What Household Items Are Toxic Or Hazards To Dogs?


Many common household items can pose a threat to the health and well-being of our pets. Even some items specifically meant for pets can cause health problems.

To protect your pet, first and foremost you want to be an attentive pet owner and always take the same precautions you would with a child. Rodent poisons and insecticides are the most common sources of companion animal poisoning, but several other hazards in the garage, yard, kitchen, and elsewhere around the house can cause serious illness, injury, or even death. The following list of common and potentially toxic agents should be avoided if at all possible.

Hazards Outside:

  • Antifreeze that contains ethylene glycol – the antifreeze has a sweet smell that attracts animals but is deadly even if consumed in small quantities. Antifreeze that contains propylene glycol is safe for animals if only ingested in small amounts.
  • Cocoa mulch
  • Fertilizers and plant food
  • De-icing salts – used to melt snow and ice, irritate pets’ paws and can be poisonous if licked off.
  • Pest control poisons and traps – dogs and cats can receive secondary poison from ingesting a rodent killed by a glue or poison trap.

Hazards Inside the Home:

  • Human medications and pain killers – including ibuprofen, acetaminophen and aspirin, cold medicines, anti-cancer drugs, anti-depressants, vitamins, and diet pills can all be toxic to animals.
  • Household plants – azalea, lilies, tulips, dumb cane, mistletoe and philodendron, among others. See the Humane Society’s full list of plants potentially poisonous to pets.
  • String, yarn, rubber bands and dental floss – can cause intestinal blockage or strangulation if ingested.
  • Rawhide dog chews – often these are safe for pets, but in some cases rawhide dog bones and other toys have been contaminated with salmonella, which can affect pets and humans.
  • Silica gel packs – usually found in shoeboxes.

Food Hazards:

My Dog Ate What? Many foods that are safe for humans can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Learn about some of the foods to avoid.

Sometimes, we humans forget that our favorite “people foods” can be harmful to our dogs and cats.

First, a good rule of thumb is to remember that if it is bad for people, it is bad for dogs, too. Fatty foods, such as bacon or ham, can cause nausea and diarrhea, and even pancreatitis. Also, be sure to keep dogs away from cat food, which can cause the same health problems.

Unsuspecting ingredients, such as artificial sweeteners, can cause serious health troubles and are to be avoided. There are many other foods that are equally able to cause serious health problems yet are surprising; they include onions, garlic, some nuts, and grapes and raisins, to name a few.

A scary experience many owners have endured is when a dog or cat accidentally ingests an unassuming household poison for pets. For example, products such as antifreeze tracked in on paws, certain fertilizers and household plants, dental floss, and raw salmon or even avocado can cause your pet serious health issues.

Any time your pet is under the weather, it is important to have them checked out by the veterinarian. And if you have pet insurance, you’ll never be afraid of the vet bills! Insurance reimburses you up to 90% of the cost.

Finally, think twice before you give your pet human food. Instead, search online for a list of foods that are okay, and foods to avoid. This will ensure you are giving your pet the best care you can as a responsible pet parent. Once you choose the right pet food, it is your best bet to keep your pet healthy and happy.

  • Chocolate
  • Candy – any candy containing the sweetener Xylitol
  • Apple seeds
  • Apricot, peach and cherry pits
  • Avocado
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Tomatoes
  • Onion, garlic and peppers (cooked or raw)
  • Cooked bones
  • Coffee – grounds, beans and chocolate covered espresso beans
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Moldy foods
  • Mushroom plants
  • Mustard seeds
  • Potato leaves and stems
  • Salt
  • Tea (caffeine)
  • Walnuts
  • Raw salmon – can be deadly; Salmon Poisoning Disease comes from infected parasites in the fish.

It is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your pet’s health. Try to keep harmful products off of the ground (above natural pet accessibility) and in a locked cabinet or storage container. Fertilizers, antifreeze, and other potentially toxic products can smell very enticing to pets. It is best to keep all products, supplies, foods, etc. potentially hazardous to pets up and out of their reach.

Simple tip for protecting your pet:

A wise veterinarian once said to always keep a bottle of hydrogen peroxide handy at your house and in your car. If your dog ingests something you think might be hazardous, including objects like mushrooms, socks, or cleaning supplies, give 1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide. If the dog hasn’t vomited and you have waited 5-10 minutes, give your pet another 1/2 cup. To be safe, after your pet has expelled the unwanted meal, make sure you take them to the veterinary office for an examination. Learn how pet insurance can help you afford a large vet bill when your dog becomes ill or injured.

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