People who have children usually know enough to child-proof their home, keeping medications, household cleansers and other poisonous items away from their toddlers. But how many of us think to do the same for our pets? You might be surprised to know that there are hundreds of thousands of pets poisoned by perfectly ordinary household substances in any given year. Many of them are perfectly harmless to humans, and some even to children. But they can be deadly if ingested by dogs.
The following are nine common household items that can kill your dog.
1. Human Medications
If you are on anti-depressants, keep them out of reach of your dog. Many anti-depressants can cause vomiting, seizures, and even death. Even ordinary pain-killers can be lethal. An aspirin or two will not likely kill your dog, but a single acetaminophen tablet could. Ibuprofen can cause kidney failure. A good rule of thumb is simply to keep all medications, whether prescription or over-the-counter, away from your dog.
2. Flea and Tick Repellent
“What?” you are saying. “Flea and tick repellent protects my dog!” Well, yes, sometimes. But if a dog decides, for example, that a flea collar would make a good chew toy, that could be lethal. Small dogs are especially vulnerable.
3. Human Food
Chocolate, avocadoes, onions, tomatoes, grapes, macadamia nuts… the list goes on. And sometimes, all it takes is a very small amount to cause kidney failure, or even death. As a general rule of thumb, give nothing other than dog food or doggie treats. You’re just going to have to learn to resist those sad brown eyes if you’re going to keep your dog safe. Even foods that you might think are okay can often contain additives that could be lethal.
You might know that antifreeze is poisonous to dogs, and you might be very vigilant about making sure that your car radiator doesn’t leak. But did you know that antifreeze can even be present in that pretty blue stuff that you use to keep your toilet bowl clean? Look, everyone wants a nice clean toilet, but if you’re using a “by the flush” bowl cleaner, make sure that the label tells you it is safe for pets.
House and yard plants are pretty, but they’re not always pet-friendly. Many can cause vomiting, diarrhea, kidney or liver failure, heart damage, and even death. Some of the more lethal plants include azaleas, rhododendrons, daffodils, tulips and sago palms.
This can cause stomach upset at best, and death at worst.
Lead can be present in paint, batteries, and some types of flooring. If ingested, your pet could develop neurological and gastrointestinal problems, and could even die.
Virtually all chemical lawn and garden fertilizers can be lethal to pets. Manure is a wonderful fertilizer. Your dog’s breath won’t smell great if he ingests it, but it definitely won’t kill him or even make him all that sick.
I can’t even begin to tell you how dangerous rat and mouse poisons can be to your dog. In rodents, they essentially liquefy the digestive tract, and the rodent dies a horrible death. The same thing could happen to your dog if he ingests rodent poison, or even if he eats a rodent that has died after ingesting the poison.
My take on rodenticides is simply this – don’t use them. There are other ways to get rid of rats and mice, like the OUTXPRO Ultrasonic Electromagnetic Pest Control Repeller with Nightlight. It works against mice and rats and even insects, by emitting electromagnetic and ultrasound waves that make pests so uncomfortable that they will exit your home and not come back. It ordinarily lists at $39.95, but you can buy it now at Amazon for $17.90. Most of the time, one is all you need, unless you have a very large house. To be on the safe side, you could order three and get free shipping.
If You Suspect Poisoning
If you think that your dog may have been poisoned, you are going to have to act quickly. Time is of the essence. Remain calm. If you think you know what might have caused the poisoning, take it with you to the vet. If the dog has thrown up, collect some of the vomitus so your vet can analyze it.
Of course prevention is always better than a cure, so keep all medications secured, and if you drop a pill, find it before your dog does. Follow all guidelines on products designed to keep your dog free of flea and ticks. Don’t give people food to your dog, but if you absolutely must, ask your vet what human treats are okay for your dog. Make sure chemicals and cleaners are kept secure – and never assume that your dog can’t open a cupboard door.
The Final Word
You don’t want to see how a poisoned dog dies. And even if death isn’t the result, you also don’t want to see how your dog is going to suffer while the vet struggles to save his life if he’s ingested something he shouldn’t have. Recovering from poisoning can take a long time, and often, the dog is never quite the same. So please, dog-proof your house the same way you would child-proof it.
I’ve heard so many people say, “My dog is my child,” and I’ve seen them say it while smiling at the dog as he plays next to a cabinet under the sink that holds abrasive cleansers, bleach, window cleaner, rat poison and just about every other toxic household item you could care to name. Might as well just toss the dog a handful of grapes for good measure.
Okay, I probably didn’t need to add that last bit. But seriously, please, if you love your dog, and I know you do or else you wouldn’t be reading this, take measures to poison-proof your home so that he can be your loving companion for many years to come.