Dog Toxins:
Protect Your Dog
from Poisoning

Dog toxins are everywhere. Some are obvious, but many are not. Many common foods we humans enjoy, such as grapes, look innocent enough, but don’t let that fool you. Like so many other foods we eat every day, grapes and dogs are a deadly combination.

pet toxins sad dog

Substances that are toxic to our dogs and other pets lurk in many forms and are often present throughout our homes – from our medicine cabinets to our refrigerators and pantries to our garages and our gardens.

Is Your Home Toxic?
Every day we are bombarded by mass-marketers telling us that in order to keep our homes germ-free, our lawns looking green and our bodies healthy, we must use their products. We watch commercials with cheery moms spraying their children’s toys and their pets’ beds with toxic aerosols – all in the name of keeping their families’ "healthy".

If you haven’t done so already, try taking an inventory of the products you use on a regular basis. Do they say “non-toxic” or do they have labels with frightening warnings such as “health hazard”, “harmful if swallowed”, “skin irritant”, “contact a poison control center immediately”, “keep away from children and pets” and other disclaimers to indemnify the manufacturer in case they cause harm to you or your family?

When it Comes to Toxins, Curiosity can Kill.
Just like children, dogs are curious and can easily get into things that are harmful to them. As responsible dog guardians, it is up to us to be aware of substances that are toxic to our dogs (and other pets) and to take precautions to either eliminate them from our environments (the ideal solution) or to stow them securely away from our pets’ reach.

Although this site is called The Happy Dog Spot, when it comes to potential dog toxins, you want to make sure to avoid these dangerous substances around all of your four-legged family members.

In 2007, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center handled more than 130,000 pet poisoning cases.

The Most Common Household Toxins Involved in These Calls Were:

  • Prescription and over-the-counter-drugs
  • Insecticides and insect control products
  • Common household plants
  • Chemical bait products and
  • Common household cleaners

Visit our pet poison control page for what to do if your pet is poisoned.

According to VPI Pet Insurance, the nation’s oldest and largest pet insurer, some of the most commonly treated pet toxins are:

  • Acetaminophen
  • Ibuprofen
  • Plants, particularly lilies
  • Human food
  • Household cleaners
  • Antifreeze
  • Over-the-counter flea treatment
  • Pesticides

Some Dog Toxins Can be Surprising.
Even if you’ve been a long-time dog guardian, you might be surprised to hear about some of the most common dog toxins (and other pet toxins) in your home.

For instance, did you know that avocados are toxic for pets? That’s right. Avocados contain a fungicidal toxin known as “persin”. Although it is generally harmless to humans, persin is toxic to animals. Avocados or foods containing avocado should never be fed to any animal.

To find out more about which foods are potentially harmful to your dog, read about toxic foods for dogs.

Likewise, many common household plants are dog toxins. Some of these “budding poisons” are even common fixtures at the holiday season.

dog toxins dog wearing Santa Claus hat

Mistletoe, for example, is a poisonous plant that causes vomiting and diarrhea, difficulty breathing, collapse, erratic behavior, hallucinations and even death.

Pine needles in Christmas trees are also toxic, and can cause oral irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, trembling and posterior weakness. Definitely don't let your dogs or other pets lick the Christmas tree water or chew on the needles.

For more information, read our article on poisonous plants for dogs.

Other nasty dog toxins just waiting to cause problems are those household cleaners most of us use on a daily basis. I have eliminated all toxic cleaners from my home, for the health and safety of Chase as well as my husband and myself.

As I said before, why on earth would I want to slather my home with toxic chemicals that claim to get it “clean” and “sanitized”?

Today There are More Non-Toxic Choices than Ever.
It used to be that if you wanted to only use non-toxic household cleaners, you either had to make them yourself or try to find them online from some boutique purveyor. And even if you could find them, they didn’t do a very good cleaning job.Thankfully, this is no longer the case.

Many of the major retailers and supermarket chains now carry non-toxic cleaning alternatives. One of my favorites is Method, a non-toxic line of cleaners for everything from stainless steel appliances and granite countertops to floors, as well as non-toxic furniture polish and dishwashing detergent (can you believe that most dishwasher detergents are toxic?). Method products smell great, are effective and are labeled as “non-toxic” right on the packaging.

I’d rather clean with products like these than ones with words like “hazard”, “danger”, “harmful if swallowed” or that have a skull and crossbones on them any day! Of course, we need to be careful even with products that are labeled “non-toxic”, but I feel much better using these around my house any day. After all, what dog doesn’t occasionally lick the floor or furniture?

What to do if Your Pet has Ingested a Toxin.
If you feel that your dog, cat or other animal has ingested a toxin, you should immediately contact a pet poison control center, such as the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center .

The Animal Poison Control Center is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Their phone number is 888-426-4435. There is a $60 fee for this service.

Another animal poison control resource is the Pet Poison Helpline . The Pet Poison Helpline is a 24-hour service available throughout North America for pet owners and veterinary professionals who require assistance with treating a potentially poisoned pet.

The phone number for the Pet Poison Helpline is 800-213-6680.

There is a $35 per incident fee, payable by credit card. This fee covers the initial consultation as well as all follow up calls associated with the management of the case.

Be sure to visit all of our pages on dog toxins, as well as our pet poison control page, with advice from the ASPCA's Poison Control Center on what to do if your pet is poisoned.

Dog toxins are a serious – and potentially deadly – hazard. To prevent an unnecessary tragedy, be sure to do your research, and to keep your pets away from any potentially dangerous chemicals, medications, plants, foods or any other possibly toxic substances.

Your pet will thank you for it!

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Quick Links:
Toxic Foods for Dogs
Grapes and Dogs
Dogs and Onions
Poisonous Plants for Dogs
Pet Poison Control

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