Is Your Dog Safe from Common Household Hazards?

by Jim Navary

In order to keep your canine pal safe at home you should become familiar with the common household substances and items that can be dangerous – even fatal – if ingested. This list is not all-inclusive but it does contain information on some of the dangers typically found in homes.

Household Cleaning Products
While many household cleaning products can be used safely around dogs , it is essential that proper storage and use directions be followed. Product labels normally include appropriate warnings when their use presents a potential hazard. Check labels for statements such as “keep children and pets away from area until thoroughly dry”. While cleaners containing chlorine bleach can safely disinfect household surfaces when used safely, they can cause severe chemical burns when swallowed or skin contact is made.Vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, and stomach upset are typical symptoms of ingestion of these products.

To avoid accidents with cleaning products be sure to keep them in their original packaging if it can be tightly sealed. Packages that cannot be re-sealed should be stored in a properly labeled sealed container.

Help your dog avoid poisoning

Help your dog avoid poisoning

Herbicides,Insecticides and Other Pest Control Products

Flea and tick control products intended for external application should be kept safely out of reach to avoid ingestion or over exposure. As with cleaning products, read label directions carefully before using as these are poisonous chemicals that must be used only as directed.

Mouse and rat poisons when ingested can result in a life-threatening situation. It is critical to keep these products well sealed and in a location that is completely inaccessible to your dog.

Other insecticides and herbicides, fertilizers, weed killers and the like also pose a serious threat to your dog’s health if ingested. When these substances are applied to lawns be sure to keep your dog away from the treated area in accordance with the time period recommended by the manufacturer.When exposed to wet or granular chemicals, skin reactions may occur. Also, if the chemicals stick to your dog’s paws, he may lick it off and be sickened.

Food Hazards

A number of foods that are not only safe, but that are even considered healthy choices for humans, can be dangerous or even deadly to dogs. Keep the following foods out of your dog’s diet:

Coffee & GroundsTeaGarlic
AlcoholYeast DoughChewing Gum
PersimmonsRaw Eggs or FishNutmeg
MushroomsPotato PeelingsMost Bones
Baking Soda/PowderSugar Free Foods Containing Xylitol

Rotting food found in garbage may contain bacteria that could produce food poisoning. Be sure to keep garbage in securely closed trash cans. Dogs find garbage in plastic trash bags particularly tempting and they can easily tear open the bags looking for “goodies”.

Bathroom Hazards

Drugs intended to treat human medical conditions can make pets very sick. Never give your dog any medications unless your veterinarian specifically instruct you to do so. Keep all meds in tightly closed, secured containers well above the counter and away from dogs.Particularly dangerous common over-the-counter medications include aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, naproxen, antihistamines, cold medicines, vitamins, diet pills, and topical creams/ointments.

Other bathroom products such as toothpaste, skin lotions, and some soaps can cause stomach pain, vomiting or diarrhea. Also, keep toilet lids closed so that your dog does not drink toilet bowl water that has been treated with cleaning chemicals.

Household Plants

Numerous plants typically found both inside the house and in the yard can make your dog very sick. Some of the more common hazardous plants include:

Tulip BulbsNarcissus BulbsOleander
AzaleaRhododendronEnglish Ivy
Sago PalmCyclamenYew
AmaryllisAutumn CrocusPothos

The ASPCA website has a very useful searchable data base of both non-toxic and toxic plants for dogs, cats, and horses.Visit access their system.

Miscellaneous Hazards

–Ethylene glycol antifreeze and coolants can be fatal, even is very small quantities. Although less toxic, propylene glycol antifreeze can still be dangerous.
–Mothballs can be toxic to dogs particularly those containing naphthalene. They can result in blood cell damage, swelling of brain tissue, seizures, coma, and even death.
–Tobacco products
–Paints and Solvents
–Small objects that fall on the floor can be easily swallowed by a curious dog. Such items as coins, small toys, jewelry, screws, nails, buttons, batteries, etc. may result in internal injuries and may require surgery to remove them.
–Electrical cords should be covered and blocked to prevent access. Chewing on a live wire could prove fatal.
–Strings, ribbons, and similar items can damage your dog’s intestines and could be fatal if not surgically removed.


Do Not Delay!Time is very critical for successful treatment of accidental poisoning. Call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-425-4435. Be ready to provide your dog’s age, weight, breed, and any symptoms. Have the product container or a sample of the plant at hand so that the poison can be correctly identified and an appropriate treatment can be recommended.

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