The most common household toxicities that occur in dogs


The most common household toxicities that occur in dogs

Rat poison is one of the most common poisonings in dogs


Inevitably at some point your dog is going to get into something or eat something they shouldn’t. You may at first question whether or not they can even eat that and then there is going to be that moment of uncertainty in which you don’t know what you should do. Well, the first thing you should do is call your veterinarian. If your dog ingested something that could be toxic there is some vital information your veterinarian is going to want to know:


  • What did your dog get into, exactly? This is going to require you to look at the package or container and figure out not only the name but ingredients as well as the strength or dose.
  • How much did your dog ingest? Even if it is a guess, your veterinarian needs to know the possible range of toxicity. If your dog chewed open a medication bottle how much was in there?
  • When did your dog ingest it? Even if you were gone to work from 8am to 5pm it is important to know that window of opportunity.
  • How much does your dog weigh? This will help calculate the dose range that is safe and to see if your dog is within that range or not.


Expect to be put on hold, your veterinarian will probably have to look up the safe and toxic ranges of whatever your dog ingested and then do some math to see where your dog lands within those ranges. If your dog lands in a toxic range, your vet will probably tell you to come in and/or call the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661.


Now there will be a fee of $59 associated with this call, but it is important you call, because they have a toxicologist who will talk directly to your veterinarian and create a treatment plan for you and your pet. In some cases, they may be able to give you some things to try at home before you go in on emergency, but usually they will suggest you go in anyway. Below are the most common household toxicities seen in dogs:


Food Related Toxicities:


Chocolate, Raisins, or Gum


Chocolate is one of the most common household toxicities, one because it is so well known for being toxic and two, chocolate is always coming into the household by one way or another. The Rule of thumb with chocolate is that the darker it is the more dangerous it is. Other important food related toxicities occur with foods that have the ingredient xylitol in them, usually it is found in sugar free gum but it is also present in some peanut butter brands too! Raisins or grapes can cause acute damage to the kidneys and should be kept far out of your dog’s reach.


Insecticide/Rodenticide Toxicities:


Bait stations, sprays, and rat poison


Organophosphates in insecticide products can be life-threatening, even in small doses. Rat poison usually comes in two varieties, one that causes internal bleeding and one that affects the nervous system. Both are very serious and need to be addressed right away. Make sure that you have the packaging if you use this product, one to decipher which one it is, and two because sometimes the company has a hotline for you to call if the product is ingested. Another important note if you use these types of products, is if your dog eats a rodent that was killed by a rodenticide, the rodenticide can still harm your dog.

The most common household toxicities that occur in dogs

Keep your meds as well as your dog’s meds out of reach!

Human Drugs:


NSAIDs, Antidepressants, Acetaminophen, and Amphetamines


Human drugs can cause a variety of damage to your dog, from acute kidney disease to seizures, and even death. Never give a human medication without explicit direction from your veterinarian. IF your dog ingests one of these medications immediately call your veterinarian or the pet poison helpline.


Household Cleaners:


Sprays, Detergents, Bleach, and Polishes


Many cleaners are corrosive by nature and can cause severe reactions to your dog. Even if a cleaner is natural, it is best to keep them away from your pet. If you are leaving any cleaner on or in anything to “soak” make sure that your dog can not access it.


Other Veterinary Medications:


Other pet medications, Veterinary Specific NSAIDs, or double doses


Sometimes your partner gives your dog their evening dose of medication and then you do it again unknowingly, this happens, best thing to do is to call your veterinarian and ask them what they think you should do. In some cases it may be fine, or they will have you skip the next dose, but in others, you may need to come in to have them seen or to induce vomiting. When in doubt, call and if your veterinarian isn’t open, make sure you have the number of an emergency veterinary hospital nearby.

The most common household toxicities that occur in dogs

Make sure your dog cannot open cabinet doors!



About the author: Kaylin Stinski
Throughout my life I have always been very passionate about animals and have worked in the veterinary medicine field for the last 10 years. Outside of working directly with the animals, I really enjoy educating clients on the overall care of their pets; not only from a medical perspective, but also discussing general concerns such as behavioral interventions and preventative care.