Safety Hazards For Dogs in the Home


Our pets are like family to us. Even though we do our very best to ensure they enjoy happy and healthy lives, there may be dangers that you aren’t even aware of lurking right there in your home. Therefore, we have put together a few common safety hazards for dogs in the home.

Safety Hazards for Dogs in the Home

The following are a few of the common safety hazards for dogs in the home:

Table Scraps and Human Food

While it’s safe for human consumption, this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s okay for our pets too. Most people know that chocolate isn’t healthy for dogs. It contains large amounts of caffeine and theobromine which dogs do not tolerate well. It can cause the following symptoms:

  • gastrointestinal upset
  • irregular heartbeats
  • abnormal blood pressure
  • tremors
  • seizures
  • death in extreme cases

In general, the darker the chocolate the more toxic. The toxic dose is calculated by factoring in your dog’s weight, the type of chocolate and how much chocolate was ingested. Please contact poison control or your veterinarian immediately if you believe your dog has ingested chocolate. In worst case scenarios, you dog may need to receive activated charcoal and IV fluids.

Chocolate tends to be one of the more common toxicoses but there are other foods to be aware of. The following are a few foods that can be toxic to pets:

  • Grapes and raisins can cause acute kidney failure
  • Macadamia nuts can cause GI upset, tremors and weakness
  • Avocado contains persin which causes vomiting and diarrhea in dogs
  • Sugarless gums contain xylitol which can cause dangerously low blood sugar levels

Signs of low blood sugar are weakness, loss of coordination, tremors and occasionally seizures. Several days after ingesting xylitol dogs can develop elevated liver enzymes and sometimes liver failure.

Compared to dog food, people food in general is richer, higher in fat and spicier. Dogs that indulge in people food tend to experience gastrointestinal upset or in severe cases can develop inflammation of the pancreas which usually requires hospitalization. Please keep people food away from your dog’s reach. If you have family or friends coming over inform your guests not to feed your dog and make the kitchen and dining areas off limits for your canine friend.

Household Cleaning Products

Ammonia is a common chemical in oven cleaners and window cleaning formulas. However, it is an irritant to the mucous membranes.

Chlorine is a toxic respiratory irritant that can damage pets’ skin, eyes or other membranes. It can be found in all-purpose cleaners, automatic dish washing detergents, tile scrubs, disinfecting wipes, toilet-bowl cleaners, laundry detergents and mildew removers. Chlorine is heavier than air and lands in low-lying areas where pets live.

Laundry Detergent residue left behind on clothes and pet blankets can be harmful to your pet, especially those that chew on their bedding. Toilet bowl cleaners may be ingested by pets who have the habit of drinking from the toilet bowl.

Many of these products are just as toxic for our pets as they are to us. Store all cleaning products away when not in use. If your dog has ingested a bleach-containing product or a drain cleaner, contact poison control with the product name and the approximate amount ingested and seek emergency veterinary care.


This is more of a problem with cats but sometimes puppies and even adult dogs will chew on plants when their stomach is bothering them. Some toxic plants to be aware of include the following:

  • Narcissus and hyacinth bulbs
  • oleander
  • rhododendrons
  • cyclamen
  • amaryllis
  • yew
  • chrysanthemum

Know the species you have in your garden, do some research to find out which are toxic and which are safe and try to only plant non-toxic varieties of plants. If you’re not sure whether your plants are safe, keep your dog out of the garden and watch him around houseplants.

Human Pharmaceuticals

This one might seem like a no-brainer to most pet owners, but did you know that even  medications and over the counter drugs meant for humans can be potentially harmful to your pet if ingested?

Ibuprofen and acetaminophen are toxic and should never be given to your pet. Never give your pet over the counter medication without first discussing it with your veterinarian.

Additionally, keep your prescription pills out of reach. The bottles may be child proof but they certainly aren’t dog proof. Don’t leave pills lying around on nightstands or on top of counters. If possible take pills in the bathroom with the door closed. This way, if you accidentally drop a pill your pet doesn’t have access to it. If your pet does get into your pills contact poison control with the drug name and approximate number of tablets they ate in order to determine what treatment your pet may need.

If any of the above should occur and your pet experiences an adverse reaction, call our office immediately. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff at All Pets Veterinary Medical Center will be happy to assist you.

One thought on “Safety Hazards For Dogs in the Home”

  1. Might I add: xylitol, the “sugar” in many anti-caries chewing gums. Spill a bottle on the floor and your dog may die within hours! (If you’re not fast enough.) Grapes … dogs can die from e.g. the left-overs that farmers after pressing the juice from the grapes redistribute in their vineyards, but equally your dog can die from too many grapes found in the home. And cats will die from pyrethroids in fly killers which, though, can also be in flee treatment for you DOG – we therefore always bought the cat-safe variant to treat the dog so as not to ever be able to mix it up.

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