Dogs can be poisoned by many things that we, as humans, ingest quite happily. It is a good idea to be aware of what items around the home are dangerous to dogs and our pets therefore to keep them safe from harm’s way. We unintentionally can leave a gauntlet of items lying around our houses that can upset our dog’s tummies at best, and can be fatal at worst.
Below, we have the top 10 items that can be hurtful to dogs – almost all of which will be in your home.
We remember to put our household products safely away from our children, yet it’s also a great idea to do so from your pets. Some items are obvious, like bleach or floor cleaners. But there are some other products around the home that are easier to forget about, especially in terms of their danger towards your dog. Fire logs are often left out and about and can cause serious stomach and respiratory problems.
Other products that are often left unmanned in garages and sheds are products like paint thinner or white spirit, pool cleaning products and antifreeze sprays for cars. All of these can cause death in a dog as well as chemical burns, stomach upsets, renal failure and depression.
If you see your dog ingest any item you are unsure of, go to your vet immediately. Household products are the leading causes of dog poisoning. These are issues that can be easily avoided by simply locking harsh chemicals away from inquisitive pups and dogs. If in doubt, use a baby proofing attachment on your kitchen cupboards and storage in the garage, as well as dog proof trash cans.
When we see dogs out on walks, they are often licking things on the floor or chewing on a stick or drinking water from ponds so we do not always think of them as having sensitive stomachs. However, they are far more delicate than we immediately assume.
One example of a time we should take our pets straight to the vet or a trained professional is if we catch our dogs eating prescription medication that is meant for human consumption. Powerful drugs are given out on prescription and they can wreak havoc on human insides with a number of side effects, let alone on a dog’s whose stomach and intestines were never meant to see human drugs in the first instance. It is just as dangerous for dogs to overdose on human drugs as it is for for humans themselves.
Even more worryingly, dogs do not even have to ingest a large amount of some of the most common medications to have a major effector. For instance, anti inflammatory meds and painkillers can cause kidney failure and intestinal ulcers. Antidepressants will aggravate a dog’s inside to cause vomiting and sometimes even serotonin syndrome. This is extremely dangerous as it causes a dog’s temperature to rise along with its heart rate and blood pressure. In extreme cases, it can even cause seizures.
Whilst pet medication may be used to cure dogs of some ailments, if they take it incorrectly or with too big a dosage by mistake, owners should take their dogs to the vet immediately. Again, imagine if a human overdoses on drugs prescribed to them – it’s incredibly dangerous. It is the very same with dogs and pet medication. Just because it is specialised for animals, doesn’t make it any safer.
The most common example of dogs that have been poisoned by pet medication are when they have accidentally eaten too many painkillers or even dewormers. Too strong a dosage can cause internal damage to a pet’s organs so you could notice that your dog is vomiting a lot or has diarrhoea.
It only takes a second for pet medication to become dangerous, so keep it in a locked cupboard like you would your own medication to keep away from children.
Vets are more often than not called out on Christmas Day and other festive holidays because dogs will have eaten chocolate by mistake. There is so much lying around during the holidays that is easily happens.
The problem with chocolate is that it contains theobromine. It is in all chocolate, to varying degrees. So whilst dark chocolate or unsweetened baking chocolate is the most dangerous, white chocolate and milk chocolate can still be incredibly harmful to our pets.
The theobromine causes the dog to vomit and have diarrhea in most cases. However, if too much is eaten, it can cause seizures, heart problems, tremors and even death. The amount of chocolate that can kill a dog depends on the size of the dog and the type of chocolate ingested. For example, in small breeds like a chihuahua, just half an ounce of dark chocolate or baking chocolate could be enough to be fatal. Whereas, in larger breeds like labradors or pointers, anything up to 8 ounces may simply bring on a stomach upset.
Either way, it’s best not to chance it, so if you suspect your pup has eaten some chocolate, take him or her straight to the vets for a once over.
Grapes and Raisins
It can be tempting to give dogs grapes and raisins for treats, but they can actually be fatal. Scientists are unsure why or how, but they can cause kidney failure in dogs – whereas humans can eat them like sweets. An early sign that your dog may have ingested a grape or a raisin is that he or she is repeatedly vomiting. From this, your dog will continue to become lethargic with a low mood.
It’s best to get your dog straight to the vet therefore if your pet has somehow eaten a grape or raisin. Even a very small amount of grapes can affect a dog’s health. It is easily done – especially for those that have small children who so often love to eat raisins or sultanas as a snack. If caught early enough, your vet will want to induce vomiting straight away so that the grapes or raisins cannot enter your dog’s system any further and cause more damage.
We use plants to make our homes look pretty by bringing the outside in. Decorating like this may not be an option if you are a dog owner however – depending on what plants and flowers you want in your house.
Some flowers that you should definitely think twice about if your dog likes to eat things he or she shouldn’t are:
Azaleas and rhododendrons: these stunning flowers are dangerous to dogs if they are eaten. Symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, and sometimes they can cause fatalities.
Tulips and daffodils: It is the bulbs of the daffodil and tulip families that can cause a series of health issues in dogs. In particular, they can cause your dog to have breathing difficulties, an upset tummy and a higher heart rate
Sago Palms: Just a few of the seeds of this plant can be exceedingly poisonous to dogs. They have been known to cause dogs to vomit, have violent seizures and even suffer from liver failure.
Whilst we may put down rodenticides with the best of intentions of keeping our homes and gardens free of mice and rats, rodenticides can be very toxic to dogs. Dog owners should therefore be very wary of using rodenticides to keep rat numbers down. They kill rats and mice very quickly and therefore have history of causing severe problems within dogs.
Even if your dog does not eat the rat poison directly, they can still suffer if they eat a dead rat that has died due to ingesting some rodenticides. What makes it worse is that symptoms do not often start to show in dogs who have eaten rat poison for a few days leaving it to harm your pet’s stomach and intestine then other organs as a consequence.
It is imperative to take your dog to your vet if you have any worry that he or she has been affected some way by rodenticides.
Lawn Feed and Weed Killer
We all want a healthy looking lawn and sometimes we may buy lawn feed or weed killer to help it out a bit. They’re not great for our dogs unfortunately and can be poisonous to our canine friends.
More worrying still, is that some lawn feeds have ingredients that attract dogs, their noses and then the odd lick or two. Lawn feeds have been known to contain bone meal, blood meal and feather meal. Consuming too much can cause blockages in the gastrointestinal tract and sometimes even pancreatitis.
Some even contain metal so that our four legged best friends are susceptible to lead and iron poisoning should they eat or drink too much.
Symptoms that may appear in any of the above cases include mass drooling, difficulty breathing, vomiting and diarrhea. You should take your dog to the vet if you suspect that he or she has eaten lawn feed or weed killer, especially if you think he or she may have consumed a vast quantity of it. Continual exposure to these products has been linked to some cancers in certain dogs. So the products themselves may be worth simply throwing away for the safety of your dog.
Those with gardens will probably all be guilty of spraying plants, and maybe even house plants, with insecticides. Unfortunately, they can be extremely harmful to dogs if they happen to ingest some – either by licking leaves doused in a product or perhaps in the worst cases consumed through over excited play with the bottle itself. Go to the vet if you see any of this happening.
However, another insecticide can be dangerous to dogs if not used correctly and one that many owners will have bought with the best intentions. Flea and tick products can potentially be harmful to pups – in fact thousands of dogs a year are unintentionally harmed by these products. Whilst in the main this is due to accidental ingestion by your pet, on occasion dogs can also be affected by them simply if a large amount of the product is used on them.
Fleas and ticks in themselves are harmful to dogs, however, so if in doubt about how to use an over the counter product correctly, consult with your vet.
Over the Counter Medication
The pet poison helpline released statistics that showed that over half of all the calls they receive are from dog owners who have seen their dogs eat some over the counter medication.
Pills like ibuprofen (like Advil, Aleve and Motrin) or Acetaminophen (ie Tylenol) are the main offenders. If your dog ingests just one or two Advil, they can be prone to stomach ulcers or even kidney failure. Tylenol can cause your pooch to damage his or her liver that sometimes leads to organ failure and it can also cause red blood cell damage.
Other drugs to keep an eye out for are antidepressants and sleeping pills. They both can upset your dog’s stomachs even if a small dose is ingested. A larger dose can cause wider health implications that can otherwise be avoided if they are kept up high and, preferably, locked away.
As ever, go straight to the vet or a healthcare professional if you know your dog has eaten any drugs that were intended for humans or otherwise.
When all common household dog poisons are written out in a list like this, it can be quite overwhelming. It suddenly looks like our houses are a minefield for our pets, as opposed to the safe environment that we work hard for our homes to become. However, with just a few simple changes, our dogs will be out of harm’s way. Often we can just put these products up high or locked away so that even the strongest, most inquisitive dogs are kept away from danger.