What Poisons Lurk in Your Home and Yard?

by Liam Crowe
CEO and Master Dog Behavioral Therapist
Bark Busters USA

Since dogs, especially young dogs, are naturally curious creatures, it is important that we know and remain vigilant about potential poisons that our inquisitive pooches may find and ingest.

Not only is it important to take preventative measures with toxic materials found both inside and outside the home, but it is also vital to be able to recognize the signs indicating a dog has ingested something poisonous and know what actions to take.

Dogs and Poisons Safety Tips: 

1. Toxic foods include chocolate, avocado, onions and garlic, raisins and grapes, alcoholic drinks, caffeinated beverages, macadamia nuts, and chewing gum with xylitol. 

2. Many plants (even dead or dried) are toxic to pets. In some cases, only certain parts of the plant are dangerous (leaves, fruit, seeds). Be aware of the toxic plants that grow in your home and surroundings (both cultivated and wild), and keep your pets away from them or remove them entirely. 

3. Other toxins found outside include mushrooms and garden mulch

4. Keep your pets off lawns or gardens that have been treated with fertilizers, herbicides or insecticides. If your dog has come in contact with treated lawns or has walked on snow or ice treated with ice-melt, wipe his feet clean as soon as you get home to avoid the possibility of him licking his paws and ingesting the poison. Store all chemicals in cabinets and other places your pet can’t reach. 

5. Real danger to pets continues from antifreeze/coolant, even though animal-friendly products are now available (usually made with propylene glycol, not ethylene glycol). Always wipe up antifreeze leaks or spills of any size. Attracted to the sweet taste, pets can die from kidney failure if they ingest even a small amount of this very toxic material. 

6. Store poisonous baits to rid your home of pests (rodents, snails, insects, etc.) in places that your pooch cannot access. Like antifreeze, some baits smell sweet but are very toxic to pets, causing severe internal bleeding. 

7. Other household items poisonous to pets include household cleaners (the fumes can be noxious) and heavy metals such as lead, found in paint chips and linoleum. 

8. Consult with your veterinarian before giving your dog any vitamin, herbal supplement or medication made for humans. Even small doses of medications of any kind—whether for humans or pets—can be lethal to pets. Keep all medicines well out of your dog’s reach.

Symptoms of poisoning (toxicity) in your pet can include:

- Vomiting/upset stomach 
- Labored OR shallow breathing 
- Drooling 
- Increased OR decreased heart rate 
- Fever 
- Hyperactivity OR sluggishness/lethargy
- Increased thirst OR lack of thirst or hunger
- Dilated pupils 
- Stumbling or staggering
- Seizures or tremors
- Loss of consciousness

If you think your dog has ingested a dangerous substance, contact your veterinarian or local animal hospital immediately. If you are advised to bring the dog into the clinic, be sure to take along the packaging of the item or a sample of the plant you think your dog may have eaten. This will help the veterinarian to know how best to treat your pet.

Also consult with your veterinarian for a detailed list of all potentially poisonous items and substances found around your home.


Liam Crowe is CEO of Bark Busters and a master dog behavioral therapist. Bark Busters, the world’s largest dog trainingcompany, has trained more than 400,000 dogs worldwide using its all-natural, dog-friendly methods. Bark Busters training is the only service of its kind that offers a written lifetime guarantee. With hundreds of offices in 41 states and 10 countries, Bark Busters is continuing its mission to enhance the human-canine relationship and reduce the possibility of maltreatment, abandonment, and euthanasia of companion dogs. For more details, call 1-877-500-BARK (2275) or visitwww.BarkBusters.com to find a dog trainer in your area, complete a Dog Behavior Quiz, or learn about becoming a Bark Busters franchise owner.

© Copyright 2009 Bark Busters USA, All Rights Reserved

This feature may not be reproduced or distributed electronically, in print or otherwise without the written permission of SPCA International and Bark Busters USA.

This SPCA International article is intended to help further your understanding of your animal's needs. We understand yourunique bond with your pet and it is our pleasure to help you look after its welfare. Thanks to your continued support, SPCA International is able to provide you and countless others with important news regarding the safety of your pets. Thank you again for your donations – every little bit helps!

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