Dog Hazards

Each year, there are almost 68,000 cases of pet poisoning in the UK. Many of these were caused by household substances that may seem perfectly harmless to you. But just because something is safe for people doesn’t mean it won’t hurt beloved pets. Some of the most dangerous dog poisons are foods and medications we take on a daily basis.

Depending on how a particular substance affects your dog’s body and how much was ingested or inhaled, pet poisoning symptoms can include gastrointestinal and neurological problems, cardiac and respiratory distress, coma, and even death.

Human Medicines

Some human over-the-counter and prescription medicines pose serious threats to dogs, so keep them in a place he can’t get into, including:

  • Antidepressants
  • Cancer medicines
  • Cold medicines
  • Diet pills
  • Pain relievers (acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen)
  • Vitamins and other supplements

You may have heard that some common medicines work for people and dogs. Never give your pet any pills without first talking to your vets, – it’s easy to give him the wrong medicine or too much, which can kill him.

Human Foods
Your canine companion may look so cute as he sits there begging for a bite of your chocolate cake or a chip covered in guacamole, but not giving him what he wants could save his life. Animals have different metabolisms than people. Some foods, such as onions and garlic, as well as beverages that are perfectly safe for people can be dangerous, and sometimes fatal, for dogs.

  • Alcohol. Symptoms of alcohol poisoning in animals are similar to those in people, and may include vomiting, breathing problems, coma and, in severe cases, death.
  • Avocado. You might think of them as healthy, but avocados have a substance called persin that can act as a dog poison, causing vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Macadamia nuts. Dogs may suffer from a series of symptoms, including weakness, overheating, and vomiting, after consumption of macadamia.
  • Grapes and raisins. Experts aren’t sure why, but these fruits can induce kidney failure in dogs. Even a small number may cause problems in some dogs.
  • Xylitol. This sweetener is found in many products, including sugar-free gum, toothpaste and sweets. It causes a rapid drop in blood sugar, resulting in weakness and seizures. Liver failure also has been reported in some dogs.

Other foods you should keep away from your dog include tomatoes, mushrooms and most seeds and nuts

Chocolate and Cocoa
Though not harmful to people, chocolate products contain substances called methylxanthines that can cause vomiting in small doses, and death if ingested in larger quantities. Darker chocolate contains more of these dangerous substances than do white or milk chocolate.

The amount of chocolate that could result in death depends on the type of chocolate and the size of the dog. For smaller breeds, just half an ounce of baking chocolate can be fatal, while a larger dog might survive eating 4 ounces to 8 ounces, though 8 ounces would be extremely dangerous. Coffee and caffeine have similarly dangerous chemicals.

More Household Hazards

Watch out for common household items that can choke or strangle your dog. Some may even block his intestines if he swallows them.

  • Chicken bones
  • Dental floss, yarn, or string
  • Holiday decorations, including lights and tinsel
  • Toys with small or movable parts
Veterinary Products
Sounds a bit daft but this includes medications as well as flea and tick treatments. Just as we can be sickened or killed by medications intended to help us, cases of pet poisoning by veterinary drugs are not uncommon. Some of the more commonly reported problem medications include painkillers and de-wormers. And you may think you’re doing your dog a favour when you apply products marketed to fight fleas and ticks, but thousands of animals are unintentionally poisoned by these products every year. Problems can occur if dogs accidentally ingest these products or if small dogs receive excessive amounts. Talk to your vet about safe OTC products.
Indoor and Outdoor Plants

Common houseplants – and a few others that you may bring into your home can be hazardous to your dog’s health, including the following:

  • Aloe
  • Azalea
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Hyacinths
  • Lily
  • Daffodil
  • Marijuana
  • Mistletoe
  • Poinsettia
  • Rhododendron
  • Tulip
  • Sago Palm
Insecticides and Chemicals

Some chemicals taste especially good to dogs. To keep them safe, keep any chemicals locked away, especially:

  • Antifreeze
  • Bleach
  • Detergents
  • De-icing salts (which pets may walk through, then lick from their pads)
  • Dog flea and tick medication (pills, collars, spot-on flea treatments, sprays, shampoos)
  • Fertilisers
  • Herbicides
  • Insect and rodent bait
Rodenticides
Unfortunately, many baits used to lure and kill rodents can also look tasty to our pets. If ingested by dogs, they can cause severe problems. The symptoms depend on the nature of the poison, and signs may not start for several days after consumption. In some instances, the dog may have eaten the poisoned rodent, and not been directly exposed to the toxin.

Keep your pet healthy and happy.

Chesterfield: 01246 823 353

Sheffield: 01142 621 444