Unfortunately, dogs aren’t able to determine for themselves what is safe and dangerous around your house, especially as many toxins actually smell appealing to them. As a pet owner, you should take it upon yourself to limit as many harmful elements as possible within your home or at least limit pet access to them.
Most pet owners are appalled to learn that many common household cleaners and necessities, which are oftentimes kept in easily accessible areas, can be dangerous and potentially fatal to their pets. Here are the top 10 most common household items that are toxic to dogs:
Rat poisons (such as D-Con): These substances are commonly found in garages, basements and outdoor sheds. When ingested, they inhibit the blood clotting mechanisms so the first symptoms are blood in the mouth or stools.
Anti-freeze: Commonly found in garages, the car fluid smells sweet to dogs and, when ingested, anti-freeze becomes toxic instantaneously and can be fatal in only a few hours. If you think your pet has come in contact with anti-freeze, call Los Banos Veterinary Clinic immediately.
Chocolate: Almost all pet owners have heard the cautions around chocolate and when ingested in large doses, the myths are true. Dark chocolate is the worst, followed by milk chocolate and then white chocolate. If your dog eats a handful of chocolate chip while baking or similar amount, you have nothing to worry about. But when ingested in large doses, seek veterinary attention.
Batteries: Found in almost every Los Banos home, batteries are very toxic and contact with the fluid is very common. This acid spreads quickly in the stomach and can dissolve the tissue in your dog’s mouth, throat and intestines. Seek treatment if you think your dog could have ate a battery.
Fertilizers: The chemicals that are made to tend to landscaping needs can smell great to dogs, but they contain many harmful elements that can harm stomach lining in a matter of hours. Keep fertilizers in a contained area.
Detergents: Detergents clean our clothes with a handful of chemicals; even the "natural” options contain some harmful substances when ingested. Secure detergents in a pantry or closed closet space.
Grapes: There is an enzyme in grapes, and raisins, that is harmful to dogs and their digestive systems. While grapes usually don’t smell appealing to animals, some dogs will eat anything that falls on the floor so be careful to keep grapes on high counters.
Mothballs: The weird smell we take in from moth balls actually smells tasty to your dog. If you keep mothballs in clothes or lines, be sure that closet doors are always kept closed to avoid temptation.
Prescription medication: As with all medications, prescriptions are written for specific individuals based on need, size and frequency. Your pills may not only contain harmful doses, but many human medications do not correlate to animals. Keep pills secure in high cabinets and call a veterinarian quickly if your pet eats your medication or that of another pet.
Tobacco and marijuana: Both substances can be harmful to dogs if ingested and the staff at Los Banos Veterinary Clinic supports a "no judgment” policy so you can be honest regarding the ingested substance for quicker treatment.
The majority of the above substances are common in local households for a reason, they are used daily and make our lives easier. While we don’t ask you to rid your homes of the above, since they are toxins we simply ask that you take extra precautions when storing and using them.
Should your pet come in contact with any toxins, or even if you think they have been exposed, please call the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline at (888) 426-4435 and notify your veterinarian immediately.
If you think your pet has been exposed to a toxic, the best thing you can do is call ASPCA Poison Control, remain calm and seek veterinary care. We see exposure and ingestion of toxics often at Los Banos Veterinary Clinic and would be happy to help.