(Please note, this was written for a site pertaining to dogs and is currently waiting to be updated with hazards for other types of animals.)
This is not a complete list of all things toxic to your canine friends
but it does contain most of the more common threats. As with anything
you do, use your common sense and judgement to keep potentially harmful
things away from your dog, and if your dog SHOULD get to something that
you don't know is safe, get him to the vet as soon as possible. If you
know what your dog consumed, you can alternatively contact the ASPCA
Poison Control hotline (may be limited to US only, I don't know) for a
fee, at 888-426-4435.
Symptoms of poisoning are not limited to but include vomiting, lost
appetite, uncoordinated movements (staggering, stumbling around, unable
to stand perhaps), lethargy, pain, shock, seizures, abnormal breathing,
drooling/foaming at the mouth... the list goes on. Some poisons are
fast-acting and you will be rushing to the doctor's office right away,
but others can take days or even a week or so to actually cause
distress. You should watch your dog for signs of toxicity for at least
a couple weeks after ingesting the poison.
Symptoms of obstruction include vomiting or dry-heaving, lost appetite,
drooling, loose stool or tenesmus (struggling to eliminate), bloating
or abdominal pain, lethargy.
Common Hazards include:
Here is a list with a few more from the HSUS website:
- Chocolate- In addition to caffeine, chocolate contains a toxic
chemical called theobromine. The less sweet- or, the darker- the
chocolate, the more potent. Six squares of baking chocolate per 20 lbs
is considered lethal for canines. Milk chocolate is much less dangerous
but should not be given to dogs.
- Raisins- Raisins (and the grapes from which they are derived) are
also toxic to dogs, causing acute renal failure, though the actual
cause is unknown. Large quantities are generally required to cause a
reaction but sensitive dogs can be affected more easily.
- Fatty foods such as poultry trimmings, gravy, etc can cause GI
upset and should be avoided. Cooked turkey and chicken bones can
splinter. Actually, it's best to toss leftovers rather than give them
to your pets. Too much people food can give diarrhea. If you're tossing
those leftovers (or even aluminum foil from cooking or something like
that) in the trash can, secure it so they don't rummage for leftovers
- Poultry and other bones (cooked)- may splinter, cause a choking hazard or damage to the esophagus/intestines if swallowed.
- Onions in any form, or garlic (large quantities only)- contain sulfides and can cause hemolytic anemia.
- Nuts- macadamias are commonly found in cookies and other foods
around the holidays. While no nut is totally healthy for our pets,
macadamias- as few as 6 shelled nuts- can cause a loss of motor skills,
development of tumors, and other ill effects.
- Alcohol- just an ounce can put a small dog or cat into a coma!
- Coffee, soda- caffeine is a big no-no for your dog, and coffee beans should NOT be eaten
- Fried foods- grease and oil used to fry foods or that which is
extrapolated from fatty meats, etc, can cause immediate effects like
upset stomach and often diarrhea. Long term feeding (ie, a dog who eats
fatty/greasy table food nearly every day) can result in pancreatitis.
- Potatoes- the "eyes" and any green spots under the skin of potatoes
contain a toxin called solanine, which is harmful to many animals
including dogs (and people, btw!) Dogs can eat potatoes but make sure
there are no sprouts or green patches. Fried potatoes contain a lot of
grease and usually sodium, and so should be given in moderation only if
- Tomatoes- the leaves and stems from tomato plants contain a high
level of atropine, another toxin. Tomatoes themselves can also have
this chemical but in smaller amounts. The fruit itself contains
tomatine, which is similar to the solanine found in potatoes and you
guessed it- another toxin. The riper the tomato, the less atropine or
tomatine, but it's best to avoid the feeding of tomatoes to avoid a
reaction. Tomatoes contain a high level of citric acid which can cause
stomach upset and indigestion.
AROUND THE HOUSE:
Other human foods to keep away from pets include... yeast dough; coffee
grounds and beans; salt;... rhubarb leaves and stems; avocados (toxic
to birds, mice, rabbits, horses, cattle, and dairy goats); and anything
with mold growing on it
- Household cleaners and chemicals- unless actually stated on the
bottle that it is a non-toxic, water based solution that can be
ingested safely, assume that all your cleaners are unsafe. Keep your
pets off freshly mopped floors or dry the floors with towels, and rinse
his feet immediately if your dog or cat walks on them to avoid
ingestion through paw-cleaning later!
- Health Supplies- Even medication meant FOR your dog or cat may be
harmful if ingested (creams/ointments) or if ingested in large
quantities (overdose, pills). Many medications for humans are not safe
for dogs (aspirin, ibuprofen, cold medicine) and even vitamins in
excess dosages can cause toxic reaction. Dogs may find tubes of hand
cream, ointment, etc fun to chew and accidentally ingest the contents.
Just as with a child, keep them away, safe in a cabinet and out of
- Toothpaste/Dental floss: fluoride is toxic to dogs, and swallowed
dental floss can cause intestinal blockage or strangulation. Use only
toothpaste made for dogs when brushing their teeth.
- Over-the-counter flea/tick medications- use ONLY products for fleas
and ticks that have been prescribed by your veterinarian. Many dogs and
cats have become ill or died when given OTC drugs like Hartz, Zodiac,
and even Biospot. Pyrethrin and Permethrin are toxic insecticides that
work their way into your dog's bloodstream- do NOT use any product
listing them as an ingredient.
- Poisonous plants- mistletoe, rhubarb, diffenbachia, azalea, lilies, to name a few. See the links below for more:
OUTSIDE THE HOUSE:
- Antifreeze- ethylene glycol tastes sweet and attracts dogs and
cats but will kill if swallowed in even small amounts. Check your
vehicle for leaks, don't allow your cats or dogs to roam free where
they can contact antifreeze puddles, and consider using a propylene
glycol-based antifreeze that is safer if ingested (though still toxic
in larger doses.)
- De-icers- the "salt" used to melt ice can irritate your dog's feet
and contains toxins that your dog will lick off while cleaning his
feet. Clean your dog's feet after bringing him in for a walk in the
winter, try doggy boots that protect his precious pads, and use a
dog-safe de-icer around your home.
- Lawn chemicals/plant food- Can cause allergic reactions/irritation
when coming in contact with the skin, and can be ingested when your dog
licks it off his feet/legs/etc. Don't use lawn
chemicals/fertilizer/chemical plant food in the yard where your dog
- Mulch- some types of mulch especially cocoa mulch can be deadly if swallowed.
- Leaves- oak, red maple, locust, and several other trees have leaves
which can be poisonous if eaten. Some trees also have toxic bark. Check
the poisonous plants lists posted above if you have a dog who likes to
chew on sticks/bark/leaves in your yard.
NOT TOXIC, STILL DANGEROUS:
- String/rubber bands/twine/yarn, etc etc etc- Any of these
things, like dental floss mentioned above, can wrap around things in
the stomach and create a blockage or wrap around part of the intestinal
tract and strangle the tissue.
- Toys- baby and children's toys sometimes have small parts like eyes
or noses, strings, or other small pieces that can be a choking hazard.
Some are stuffed with poly "beans" instead of fiber fill. Even certain
dog toys have small parts that could be chewed off and swallowed or
squeakers that can be ripped out, and "rope" toys made of braided
threads can be shredded and the string ingested. Never allow your dog
to have a toy unsupervised that has any loose part, strings, or any
other danger. Instead, if leaving your dog alone use a heavy chew toy
like a Kong to keep him busy.
- Chew toys/bones- Never leave your dog unattended with raw bones,
rawhide, or any other "treat" of that kind. They are known choking
hazards and should only be given under direct supervision.
- Power cords- this goes without saying!
- Coins, batteries- both can cause obstruction of the intestinal
tract. Batteries, if punctured by the dog, contains potassium hydroxide
which is a corrosive agent that can burn the inside of the mouth,
esophagus, and stomach
This is by no means a complete list. When in doubt, just keep it away from your pets.
(c) Crystal Collins and Starfish To the sea Animal Rescue, 2009