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Potential Poisons in Your Home

Find out what foods and plants in your home might be dangerous for your dog.

Food and plants that are safe for humans can pose dangers for dogs. What doggie dangers lurk in your house?

Foods that are healthy for humans can be deadly for dogs. According to a recent article on, Pooch Poisons in Kitchen, Home and Garden by Anna-Marija Helt, PhD:
  • "Even just a few grapes or raisins may cause long term kidney problems or even kidney failure in some dogs, while others don't seem to react. Early signs of a bad reaction include diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, dehydration and changes in urinary patterns...." 
  • Macadamia nuts "can cause fever and vomiting, as well as pain and mobility issues that may last a couple days."
  • Garlic, onions and other allium family members can also be unhealthy. "In small amounts, garlic may have health-promoting properties in dogs and is a common ingredient in dog food and treats. However, in larger quantities (multiple cloves), garlic can cause a dangerous form of anemia by triggering red blood cell rupture. Onions may be even more potent and are best avoided altogether."
  • Xylitol, a sweetener found in many sugar-free items, is very dangerous. "In dogs, xylitol first triggers vomiting followed by a significant drop in blood sugar levels anywhere from a half hour to 12 hours later.... The extreme low blood sugar may lead to lethargy, lack of coordination, seizures and collapse. Xylitol also damages liver cells, causing liver failure in in some dogs.... If your dog has eaten a xylitol-containing product, take her to the vet immediately."
  • Chocolate is widely known to be dangerous to dogs. Dark chocolate, cacao and cocoa powder are even more so. A chemical in these foods can "cause a range of symptoms from digestive upset, restlessness and shakiness to seizures and death."

A large number of plants can cause health problems for dogs. Helt's article states, "Symptoms resulting from ingestion of toxic plants vary widely and can range from mild digestive upset to convulsions, liver failure and death in the worst cases. If you suspect your dog has eaten a toxic plant, bring him to the vet and take a sample of the plant along with you."

Some dangerous plants, according to Helt's article are:
  • amaryllis
  • azalea/rhododendron
  • aloe vera
  • calla lily
  • carnation
  • clematis
  • cyclamen
  • daffodil/jonquil
  • dahlia
  • English ivy
  • ficus
  • fox glove
  • holly
  • iris
  • lily of the valley
  • mums
  • peony
  • philodendron
  • poinsettia
  • pothos
Knowledge leads to a safer environment for your pet, so research the foods and plants you have in your house. And know how to find your nearest emergency veterinarian, just in case!

Image courtesy of Mister GC at


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