Surprising Household Items You May Not Know Are Toxic To Your Dog
Things don’t need to taste good for our dogs to eat them—to Fido, just about everything is a chew toy.
But what’s safe for our dogs to nibble on, and what’s not?
In recognition of National Pet Poison Prevention Month, we’re here to identify some common household items that could be toxic to your dog. Watch out for these potential dangers hiding in plain sight.
Toxic items in the kitchen
This hub of family life is probably the most dangerous to your dog. Let’s take a look at some common kitchen items you should keep out of his reach.
Coffee and coffee grounds
Most of us need a hot cup O’Joe to get going in the morning. Our dogs—not so much. They’re more sensitive to caffeine than we are, and while a casual slurp or two of coffee isn’t cause for alarm, overconsumption could lead to a hospital visit. Don’t let your dog get at used coffee grounds or tea bags either, as both can cause problems.
Raw bread dough
You might not find raw dough particularly appealing, but your dog is less discerning. If he gets into your batch of homemade pizza dough resting on the counter, it could be problematic. Raw dough expands in the stomach, sending carbon dioxide and alcohol into the bloodstream. This process causes a dog’s stomach to bloat and twist on itself, requiring immediate vet care. If your dog ingests raw dough, be on the lookout for a distended abdomen, vomiting, or retching.
Grapes and raisins
Harmless though they may seem, even a small amount of grapes can be fatal to dogs. Give your furry friend a safe alternative with one of these dog-friendly fruits and veggies.
There’s nothing like winding down with a good cocktail. But never share with your pup, warns the ASPCA. Your poor pooch is much more sensitive to alcohol, and even a small amount can cause a lack of coordination, vomiting, diarrhea, and even death.
Most gum and breath mints contain xylitol, a substance deadly to dogs. Be careful about where you toss your purse after work—if your dog ever got into a package of gum, he could wind up with a very unhappy tummy.
No, vinegar isn’t exactly toxic to dogs, and most medium-sized canines can handle a diluted teaspoon or two. The problem arises if your dog gets greedy and helps himself to more. Especially if he’s not in optimal health.
Toxic items in the bathroom and bedroom
Moving on to the bedroom and bathroom. Are any of these less-obvious threats laying around your home?
Toothpaste and mouthwash
Maybe your dog is drawn to the minty-fresh smell of your Colgate, but human toothpaste and canines don’t mix. Like gum, many kinds of toothpaste contain the artificial sweetener, xylitol. According to the American Kennel Club, this toxic substance could lead to a drop in blood sugar or even liver damage.
Vitamins and herbal supplements
We all want our dogs to have good nutrition. But sharing our multi-vitamins with them is not the way to achieve it. PetMD tells us that human supplements deliver an excessive amount of vitamins in dogs. While swallowing a couple of pills won’t seriously hurt your dog, making a meal of them will cause complications. Especially if they’re prenatals or vitamin D supplements.
If you’re in the habit of popping your nightly pills and stashing the bottle on your nearby nightstand, your dog could be in danger. The sweet, candy-like coating of many over-the-counter meds makes them especially tempting to dogs. According to American Humane, all it takes is one of two of these pills to cause serious problems, including liver damage and kidney failure.
It’s also important to remember dogs are pros at chewing through plastic. Don’t rely on the childproof cap to keep Fido out. If he’s determined to get at those pills, believe me—he will.
Tea Tree Oil
Reported to have antifungal and antibacterial properties, tea tree oil is frequently used for medicinal purposes. But that doesn’t mean you should let your dog near it. The Pet Poison Helpline reports that an amount as small as 7 drops can cause serious harm to pets, and 10-20 ml can cause death.
The chemicals used in mothballs (paradichlorobenzene, camphor, and naphthalene) can be toxic to both cats and dogs. If ingested, they can cause vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, and even seizures.
These fragrant sheets may smell appealing to our canine pals, but they’re harmful if chewed or ingested. Dryer sheets are coated with chemicals that can irritate a dog’s skin, stomach lining, or mucous membranes.
Toxic items in the living room
On to the garage—home to all sorts of potential puppy threats. Some that you may not have considered include:
Tiki torch fuel
If you have some of these summertime staples in storage, make sure that your pup can’t get to them. Tiki torch fluid can cause drooling or difficulty breathing in dogs.
Rodenticides are the most common cause of poisoning reported to the Pet Poison Helpline. Your dog could also be harmed if he gets at a rat that’s ingested the poison. Signs of poisoning can take anywhere from two days to several weeks to appear.
Gorilla Glue and other similar adhesive products contain a chemical compound that expands rapidly in the stomach. If your dog gets into this stuff, it could lead to emergency surgery.
This stuff is temptingly sweet to animals, but even a small amount is lethal. According to PetMD, just three ounces of antifreeze can kill a medium-sized dog. Always clean up any spills immediately to keep your dog from lapping up a deadly sample.
Potential dangers lurking in your yard
Image by Mylene via Unsplash
Even if your yard is fully puppy-proofed, these sneaky dangers could still harm your dog. Scan your yard for the following:
Luckily, most of the mushrooms in your yard are perfectly edible. But not all of them. A small percentage of fungi contain muscarine, which can be fatal to dogs. VCA Animal Hospitals shares this advice: don’t take your chances. Assume that any mushroom you encounter is a poisonous one. You can’t be harmed if you avoid them all.
The rotting food and mold found in compost bins can contain tremorgenic mycotoxins, which are toxic to pets and wildlife.
These fuzzy cuties seem like the furthest thing from threatening, but they can harm a curious pooch, warns the ASPCA. While not life-threatening, the hairs on these garden occupants can irritate the lips, mouth, and throat. If ingested, caterpillars can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
Several types of toads found in Colorado, Arizona, Texas, Florida, and Hawaii secret toxic substances when threatened. Once they enter the bloodstream, these chemicals can wreak havoc on the heart, blood vessels, or nervous system.
If you’re a non-smoker, cigarette butts probably aren’t on your radar. But a roaming dog could encounter them on the sidewalk or street. Nicotine can cause an alarming hike in your dog’s blood pressure or heart rate.
This quintessential spring flower can give your pup an upset tummy or make him sleepy and uncoordinated. Other toxic flowers to watch for include:
- Calla Lily
If you suspect your dog has gotten into something toxic, call your emergency vet right away. For more tips on keeping your dog safe, check out our Grumble Dog blog post on dog-proofing your home.