6 Common (and Dangerous) Household Toxins for Dogs

Variety of fruit, chocolate, and vegetables that are toxic to dogs in bowls on a wooden table.

There are so many common household toxins for your dog.

These are things that we use all the time.

From cleaning products to houseplants to foods… it can be hard to know what’s dangerous.  And we need to be vigilant.

It’s critical that every dog parent know what is toxic and how to prevent their dog from getting into it.

So, today, I have the Top 6 most common household toxins for dogs.

And I’ll talk about how to store them away to keep your dog safe. Here is a list of toxins for dogs.

Household Cleaners Toxic to Dogs

First, let’s talk about household cleaners.  Unfortunately, some of the best cleaners for our homes are extremely toxic to our pets.  Frankly, they’re toxic to us, too.

Most household cleaners are toxic to dogs, especially if they open them and ingest them. So it’s a good idea to store them safely.

And many people think it’s simple to keep your dog safe by keeping cleaners stored where your dog cannot access them.

But many of us have pups who rival Houdini.  They can get out of (or into) anywhere. 

Storing Toxic Cleaning Products for Dogs

Colorful Household cleaners in a bucket on a kitchen table

These dogs aren’t stopped by a simple cabinet door between them and those smelly products.  For our aspiring magician Pups, there are a few approaches.

The simplest idea is to use toddler proofing items to lock cabinets and closets.  Since the Pup lacks an opposable thumb, they usually cannot past these locks.

Now, some of us have dogs who are smarter than we are – for them, even child-proofing tools won’t work.  That’s when it’s time to put things up high.

One friend had to combine tactics! 

She had to keep all cleaning product on the top shelf of a locked closet that had not just the hook and eye, but also those covers used to toddler proof door knobs.

And really, what she did was buy time.  It wasn’t that Sarge “couldn’t” get to them, it’s that the layers and the layered obstacles took him all day to break through.

You might also want to keep your dog in another room when you’re using one of these cleaners.  They are far more susceptible to the fumes than we are.

Let the mists settle before allowing your dog back into the room. 

Can Bleach Hurt My Dog?

Clorox bleach displayed on a grocery store shelf

The answer is yes. Bleach can hurt your dog if you let them be exposed to it.

If you use bleach or another toxic to kill germs on counters or bathrooms, be sure to rinse where you wash.  This will wipe up the toxic residue and keep your dog from accidentally ingesting it.

You even need to rinse floors when you wash them because the residues get on paws and pups lick their paws!!

Really want to simplify your cleaning routine? 

Switch to natural cleaners like white vinegar and baking soda.  Tons of sites will tell you how to clean ANYTHING with just these two products.

Foods that are Toxic to Dogs

If you’ve been following us long, you know that many foods are toxic to our pups.

In fact, some of our favorites can make our dogs Very Ill or WORSE!!!

Chocolate Theobromine Poisoning

Broken chocolate bar and cocoa powder on a dark wooden surface

If you’re like me, you LOVE chocolate. For me, the darker the chocolate, the better!

Ask anyone focusing on a healthy diet, and you’ll find out that dark chocolate is better for you.

But the opposite is true for your dog.

The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is to your dog.

Chocolate contains a compound called theobromine, a relative of caffeine. And the darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains.

This is why some people say that their dog got hold of the box chocolate and never hurt them.

This is why some people say that their dog got hold of the box chocolate and never hurt them.The chances are high that the chocolate they got was milk chocolate. Milk chocolate contains the lowest amount of theobromine, other than maybe white chocolate.

Can Dogs Eat White Chocolate?

Squares of white chocolate on dark brown wood with white chocolate shavings

It’s unlikely that white chocolate will poison your dog because it contains such tiny amounts of theobromine, but it’s high in fat and sugar so it’s not a good idea to give it to your dog.

Of course, I don’t consider white chocolate to be chocolate. It simply cocoa butter with some vanilla and sugar in it. LOL

Dogs – Xylitol Poisoning

3 birch logs and leaves with a scoop full of xylitol sweetner

Another compound frequent readers will know about the xylitol.

Xylitol is a sweetener that is extremely dangerous to dogs. It can be dangerous, even in very small amounts. It causes a life-threatening drop in blood sugar and can even cause liver failure.

You can find xylitol in a lot of gums and your pups beloved peanut butter (depending on the brand).

This is why I nearly always recommend all-natural peanut butter if you’re going to feed it to your dog.

Peanut Butter Xylitol Alert

a spoon full of peanut butter on a white background

Many commercial peanut butters use xylitol as a sweetener to cut sugar.

And many pet parents aren’t aware that xylitol is in their favorite brand.

You need to be vigilant about the ingredients every single time you purchase because brands often switch ingredients without telling us.

Just because it was safe last week when you bought it doesn’t mean it is this week.

The good news is that most brands also make an all-natural version now. So, you can stick to your favorite brand, but switch to an all-natural version.

Can’t give up your favorite brand? Then buy a jar of all-natural that is reserved just for your dog. It’s probably the easiest thing to do.

Dogs and Grapes – Danger

dog with its nose pushed up through a pile of purple and green grapes

Another food you want to keep away from your dog is anything grape.

Raisins and grapes are possibly the most toxic food to dogs.

Eating even one raisin can cause kidney failure in some small dogs.

So, if you have a toddler, supervise them when they snack on grapes.  I know many toddlers who love to “share” their snacks with the pups!

And I know several pups who don’t give the toddler a choice!  LOL

Dogs and Garlic Toxicity

Bulbs of garlic on a wooden bowl surrounded by cloves of garlic and a garlic press

You should also be careful about garlic and onions.

These are not highly toxic, but in large amounts can kill your dog’s red blood cells. If you happen to have garlic in something your dog eats, it is probably not a problem.

But call your vet if your dog eats a clove of garlic or onion.

Some general precautions are to not give your dog much in the way of high-fat, salty, or sugary foods.

A little bit here and there won’t hurt them. But you don’t want their diet to be high in these things. Your dog’s metabolism cannot process fat, salt, and sugar in large quantities.

Dogs are also not equipped to process much dairy, so keep this limited.

You should also avoid giving your dog sushi because they are more susceptible to the parasites that may be present.

Guacamole and anything with avocado should be kept away from your dog. There is a compound called persin found in avocados that is toxic to dogs.

Persin is in the leaves and seeds, bark and fruit — you want to be sure that you keep your dog away from any avocado plant, you might be going too.

In general, you would keep your dog away from seeds pits from fruit, apple cores, and alcohol. 

There are compounds in each of these that are dangerous to your dog. While a little may not do much damage, better safe than sorry.

Medications and Dogs

Pills spilled from a pill bottle with other medication bottles in the background

Always keep medications away from your dog. Even medications that come from your veterinarian should be kept away, so your dog does not overdose.

Antidepressants and Dogs

Antidepressants can cause neurological problems in dogs.

These are drugs such as Prozac, Paxil, Celexa, and others.

They can cause a loss of coordination, sedation, agitation, tremors, and even seizures.

Amphetamine Toxicity – Dogs

Amphetamine drugs for ADD and ADHD can cause similar problems.

These are medications like Adderall and Concerta. This class of drugs causes tremors and seizures, plus it can elevate your dog’s body temperature and cause heart problems — even in small doses.

Over-the-counter medications

drug store shelves full of over the counter medication

Over-the-counter medications like Tylenol and cough and cold medications are also dangerous.

They can cause simple problems like dry eye or life-threatening problems like severe liver failure.

For our pet parents who have cats, just one Tylenol can be deadly.

NSAIDs and Dogs

bottle of Ibuprofen on its side with pills spilling out.

NSAIDs like ibuprofen and naproxen and cause intestinal and stomach ulcers as well as kidney failure.

Unless your veterinarian specifically tells you to give your dog one of these compounds, don’t let them have it. And even then, dose exactly as your veterinarian instructs.

You should also be sure that you follow the instructions exactly on medications your veterinarian prescribes.

Just like in humans, taking medication more than prescribed can cause serious side effects that can be life-threatening.

So, if your dog happens to get hold of his payments, don’t breathe a sigh of relief because their dog approved, call your vet immediately.

Household Plants

overhead view of hands holding a small potted plant

It’s common for animal lovers also to be plant lovers. But a lot of the plants that grow well in our household are not pet-friendly.

If you keep aloe in the house as I do, that’s another one you want to keep up high where your dog can get it.

Aloe – Toxic for Dogs

3 aloe plants side by side

Aloe can cause diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, depression, and ultimately kidney failure.

People who grow herbs in the house need to be careful that their dog does not get hold of their garlic. Just like when we went over foods, you don’t want the dog to the plant either.

If you have a Christmas cactus, you want to be sure that it stays up high.

Like everything else that is toxic to dog it can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Clematis – Toxic to Dogs

Clematis growing on an iron fence

Do you grow clematis in the house?

If you do, be sure that your dog does not show on the vines. One sign to be excessive drool. After that, you could be doing with diarrhea and vomiting.

A good rule of thumb is just to keep every houseplant up where your dog can’t reach it. Use hooks to hang them from the wall or ceiling. Be sure that your dog can’t climb up and get hold of them.

Some dogs seem to levitate with their ability to climb up and get into things that you think are out of reach. If you have a Houdini, you want to be vigilant about where you put your plans.

Insecticides & Pest Control

canned Insecticides being sprayed on outdoor plants

For anyone who deals with insecticides to keep ants and other things away from their house, you probably don’t keep these in your home.

Most people keep these things in the garage.

But they may forget to keep their dog out of the garage.

Mosquito and bee repellents and rodent repellents can all be toxic. Mouse and roach traps are lined with toxins.

If you use it to kill bugs or rodents, odds are it is also dangerous to your dog.

Be sure to keep it locked away in a cabinet up high in your garage.

And keep your dog out of there you can.

Fertilizers & Lawn Care

Fertilizers spreader spraying lawn with fertilizer.

The same thing goes for fertilizers and weed killers you use in your yard.

Very few of these are safe to be eaten.

In fact, many fertilizers tell you to keep your dogs off your yard for a certain period after using them.

This is because the fertilizer gets onto their paws, and then the dogs ingested when they lick their paws.

The key is to read the instructions carefully. If there is anything that says to keep it away from your dog, I’d listen.

Even organic fertilizers can be dangerous to your dog.

Some of these organic fertilizers may contain bone meal, blood meal, feather meal, and iron. In small quantities. These are things your dog would normally eat in the wild.

But the amounts found in fertilizer are way more than is safe for your dogs.

Getting too much of any of these can cause pancreatitis, or it could create what is called a concretion in the stomach.

A concretion is a solid mass that can form inside the body when it accumulates too much of something.

A kidney stone would be a good example of a concretion.

Bone meal, feather meal, and the others listed all contain high concentrations of calcium, which can cause kidney stones and other concretions.

So, if you’re going to use organic products — which I highly encourage — you still want to keep your dog out of that area for a few days.

Brown dog behind a green fence

If you do the backyard, keep your dog in the front yard until the fertilizer has time to break down a little.

Then switch.

And absolutely keep these things out of your dogs reach between uses.

So, there you have it. The six most common household toxins for your dog.

This post is kind of a bummer – no one wants to think about their dog getting sick.

But with a little planning and with a little care, you can make sure that your dog never has to cope with this. And after all, we want our dogs to be with us for a good long time.

I hope this helps.

If you know of any toxins I didn’t cover here, please let me know in the comments.

Click here for information health & safety, read Heartworm Prevention or Pup Finance – Be Prepared for Emergencies.

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Hi! My name is Heather Hallman. I’m the mother of two beautiful girls and a MAJOR passionate pet parent. I can hardly wait to bring you the BEST resources and information that I've found for our fur-babies.