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.
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:
- 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.
- 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
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
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:
- Sago Palm
Insecticides and Chemicals
Some chemicals taste especially good to dogs. To keep them safe, keep any chemicals locked away, especially:
- 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)
- Insect and rodent bait