Pet Poisons in the Winter Months

As fall gives way to the colder weather of winter, it’s important to remind ourselves about a few cold-season pet toxins. That way, you can keep your pet safe all the way to spring! Learn more here from a Bolingbrook, IL veterinarian.


With chillier weather often comes the invasion of small pests, like rodents and insects, into our homes. You might ward off these critters with pesticides or rodenticides, but remember to use extreme caution. These products are, after all, poisons! Place pesticides carefully in areas that pets don’t have access to, or consider non-toxic alternative methods like traps.


Cold and flu season is coming up. Remember to keep all of your family’s medications safely tucked away in a cabinet or drawer, where pets can’t reach. Everything from cough syrup to antidepressants can harm a pet! Ibuprofen and other NSAIDs—non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs—are a particular problem, because they can lead to life-threatening symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea, increased thirst and urination, abdominal pain, seizures, and worse.


Antifreeze is used commonly during the winter months to keep our cars’ engines running. Did you know that it’s a dangerous pet toxin? Antifreeze is often made with an alcoholic substance called ethylene glycol, which can poison pets quickly. Even worse, antifreeze usually tastes and smells sweet, potentially attracting pets! Keep animals indoors when using antifreeze, and clean up spills immediately. Store the product on high shelves where pets won’t gain access.

Ice Melt

Most ice melt products are made with sodium chloride—salt—and it’s not something you want your pet to swallow. Too much salt can lead to serious health problems! In small amounts, it can cause a pet to experience lethargy, increased thirst, and a loss of appetite; a large amount of salt can lead to kidney damage, seizures, coma, and worse! Avoid ice patches whenever possible when outdoors with your pet, and wipe down the limbs and paws so that they don’t track ice melt indoors and lick it off later.

Toxic Plant Life

Several varieties of plants and flowers that are common during colder seasons—Amaryllis, lilies, the Poinsettia plant, holly and mistletoe, Autumn crocus, and more—can prove harmful to pets who manage to ingest them! Check your home for any offenders, and remove them if necessary.

Would you like to know more about cold-weather pet toxins? Contact your Bolingbrook, IL veterinary clinic today.

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