Pet Emergencies: The Most Common Household Dangers for Dogs

household dangers for dogs

Dog owners go to great lengths to protect and care for their pets. Routine check-ups, vaccinations, safety products, and healthy food are just some of the ways in which we provide excellent care for our furry friends. Unfortunately, there are many everyday items in our homes that can cause illness or injury to our beloved pups. Keep reading to learn about some of the most common household dangers: foods and items which can lead to an emergency situation if your dog gets a hold of them.

Foods

According to the ASPCA, the following are the most toxic foods for your furry friend:

Chocolate and coffee

Chocolate, coffee, and other caffeinated foods contain methylxanthines, which cause abnormal heart rhythm, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, seizures, tremors, and death. Dark chocolate and baking chocolate are the most dangerous varieties.

Alcohol

Alcohol poisoning in pets can be caused by a variety of household dangers in addition to alcoholic beverages. Rubbing alcohol, uncooked bread dough, and cough medicine are all a danger to dogs. Symptoms of toxic amounts of alcohol consumption usually begin within 60 minutes and include vomiting, difficulty breathing, unconsciousness, seizures, slow heart rate, irregular heart rhythm, excessive salivation, and disorientation.

Macadamia nuts

These nuts are incredibly poisonous to dogs, but have not shown signs of hurting other pets, such as cats. They can cause weakness in the back legs and trouble walking, as well as lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, and tremors. Symptoms usually begin within 12 hours and can last for two days. Mild cases can resolve in a few days, but serious cases can result in constant tremors, fever, and temporary paralysis of the back legs.

Onions and garlic

Onions can cause gastrointestinal trouble–they can also damage a dog’s red blood cells, leading to anemia. Garlic is slightly less toxic, but are still a danger in large quantities. Even onion powder can cause problems, so pay careful attention to ingredients before giving any food to your dog.

Raw meat and eggs

It’s a common misconception that dogs can consume raw foods without a problem. Dogs are still susceptible to bacteria such as salmonella and E.coli. Eating raw eggs can lead to skin and coat problems.

Bones (especially chicken)

Bones become brittle when cooked, and cooked chicken bones are a common hazard for dogs. Once dogs consume these bones, they splinter and the sharp, jagged pieces can cause internal bleeding or become lodged in the intestines. Larger bones are no better, as they can cause choking. Avoiding bones altogether is the safest bet.

Foods containing Xylitol

This sugar substitute is incredibly dangerous for dogs, even in small doses. It cause increased release of insulin, which can lead to liver failure and low blood sugar. Signs that your dog has ingested xylitol include vomiting, lethargy, uncoordinated movement, and seizures. Xylitol is found in numerous foods including chewing gum, mints, candy, ice cream, and drink powders.

Grapes and raisins

One of the most serious complications of grape/raisin toxicity is severe kidney damage leading to acute kidney failure with lack of urine production. It doesn’t take much (just 1-2 grapes for a 10lbs dog), but consider this: raisins are more concentrated, so it takes even fewer to cause problems.

Household Goods

There are many items found around the house that are seriously hazardous to dogs. The Merck Veterinary Manual states the following as some of the most hazardous household dangers:

Batteries

Batteries that fell out of a remote and were unknowingly shoved under the couch can be very tempting for a pup who likes to chew on stuff. As you can imagine, corrosive battery acid can cause painful problems for your dog’s mouth, throat, and stomach. Symptoms of battery poisoning include (but are not limited to) black stool, abdominal pain, fever, mouth pain, visible ulcers in the mouth, lack of appetite, and vomiting.

Electrical cords

Most puppies are extremely curious–some of them never grow out of that phase. Chewing on electrical cords can cause electrocution. Electrocution can cause burns on your dog’s mouth and fur, as well as heart, muscle, and lung problems. Symptoms include visible burns, rapid breathing, difficulty breathing, and a bluish tint to the skin.

Plants

Many houseplants (or those found in the yard) are poisonous to dogs. Poisoning from plants can cause a number of symptoms, such as stomach problems, rapid heart rate, liver failure, seizures, difficulty breathing, and coma. Some of the most dangerous plants are tulips, daffodils, azaleas, rhododendrons, philodendron, and sago palms.

Insecticides, rodenticides, and fertilizers

Chemicals that are used to control pesky bugs and rodents are very harmful to your dog. Lawn fertilizers, bug sprays, and rodent poison can cause serious harm, including seizures, respiratory arrest, anorexia, muscle weakness, and tissue damage. Dogs can experience secondary poisoning if they consume a rodent killed with rat poison. Over-the-counter flea and tick products can also cause harm if they are ingested.

Cleaning supplies

Household dangers like cleaning supplies should be kept out of reach of dogs as well as children. Bleach, glass cleaner, floor cleaners, bathroom cleaners, all-purpose cleaners, and laundry detergent are all dangerous. Many of these cleaners have dangerous fumes that linger long after they are rinsed from surfaces. These products can cause cancer, anemia, liver damage, kidney damage, and skin irritation.

Medications

Even small doses of medication intended for humans can have a negative effect on dogs. Medicines like Tylenol, Advil, antidepressants, high blood pressure medication, and numerous topical creams can cause vomiting, stomach ulcers, kidney failure, rapid heart rate, fever, and seizures.

String

Pretty much anything containing long strings that a dog can unravel can be dangerous. Toys, clothes (like hooded sweatshirts with a string), ribbons, and fraying rugs can all pose a health risk if your dog chews and swallows the strings. Long strings can remain bunched up in a dog’s stomach for months. If they do begin to pass a long string, one end may stay in the stomach while the other passes through the intestines, eventually causing the intestines to bunch up. At this point, the string can cut the intestinal wall, causing bacteria to contaminate the blood stream. Large bunches of string require surgical removal. If a dog swallows too much string, symptoms that it cannot pass naturally include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, and loss of appetite.

Awareness of potential household dangers can help keep your dog safe. For a more comprehensive list of items that can cause a pet emergency, please feel free to contact us.

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