Toxic at Home: How to Protect Your Dog From Dangerous Items

We all know that dogs are curious. And most of us know the really dangerous items in our homes that cause severe reactions when ingested. You know, prescription medications, drain cleaner, bleach, windshield fluid, antifreeze, battery acid, any poison, kerosene, etc. The list is not endless but it is extensive. If you or your child shouldn’t have it, chances are neither should your canine.

There are many ordinary food items we eat that our pups should never have in their mouths. Being right in the middle of National Poison Prevention Week (March 17-23), let’s visit a few and see how they affect our pooches.

Food Stuffs

Onions/garlic/chives/leeks when ingested side effects include anemia and GI issues.

Macadamia nuts can cause vomiting, difficulty walking and lethargy.

Raw or unbaked bread dough should never be ingested. The yeast in the dough causes the dough to expand and can result in a twisted stomach which can cut off the blood supply. If this occurs, go immediately to your animal ER for emergency surgery. This is serious stuff and time is of the essence. Yeast also produces alcohol which isn’t good either. Respiratory failure and seizures could occur.

Chocolate, especially dark chocolate can be fatal to dogs. Lesser symptoms include seizures. Steer clear of milk, white or unsweetened baker’s chocolate as well. Be careful of cocoa bean mulch, too.

Grapes/currants/raisins/grape juice can cause kidney failure.

Xylitol, an artificial sweetener found in a variety of products such as chewing gum, toothpaste and mints, can precipitate liver failure and sudden hypoglycemia.


Easter lilies and their relatives–day lilies, Asiatic, tiger, Japanese and Lilies of the valley varieties can cause heart rhythm problems.

Sago palms when ingested can cause severe reactions in dogs. Kidney failure, lethargy, seizures, diarrhea and vomiting are all possible reactions.

Additional Items

Tobacco/cigarettes/smoking cessation patches. Not only is tobacco in any form dangerous for humans, our canine friends need to stay away from this as well. Ingestion of products containing nicotine can cause tremors, vomiting, collapse or death.

Zinc Coins. Dogs will eat anything. Just a couple of weeks ago, there was news that a dog had surgery to remove 100 pennies from his stomach. What is dangerous about coins, specifically pennies, is the zinc. Even one zinc penny could be fatal. Symptoms include anemia, heart, liver and kidney failure.

Mothballs/Napththalene can be fatal. Increased thirst and urination, vomiting, diarrhea and seizures can all occur with the ingestion of these little smelly balls. If you must use them, place them up high, out of the reach of your very curious, acrobatic doggie.

Prior to having an emergency and not knowing where to turn, be proactive and place the poison control center’s number in a very visible place so you won’t have to search for it and lose valuable time reacting to a potentially fatal situation. Also do a bit of research and see if your regular vet has emergency hours. If not, ask about the closest vet with emergency hours and staff. Have their phone number and address handy as well. If you want to be as prepared as you can get, purchase a pet emergency kit, too.

With a bit of planning around the house and for the possibility to emergencies, you can head off wasting precious seconds if your precious pup gets a bit too curious for her own good.

Cindy Dunston Quirk is the Chief Dog Lover at Scout & Zoe’s Natural Antler Dog Chews. Scout & Zoe’s chews are allergy-free and a green, organic, renewable resource created only from 100% naturally shed elk antlers.

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