Household items that are toxic to dogs

household items toxic to dogs
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    When we bring our dogs into our homes we literally want them to be ‘as safe as houses’. But what if I was to tell you that the one place you assume is safe, could actually be affecting your dogs health! From the food that we leave lying around to the products we apply to clean our floors, many of these everyday household items can have a detrimental effect on our dogs wellbeing.

    There are many common household items that are toxic to dogs. Within your four walls there will countless food items, fruits, indoor plants, cleaning products and air fresheners that could be potentially fatal for our pets. Here we explain more!

    Household items that can kill a dog

    If, like our Cavapoo Rosie, your canine companion explores the world with their mouth and literally eats everything and anything they stumble across, then it is well worth knowing which common household items are toxic for dogs.

    That way you can ensure that they are put well out of sight, and for some items for dogs which could be deadly, that they never enter your home at all.

    I mean did you know that something as simple as a tube of toothpaste could be sinister for our dogs? Well unfortunately most of these human breath fresheners contain xylitol, which can cause your Cavapoo to experience life-threatening low blood sugar levels after absorbing just a teeny tiny amount!

    If, like me, you are completely unaware of which household items could kill your dog, then let us talk you through the most common household items found around your home that could prove fatal if ingested or absorbed.

    What foods are toxic to dogs?

    We all know that chocolate is bad for dogs (especially dark chocolate), as it contains theobrominea chemical similar to caffeine, which is toxic to dogs. But did you know that there are hundreds more edible hazards hanging around your kitchen and home?

    Here is a list of some of the most toxic foods for dogs:

    1. Drinks – dogs need to keep hydrated too but you should never be tempted to let them slurp a quick cup of coffee or indulge in a hot chocolate as both these drinks contain caffeine. In severe cases, too much caffeine could lead to your dog collapsing, tremors, and even seizures. Too much caffeine can kill your pooch but the lethal dose of caffeine varies, depending on the size of your dog. Alcohol is another no no, as it can cause liver and kidney damage as well as acidosis and could cause your dog to have a cardiac arrest.
    2. Yeast – Alcohol isn’t the only thing that can get your dog drunk, yeast can too because it produces ethanol. In addition, yeast dough can rise while it’s in your dog’s stomach, causing painful gas to accumulate in their digestive system. Therefore if you are into home baking make sure you store this ingredient out of reach and sight.
    3. Onions & Garlic– whether your dog digests them dry, raw or cooked, both onions and garlic are particularly poisonous to dogs as they can cause gastrointestinal irritation and kill canine blood cells.
    4. Nuts – Although your first thought might be to do with allergies, it is actually the high fat content in nuts that is the real concern when it comes to dogs. Macadamia nuts are particularly poisonous and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and potentially, pancreatitis for our pooches. Almonds, pecans and walnuts should be avoided at all costs too.
    5. Bones – Please don’t feed your Cavapoo any bones (leftovers or otherwise) as they can splinter and do all sorts of harm. In fact, cooked bones are even worse as they may be brittle and hazardous.
    6. Sugar free gum or candy – Just like toothpaste, both sugar free gum and candy contain xylitol, which is an artificial sweetener. Whilst it provides many health benefits for humans, it can cause hypoglycemia and liver failure in dogs.

    Other frequently asked questions in relation to human food and dogs are:

    Are mushrooms dangerous for dogs?

    The ones that we buy at the local grocery store should not cause any issues for our dogs, however, wild mushroom can be incredibly toxic.

    Can my dog eat corn on the cob?

    Corn on the cob could potentially be fatal if eaten by your dog. Although the corn itself can be digested, the cob can cause a blockage in your dog’s intestine.

    Is it safe for dogs to eat tomatoes?

    A ripe tomato or two won’t do your dog any harm and can even be given as a snack (in moderation). Unripe tomatoes that are green and tomato plants, on the other hand, should be avoided as these will cause tummy troubles for your dog.

    What fruits can’t dogs eat?

    I am one of those gloating mums who kids happily snack on fruit (don’t hate me just yet as vegetables are a totally different matter!), which means that we always have a full fruit bowl situated in the kitchen.

    Unfortunately, we know first hand how dangerous fruit can be for a dog as our Cavapoo Rosie once managed to get her paws on a plum. And whilst the fruit itself isn’t always toxic, it is the core, pips, seeds and stones which you need to watch out for as they contain cyanide which can be extremely harmful to your dog and even prove fatal. Luckily Rosie was fine and pooped the plum seed straight back out the next day no problem at all!

    Other fruits to watch out for include:

    Grapes and raisins – although these sound like a simple snack for our dogs, there is some unidentified toxin in both grapes and raisins that cause acute renal failure for our dogs.

    Citrus fruits – such as oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruits can cause some digestive upset due to the citric acid and essential oils present in the stems, leaves, peels, fruit, and seeds.

    Avacado – the pulp is not toxic to dogs, however, other parts of an avacado can be harmful to your dog such as the pit. This is because it is so big that it could be a potential choking hazard and is difficult to digest in a dog’s intestinal tract.

    Hedgerow berries – Most berries such as strawberries and blackberries are packed full of nutrients and safe for dogs. Rowan, holly, juniper and elderberries however, are all harmful or poisonous, so if you see your dog making a beeline for a berry-dotted hedge, make sure that you intervene.

    Apples, bananas, berries (bar those listed above), pears, peaches, apricots and plums are all fine for your dog to consume providing you remember to take out any seeds or stones.

    What plants are toxic to dogs?

    We recently moved house and I was given an indoor cheese plant as a gift, and its glossy green leaves really brighten up the lounge. But it was wasn’t until the other day that someone mentioned to me that if Rosie were to chew on the stems, flower or leaves, or if one of the tips were to break off, calcium oxalate crystals, which are poisonous to dogs, would be released!

    So it got me thinking, what other houseplants could be toxic for my Cavapoo? I did some research and this is what I found!

    1. Lilies – Probably better known for being poisonous to cats, there are certain types of lilies which can also be toxic for dogs. The Mauna Loa, also known as the Peace Lily, is the one to watch out for if you have a canine friend in the house.
    2. Aloe Vera – While Aloe Vera is great for our skin, it has the opposite affect on our dogs. Whilst the gel substance isn’t harmful to your dog if it gets ingested, other parts of the plant can harm a dog’s digestive system.
    3. Philodendron – Many a home is adorned with this plant as it is incredibly low maintenance. The trouble with a Philodendron, however, is that if ingested by your dog, it can result in swelling and burning of the mouth and tongue as well as digestive issues, spasms, and even seizures.
    4. Sago palms – whilst these are beautiful ornamental plants they are highly toxic, from its seeds to to its roots, when consumed by dogs. 
    5. Narcissus (Daffodils) – A spring staple in our house usually, this year we will be steering clear of purchasing a bunch of daffodils as they contain toxic alkaloids that can result in severe gastrointestinal illness, convulsions, seizures, low blood pressure, tremors and cardiac arrhythmias if ingested by dogs.
    6. Tulips – Another springtime favourite of mine, Tulips are now banned in our house as if Rosie were to ingest them it could result in intense vomiting, depression, diarrhoea, hyper-salivation and loss of appetite.

    If you want your garden to also be a dog friendly zone, then check out our blog ‘Can Cavapoos eat grass‘ for more information on safe outdoor plants.

    Are air fresheners poisonous to dogs?

    Air fresheners are among the most frequently used products for keeping bad smells at bay (including the smell of our dogs), as they mask unpleasant odors.

    However, these powerful devices (especially the plugins) often contain a high percentage of synthetic ingredients such as formaldehyde and petroleum distillates, which can affect your dogs sensitive nose.

    The side effects of these chemicals can cause your dog to have chronic headaches and diarrhoea. So for all dog owners looking to add a new scent into your home, why not try opening a window instead?

    What essential oils are toxic to dogs?

    Essential oils are typically extracted from plants and use the concentrated liquids in order to produce a powerful smell. This may be great for your home, but how safe are essential oils for your dog?

    The answer is not very, as many essential oils react with your dogs natural body chemistry. Cinnamon, citrus, peppermint, pine, sweet birch, tea tree, ylang ylang, anise, juniper, garlic and yarrow are particularly toxic for our dogs.

    Are cleaning products dangerous for our dogs?

    Most cleaning products use chemicals in order to tackle heavy stains. Glass cleaning products use glycol ethers which have been linked to anaemia, lung damage and even kidney failure in dogs, whereas oven cleaning products often contain ammonia.

    Amonia is pretty dangerous on its own, causing the cilia in a dogs trachea to become tranquilized and in some instances burn, but if mixed with bleach it can also create a poisonous gas that is deadly for dogs when inhaled.

    Household pests are pesky, but whether you have a rat in your kitchen or a bug in your bed you should resist the urge to use pesticides. These poisons may be designed to kill pests but they are indiscriminate and can also be fatal for your dog. So why not call in the professionals pest controllers instead.

    Is hairspray toxic for dogs?

    It is not unusual for us to leave many day to day items lying out around our home making them easy for our dogs to explore. And whilst many of them may be completely harmless there are some that could cause some serious health hazards for our dogs.

    Razors, straighteners and tweezers may all be safely put away but what happens when we squirt a can of hairspray and our dog is in the room?

    Hairspray and mousse often contain ingredients like acetic acid, aluminum sulfate, hydrochloric acid, and sulfuric acid. These can cause tissue damage if ingested or absorbed through your pet’s skin.

    What happens if your dog eats your deodorant?

    Many deodorant brands contain aluminum, which can be toxic to dogs. Even if your curious Cavapoo ingests a small amount of deodorant or if, for some reason, they has skin contact with the product and then licks it off, they may experience an upset stomach.

    Dogs and human medication

    There are loads of human over the counter and prescribed medications that can be potentially dangerous to dogs causing even death.

    This is why, as responsible dog owners, it is up to us to store our human medications in areas that are inaccessible to our dogs.

    Can your dog inhale cigarette smoke?

    Although most people now choose to smoke outside of the house, if you are in a confined space and your dog is near you then they may be subjected to secondary smoke.

    It is now widely known that the chemicals from second hand smoke are far more dangerous than smoke that is inhaled directly, so dogs that live with smokers are at risk.

    In fact your dog is ten times more likely to succumb to lung disease than you are, as the smoke tends to stay low on the floor exposing your dog for longer. In addition to this, there is also a risk of smoke causing ulcerated eyes in dogs.

    Things to know should your dog experience toxic shock.

    How do you know if your dog has been poisoned?

    It can be difficult to tell if you dog has been poisoned by something within the house as depending on the size of the dog and the type and level of toxicity they have been exposed too, the symptoms can vary tremendously.

    If your dog has swallowed something poisonous, such as chocolate for example, this often causes sickness, diarrhoea, agitation and heart issues. If your dog has inhaled something toxic, they may find it difficult to breathe or start to lose consciousness.

    Poisons that come into direct contact with your dog’s skin such as chemicals, can cause irritation and immense pain.

    What are the symptoms that your dog has been poisoned?

    Depending on what they have eaten or inhaled, if your dog has been poisoned they will show symptoms of:
    – Drooling
    – Nausea
    – Agitation
    – Vomiting
    – Diarrhoea
    – Tremors
    – Unsteady on their feet
    – Pale gums
    – Breathing issues
    – Irregular heartbeat
    – Excessive bruising or bleeding
    – Kidney failure
    These symptoms may not happen instantly and may start to occur over a period of a few days.

    What to do if your dog has been poisoned at home

    Whether your dog has eaten macadamia nuts or licked their paws after your have moped the floors, you need to monitor them for signs of toxicity.

    If your dog is showing any signs of toxic shock then you should immediately call your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline  on (USA – 855-213-6680) or PDSA Animal PoisonLine (UK 01202 509000) for medical advice.

    Your vet will want to know what’s caused toxicity in your dog, so if you have an inkling as to what has made your dog sick, then you should take along any packaging or substances with you. The faster you can act, the better the prognosis for your pooch.

    Once your vet has examined your dog that will be able to test for toxins by analysing blood samples in order to determine the cause. The best cause of treatment can then be discussed and agreed.


    It is so important that we ensure that our houses are dog safe zones. This means keeping all potentially toxic substances, plants, flowers and foods well out of reach of your dog and always ensure that your dog has a fresh supply of water.

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