Vitamin D

Overdose of either of these can be highly toxic to pets. Vitamin D is commonly available in tasty chewable tablets which can be very tempting as a snack. Iron supplements are usually not as palatable, however high doses are also found in hand warmers and oxygen absorber packets in beef jerky.

Permethrin flea products

Permethrins are commonly used in over the counter flea treatments for dogs. These chemicals cause life-threatening toxicities in cats. Always read the label before putting any external parasite treatment on a cat. Make sure the product is specifically made for felines.

Phenylephrine, Pseudoephedrine

These human decongestants can be highly toxic to dogs and cats. These medications are often combined with antihistamines such as Benadryl. As Benadryl is often used in dogs for allergies it is important to read the label and make sure the product doesn’t have any additional medications added.

Dextromethorphan, Imidazolines

These medications cause a multitude of toxic symptoms in dogs and cats. Keep them well out of reach.

Peppermint Oil, Tea Tree Oil

Natural does not mean safe. As few as 7 drops of team tree oil can cause poisoning in pets. Cats are generally more sensitive than dogs, but be cautious anytime you are using these substances.


Last, but certainly not least, is xylitol. The popular sweetener is found in everything from gum to peanut butter, and even very low doses may cause hypoglycemia in dogs. To be safe, always read ingredient labels before sharing that snack with your pup.