Common Foods And Household Items That Are Poisonous To Dogs

Keep your dog safe 🤢

dog under a blanket with onions and chocolate

It can be really scary if your dog suddenly starts acting strange or seems like he’s sick, especially if you don’t know what’s causing it or how to help.

That’s why it’s important to know what types of things are poisonous to dogs, the symptoms of poisoning in dogs and what you should do if your dog eats something toxic.

To help you out (and to keep your pup safe), The Dodo created this guide that includes all the information you need to know about poisoning in dogs.

Foods poisonous to dogs

There are lots of popular human foods that are poisonous to dogs. You might already know some of them (most people are aware that dogs shouldn’t eat chocolate, for example), but other foods aren’t so obvious.

“Chocolate, onions, grapes and raisins, alcohol, sugar-free gum (with xylitol as the sugar substitute) and high-fat foods are the ones that I see issues with most commonly,” Dr. Travis Davison, a veterinarian at Bluffton Veterinary Hospital in South Carolina, told The Dodo.

Some common foods that are poisonous to dogs include:

If you’re ever unsure if a food is toxic to your dog, you can visit the ASPCA’s poison control site to look it up.

Plants poisonous to dogs

It’s not uncommon for a dog to try to take a bite out of anything that seems like food — or even things that don’t seem like food — and plants are no exception. But some plants are particularly dangerous for dogs.

If you’re planning to add some plants to your home or garden, use this list as a starting point to know what to avoid.

Here are some common house plants and outdoor plants that are poisonous for dogs:

  • Sago palms
  • Poinsettias
  • Lilies
  • Dieffenbachia
  • Hydrangeas
  • Ivy
  • Tomato plants
  • Aloe
  • Marijuana plants
  • Snake plants (also called mother-in-law’s tongue)
  • Poison ivy

Flowers poisonous to dogs

There are certain kinds of flowers that are super poisonous to your dog and can cause serious damage or even death.

Some common flowers that are poisonous to dogs include:

  • Tulips
  • Azaleas
  • Easter lilies
  • Foxgloves
  • Stargazer lilies
  • Cyclamen
  • Oleanders
  • Tiger lilies
  • Daffodils

Keep in mind that these aren’t complete lists — to check if another flower or plant is poisonous for dogs, you can visit the ASPCA’s website.

Household items poisonous to dogs

Dogs can get food poisoning from eating household items, too, like trash or medications.

Some common household products that are poisonous to dogs include:

  • Human medications
  • Antifreeze
  • Fabric softener sheets
  • Pesticides
  • Lawn fertilizers
  • Weed killers
  • Moth balls
  • Rat poison
  • Paint
  • Bleach

Most of these items are harmful if humans eat them, too, so it should be easier to remember to keep them away from your dog.

And for a more complete list of household products that are toxic to dogs, you can visit the ASPCA website.

Dog poisoning symptoms

The symptoms of poisoning in dogs can vary depending on what your dog eats.

If your dog eats chocolate, for example, symptoms can include increased heart rate and hyperactivity, while symptoms of plant toxicity can include weakness and seizures.

According to Dr. Davison, poisoning symptoms can include “vomiting, diarrhea, not eating, lethargy, seizures or just odd behavior.”

There are some typical signs of poisoning in dogs, so you can watch out for these to know if your dog might have eaten something dangerous:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Drooling
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Hyperactivity
  • Lack of coordination
  • Mouth or skin irritation

If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your vet immediately.

What to do if your dog is poisoned

Call your vet as soon as you realize your dog ate something poisonous or if your dog’s showing signs of poisoning.

Three phone numbers you should also always keep on hand are the ASPCA poison control number (888-426-4435), the Pet Poison Helpline (855-764-7661) and your veterinarian’s number so you have them ready in case of emergency.

“Contact your vet ASAP,” Dr. Davison told The Dodo. “They may have you contact an animal poison control center (they will charge a fee, but it's worth it).”

It’s important to gather as much information as you can about what your dog ate, how much he ate and how long ago it was eaten to provide this info to your vet. The more information you have, the faster they can treat your dog, which in most cases will lead to a better outcome.

Treatment isn’t going to be the same in every poisoning case and will depend on your dog’s condition.

“Some things can be fixed very quickly and easily, [but] some require more intensive care — inducing vomiting, IV fluids, medications to manage symptoms, monitoring lab work for blood sugar/organ damage, etc.,” Dr. Davison said.

Dog poisoning treatments include:

  • Induced vomiting
  • IV fluids to flush the toxin out of your dog’s system
  • Laxatives
  • A stomach tube to remove any of the toxic substance
  • Activated charcoal to prevent absorption of the toxin
  • Surgery
  • Additional supportive treatment to control seizures, heart rate or pain

How to prevent poisoning in dogs

If you follow a few simple tips, you can help prevent your dog from eating something toxic. Here are some ways to keep your pup from eating something he shouldn’t:

  • Make sure that your garbage cans are covered so that your dog can’t get into them. The Dodo team likes the Simplehuman pet-proof trash can, which earned our Paw of Approval. You can get it from Amazon for $73.94.
  • Be aware of the types of foods that are toxic to dogs, and keep them away from your pup.
  • Try to avoid feeding your dog any human foods unless you’re positive they’re safe for dogs to eat (and even then, you should only feed them in moderation).
  • Keep dangerous items, such as household cleaning products or plants and flowers, out of your dog’s reach, and don’t plant them outside.
  • Wash your hands after touching raw meat, fish or eggs.
  • Don’t leave your dog alone for long periods of time, especially if he tends to get bored and tries to get into things he shouldn’t.

Hopefully your dog won’t eat anything poisonous, but if he does manage to eat something toxic, gather as much info as you can and contact your vet ASAP. If you take your dog to the vet as soon as you can, there’s a good chance your dog will be OK.

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