Guns, knives, and scissors might assault your mind if you’re asked to fire off a list of dangerous household items. Dog lovers, however, have a totally different inventory of hazards to grapple with regarding canine care. Safety-proofing the house for your four-legged friend begins with identifying the dangers, then doing things differently to protect your pooch.
Let’s start in the kitchen and feed our minds with a baker’s dozen of dangerous dog don’ts:
- Chocolate tops the food warnings, as caffeine and theobromine cause toxicosis and may bring seizures and death. Dark chocolate and cooking chocolate rank highest in harm.
- Coffee has caffeine too, so the toxic danger is an equal issue. What gets you up in the morning may seriously bring your dog down.
- Grapes sound like a great snack, except for the acute renal failure your dog might incur. Your kidneys won’t fail, but theirs might. Raisins are really just dried grapes, so they count too.
- Macadamia nuts are particularly poisonous to dogs, and it’s easy to forget if they’re in cookies and snacks you might be tempted to share.
- Onions kill canine blood cells and resulting Heinz Body Anemia can be life-threatening. Onion powder in food is enough to do this, so attention to ingredients is crucial.
- Garlic isn’t as dangerous as onions, and small amounts may even appear in some dog foods, but in a larger quantity, it’s just as damaging.
- Alcohol can cause the same liver and kidney damage it does to humans; it can also cause acidosis in your dog and end in cardiac arrest.
- Avocados fall into dispute by dog owners, but even if the persin in avocados isn’t harmful to your dog, that big center seed is a choking hazard.
- Chicken bones can splinter and do all sorts of harm. In fact, cooked bones of any kind may be brittle and hazardous.
- Raw meat thrown to the dog is something you see in the movies, but our domesticated dogs aren’t wild anymore, and some are susceptible to salmonella and other bacterial poisonings.
With food hazards, be sure to reassess your kitchen
Do you keep dog-dangerous foods in low places, exposed, easily accessible? It’s probably time to ensure food is kept high and in proper containers to safeguard your pooch.
If you have parties or events where food sits out for human consumption, it needs to be high enough to keep your dog from temptation.
This could mean changes for holidays, but also for your average dinner routine. Make sure guests know your house rules before caving to those pleading dog eyes and feeding them something you’ll all regret.
Pharmaceutical danger zones
Moving to where we keep the pills, be equally careful about the medicines your dog might ingest.
Human pharmaceuticals like pain relievers might benefit bipeds, but our four-legged friends are truly a different animal. Acetaminophen in Tylenol and other drugs may interfere with oxygen flow or do irreparable harm to the liver. Never use them, or any human medication, for dogs without veterinary consultation and direction.
- Veterinary pharmaceuticals may be prescribed for your pet, but that doesn’t mean they can’t overdose like we do on drugs. Oral doses are often flavored and hence attractive: if your dog finds the stash they might gobble it down. The use or dose for one size, breed, or species might not be fit for yours, so don’t borrow or take the drugs meant for another animal.
Maybe you used to shrug it off when the occasional pill slipped your grip and tumbled out of sight to the floor, but as a pet parent, you no longer have that luxury.
Expect your curious canine will find whatever you drop, and never leave open medication uncapped or sealed. Make sure anything that might be in reach of your dog is in an unassailable container.
Any dog medication that smells good should be kept far out of reach.
Whether it’s licking their paw pads or a puddle, these eight dangers could devastate your dog if you don’t take proper precaution.
- Insecticides that might be keeping the insect population down may seriously bug your dog. Even if the bait used in ant and roach traps might not be toxic, the traps themselves might be swallowed and cause choking. Snail, slug, and fly poisons may also be dangerous.
- Rodenticides use attractants that might also intrigue your canine companion, and the anticoagulants or phosphorus side effects meant to quell rat infestation can have devastating consequences for your dog.
- Cleaning products like bleach, window cleaners, and bathroom cleaners are often kept in low places your dog might get into. Even if a human child isn’t in residence, your quadruped might make the same childish mistakes.
- Heavy metals like lead and zinc can be toxic; paint chips, pennies, and other household items that find their way into a dog’s stomach may mean medical issues.
- Fertilizer may not smell like food to you, but your dog might sniff out a feast that unfortunately includes a cocktail of phosphorus and nitrogen with chemicals for insect and weed problems. Cocoa mulch combines the dangers of fertilizer and chocolate.
- Detergents that keep your laundry clean may have ulcerous and fatal consequences for your dog.
- Antifreeze smells so sweet your dog might literally be dying to drink it.
- De-icers that deal with snow and slick driveways wind up on paws, and if those are licked, it can lead to poisoning.
For indoor storage of these and similar items with chemical risks, love your dog like you’d love a baby. Childproof cabinets containing any of these items so they’re impervious to the exploratory impulses of your pet.
Follow the instructions for bug and rodent traps and find places where they’re effective but away from dog discovery.
Check the garage not only for where you keep things like antifreeze, but that spillage or leaks aren’t leaving dangerous deposits on the floor.
Other odds and ends
These last five cover chewables that might have more bite than your dog’s bark.
- Batteries might keep electronics going and going, but they won’t energize your pet. Mouth ulcers, throat and stomach issues can result from the acid.
- Toys with small parts might be great for older children, but dog toys are specific so that pieces aren’t swallowed or lodged in the throat. Balls and other playtime pieces that aren’t made for dogs—and your dog’s size—can be deadly.
- Fabric softener sheets might offer a tempting secondary use for controlling pet hair, but chemicals in them aren’t healthy for your dog. They may also like the smell and want to play with them like toys, but it isn’t wise.
- Plants may add an attractive quality to your home, but that beautiful smell or texture may tempt your pooch to lick or nibble. Check out this roundup of the 11 most poisonous plants for dogs.
- Rawhide dog chews might seem crazy to consider dangerous, but they can host bacteria like Salmonella, which isn’t good for either of you. Monitor the storage, handout, use, and life of chews.
The dangers don’t stop there, and it’s one of the sobering things about being a dog lover. Other tips to avoid these and other dangers include:
- Use a Care Sheet and Safety Checklist.
- Prep a pet first-aid kit for your home to be ready for emergencies you can handle.
- If you think your dog has ingested something poisonous, the ASPCA has a 24-hour poison control hotline.
Your adorable friend offers love and affection, and a big part of your loving response is mindful protection.
The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional veterinary help.