Many people know that chocolate is toxic to dogs, but are you aware of
other common household items that could also pose grave dangers to your
dog? Many items around the house can be dangerous to dogs, and some
are items one might not think about as a threat. Check this list to
make sure you are keeping your dog safe! Many of these items are very common things that you have to have around, but when you are using or storing these items, you must be extremely vigilant about keeping them away from your dog.
1. Sugar-Free Chewing Gum (Xylitol)
Xylitol, a common sweetener in sugar-free gum and other sugarless products, is
a little known and extremely dangerous toxin to dogs. Xylitol causes dogs to release excess insulin, which can result in extremely low blood sugar very quickly, resulting in shock and seizures.
Keep your dog safe: Never leave gum out on a table, counter, or dresser where your dog may snag it. Ensure it is carefully out of reach. Consider other common places you may keep gum where your dog may inadvertently get into it, such as in your purse or jacket pocket; never leave these items lying out.
2. Rat and Mouse Poisons
Most rodent poisons are made of Warfarin, which is a blood thinner commonly prescribed in very small doses to human heart attack or stroke patients. The intent is to thin the blood so that the rat or mouse hemorrhages and bleeds to death internally. Unfortunately, this result also occurs when dogs ingest the poison. The medicine can also be ingested if a dog consumes a rat or mouse who consumed the poison.
Keep your dog safe: Never place poison-laden traps inside your house or anywhere in the yard. Use traps designed to confine the animal instead whenever possible.
3. Corn Cobs
Corn on the cob - This item is probably the most hidden danger on this list, one that many owners would not think of as a danger until it is too late. Many dogs are notorious for getting into the trash, and some can eat a discarded corn cob whole! (Especially, if your pup is like mine and tries to get through the trash treasure as quickly as possible to maximize what he gets before he is caught!) Whole cobs cannot be digested in the stomach, and are just the right size to cause severe blockages in the intestines if allowed to get that far.
Keep your dog safe: Always keep corn out of reach when cooking and serving it, and discard cobs immediately in your main trash (i.e., not your usual kitchen trash) to ensure that your dog does not accidentally get it on a mischievous garbage raid.
4. Grapes and Raisins
Grapes and Raisins - Grapes and raisins have been found to be poisonous to some dogs. This is an odd one because while some dogs have had fatal results, others do not have a reaction at all. Because of this disparity, grapes may be extra dangerous because people may purposely feed them to their dog as a treat if they have had or known another dog who did not have a reaction. However, it is impossible to predict which dogs cannot handle them, and grape-sensitive dogs can suffer kidney failure if they are ingested. Raisins are especially toxic since it is easier to eat a higher quantity of them, increasing their toxicity.
Keep your dog safe: Never leave fruit bowls with grapes out on counters or tables. Actually, the pits of other fruits are also potential toxins, so it is good practice to keep the fruit bowl out of reach whether there are grapes in there or not. Ensure that raisins stored properly, and that leftover lunch bags that may contain raisins are never accidentally left around.
5. Human Medicines and Inhalers
Medicine - Human drugs can be deadly poisons to dogs, and it is very easy to inadvertently leave a bottle of medicine on the counter or table without considering that an enterprising dog might swipe them. Additionally, note there are only very few human medicines that are safe for dogs, so NEVER purposely give your dog medicine meant for people without asking your veterinarian first about safety, efficacy, and dosage for dogs. In particular, human analgesics (painkillers) such as Tylenol, Advil, and Aleve are very unsafe for dogs and can cause severe and even fatal gastrointestinal issues. A potentially-overlooked and risky item is an asthma albutrol inhaler, which can cause deadly levels of low potassium in dogs within minutes if a dog punctures it while mischievously chewing on it.
Keep your dog safe: Never leave your loose pills out on a counter or table, even when preparing to take them, even when you're supervising your dog. In the time it takes for you to pour a glass of water with which to take the pills, an enthusiastic dog can grab them off the table and gulp them down! Also, always store bottles in a closed cabinet or drawer, as avid chewers can easily steal and break into the bottle unintentionally while playing with it.
6. Dog Medicines and Prescriptions
Dog medicines and prescriptions: Dog medicines may be overlooked as a threat since of course dogs are allowed to take them. However, when taken in excess of the correct dose, they can be harmful. Since some dogs love to get into things they shouldn't, pet medicines are a possible danger. This is especially true of dog medicines that are flavored, such as chewable Rimadyl, since a dog sees them as a bottle of yummy treats!
Keep your dog safe: Always keep dog medicines stored in a closed drawer or cabinet.
7. Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Toilet Bowl Fresheners - This item fits the category of obviously dangerous, but your pup may have access to it in a way you might not think of. Some people use toilet bowl cleaners that stay in the bowl for months at a time to provide continuous cleaning. However, keep in mind that some dogs may sneak a drink from the bowl without your knowing, making such cleansers a very real hidden danger. The cleaning agents in the devices are very strong and dissolve into the water continuously, so if your dog drinks the water, he will ingest the cleaner along with it!
Keep your dog safe: Ideally, scrap the in-bowl cleaners entirely, and opt for weekly cleaning with a regular cleanser that is rinsed from the bowl within a few flushes. If you must use the in-bowl fresheners, make sure you always keep the lid closed. Of course, forgetting to close the lid is a big risk, especially if there are children or guests in the home.
8. Green Tomatoes
Green Tomatoes - Unripe tomatoes contain a chemical toxic to dogs that can cause many poison-like symptoms such as drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, neurological symptoms such as inability to control the back legs or seizures.
Keep your dog safe: The most likely area for a dog to access green tomatoes is in your own garden. Ensure your garden is protected from your dog with proper fencing and train your dog not to go into this area.
Antifreeze - Antifreeze has a high toxicity to pets, and its sweet taste attracts animals who might otherwise not be inclined to get into things around the house. The substance breaks down in the body to highly toxic chemicals that can result in irreversible and fatal kidney damage just 8-10 hours.
Keep your dog safe: It is obvious that anytime you are adding antifreeze to your vehicle that you must keep your pet away. However, small leaks in the garage may go initially unnoticed and result in the poisoning. Note that most radiator coolant contains antifreeze, so it is not just a cold-weather, cold-climate additive. As a general rule, it is best to keep your dog out of the garage at all times. If your dog does spend time in the garage, you must take precautions to safety-proof it and check it every time you put your dog in the garage.
10. Cooked Meat Bones
Meat Bones - Cooked meat bones can be dangerous for dogs due to the ease at which the splinter and break, allowing them to become very sharp, potentially causing damage as the pieces move through the dog's digestive track. Splintered bones can perforate a dog's esophagos or intestinal wall, possibly causing a grave situation.
Keep your dog safe: Of course, discarded bones area very attractive commodity to most dogs, so one must be extra vigilant when handling them. Never leave the dinner table without taking the plates away and properly discarding the leftovers. Ensure that bones are taken to the main trash immediately, and not placed temptingly in a kitchen trashcan. Additionally, be cautious at times when you cut meat off of a bone, such as when carving a turkey. Make sure you discard the carcass before sitting down to your meal to eliminate the chance for your dog to sneak the carcass while you are enjoying your dinner.
I considered adding a "What to do if your dog ingests this product" section for each of these items, but the answer is always the same. These are extremely toxic and dangerous items, and if you suspect your dog has gotten into anything on this list, take him to a veterinarian immediately! Some of these items can result in extreme illness and death very quickly. But prevention is definitely the best medicine when it comes to these hazards!
I would love to hear your ideas about keeping dogs safe around regular household items!