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Common Household Items That Are Poisonous to Dogs

Updated on March 12, 2018
kate stroud profile image

Kate is a former veterinarian's assistant of five years. She maintains a passion for training and caring for dogs of all types.


They're always there to greet us, to chase evil squirrels away and to keep our toes warm at night. But, unfortunately for us and for them, our favorite furry companion does have some flaws. For one thing, they love to play with and snack on things they definitely shouldn't - my dog has an affinity for Crayola crayons. It's not great, but it's not the worst thing she could get her little paws on either, like a box of V-day chocolates, which we all know is a huge doggy danger.

However, there's a lot of other stuff hanging around our homes that are toxic to our pups that most of us might not take a second-thought to like the pitcher of tulips welcoming spring in the dining room or that leftover grilled chicken dressed with a roasted onion marinade that you tossed in her dish last night.

Here's some more common household items that are toxic to dogs and the signs of dog poisoning to watch out for.

Always Consult Your Veterinarian with Pet-Related Medical Concerns

List of Household Items that are Poisonous to Dogs

Household Plants & Items
Laundry Soaps and Detergents
Dish Soaps and Detergents
Anything with Caffeine
The Onion Family (chives, leeks, etc.)

Common Household Pet Dangers

Go ahead, treat yourself to a bouquet of fresh stems - just make sure you put them up away from reach of your pets.
Go ahead, treat yourself to a bouquet of fresh stems - just make sure you put them up away from reach of your pets. | Source

House Plants that are Poisonous to Dogs

If you have any of these plants growing in your garden or freshening up your living space, make sure to put them up high enough or fence them off from your dog since they're toxic to pooches:

  • Oleanders

  • Tulips

  • Azaleas

  • Daffodils

  • Lilies

Reactions to plants like these can range in severity, sometimes being as mild as vomiting.

Vegetables that are Poisonous to Dogs

As with fruits, there most veggies are fine for your dog (not that they really want them anyway). Unfortunately, some of us get lax when it comes to dogs and vegetables.

Vegetables and various other foods that aren’t safe for dogs:

  • Onions

  • Avocados

  • Chives

  • Leeks

  • Garlic
  • Rhubarb
  • Mushrooms

Avocados are one that should definitely be avoided. They contain persin in the pit, stem and skin, which is a toxin that can cause your dog to vomit or have diarrhea.

Onions are another vegetable to avoid. Onions, chives, and leeks are all a part of the same family of vegetables that can cause damage to the red blood cells of your dog, or cause them nausea and intestinal issues.

Rhubarb is another often unknown toxic vegetable. Eating it can cause calcium levels to drop in dogs, causing kidney failure or other medical problems.

Fruits That are Poisonous to Dogs

Most of the time dogs won't specifically beg for or try to eat most fruits and actually, most fruits don't pose significant problems to dogs, which is why most people don't know about the few that can cause health problems.

Some examples of bad fruits for dogs are:

  • Grapes

  • Raisins

  • Cherries

Grapes and raisins have been found to be particularly damaging to the health of dogs. Eating them can lead to kidney failure, for reasons experts aren't sure about. Even a small amount can cause problems with your dog so if your toddler is playing throw-the-grapes-at-the-dog, trash that fruit before your dog wins (or loses).

Cherries are another doggy danger because they contain cyanide which prevents oxygen from getting to your dog's cells. If you keep these foods in the house make sure to store them away from your dog's reach - like the produce drawer of your fridge.

If your dog consumes any of these fruits, look for signs of distress like:

  • Panting

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

Make sure to call your veterinarian if your dog is displaying any of these signs.

Medications to Keep Away From Your Dog

For the same reason that you need to keep your medication away from kids, you need to keep your meds stored high and away from your dog's reach.

Some of the most damaging human medications that a dog can consume are:

  • Anti-inflammatory or Pain Medication

  • Blood Pressure Medications

  • Antidepressants

Some pain medications can cause intestinal ulcers or kidney failure, while antidepressants can lead to vomiting, high blood pressure, or even seizures.

It doesn't take a lot of medication for your dog to have a reaction, either. Think about how small of a dose it takes to improve your health. If you suspect your dog has swallowed a pill off the bathroom floor, contact your veterinarian immediately, they'll be able to tell you what to do, what signs to look out for, and when to bring your dog in.

Your dog probably isn't going to go after your morning coffee, but anything containing caffeine poses a danger to your pup including those cookies with dark chocolate chips which contain 12 mg of caffeine per ounce. Yikes!
Your dog probably isn't going to go after your morning coffee, but anything containing caffeine poses a danger to your pup including those cookies with dark chocolate chips which contain 12 mg of caffeine per ounce. Yikes! | Source

Incecticides and Rodentcides

Anything you use to get rid of unwanted pests, like ant traps and rat poison can also (and obviously) be poisonous to your dog as well. Weirdly though, this includes the the flea and tick treatments prescribed by your vet to protect your dog. Used as directed, flea and tick treatments are fine, but if ingested they become dog poison.

So, if your dog has ingested any type of insecticide, call your vet ASAP.

Likewise, rodentcides are not good for dogs either. If a dog gets into something meant to lure and poison a rat or mouse, they can die from the lethal dose too.

If you have pest and rodent poisons in or near your home and your dog is exhibiting any of the following, they may have gotten into the poison:

  • Muscle Weakness

  • Impaired Movement

  • Muscle Tremors

  • Loss of Appetite

Keep in mind that your dog can also get secondary poisoning from eating a dead rat or mouse that has been killed with a rodentcide since the poisonis still in the rodent's body, which means it can still be passed on to your dog. Try to get rid of the intruders as quickly as possible!

Keep Laundry Supplies Up and Away

If your dog is helping you with the laundry, make sure it's just with the folding because basically everything else laundry-related is dangerous to man's best friend.

Laundry detergent and dryer sheets smell sweet to dogs, which tempts them to taste 'em. The thing is, if either of these are consumed even in small amounts they can cause minor issues with the digestive system, like excessive drooling or vomiting. If they're ingested in higher amounts they could cause some pretty serious problems like lesions, seizures, burning of the mouth, or other medical emergencies.

Keep the laundry room shut and keep detergents on a high shelf.

Also, talk with your dog about the dangers of the Tide Pod Challenge. Nothing that dangerous is worth being cool, you know?


One of the reasons being a dog would be really tough, besides having to go outside every time you have to poop, is that you wouldn't be able to have chocolate or coffee and you especially couldn't have chocolate flavored coffee. That's because these delicious delights contain caffeine, which dogs are especially sensitive to. We may not instinctively think of it is a toxic substance to our pets, but it is.

Fortunately, dogs don't generally clamor for coffee.
Still, make sure to keep these caffeinated things away from your dog:

  • Coffee

  • Tea

  • Caffeine Powder

  • Supplements with Caffeine

  • Soda

  • Anything Else You Have with Caffeine

Too much caffeine can cause some serious problems in dogs, like abnormal heart rhythms, tremors, seizures, or even death if the amount ingested is high enough.

If your dog has ingested caffeine, call your veterinarian and let them know what's up. They'll be able to guide you on your next steps.

This refreshing mealtime staple contains persin, a toxin that doesn't sit well with dogs, inducing diarrhea, vomiting and the potential for heart failure.
This refreshing mealtime staple contains persin, a toxin that doesn't sit well with dogs, inducing diarrhea, vomiting and the potential for heart failure. | Source

So now you know, for some reason dogs can eat their own poop and the world won't end, but give them a cookie and suddenly you have a real cause for concern.

Keep your vet's number in your phone and posted on the fridge where pet-sitters can access it quickly. And always, always keep the good stuff up and away from your furry friend so you can enjoy many years of barking at the UPS guy and panic-scrubbing dog drool off your pants before work.

© 2018 Kate Stroud


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