Each year, there are plenty of cases of pet poisoning around the world. In many cases the poisoning is caused by household substances that may seem perfectly harmless to us. But just because something is safe for people doesn’t mean it won’t hurt our dear pets.

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Common dog poisons

There are many things that dogs can not eat. Dogs can easily get poisoned by different things commonly found around the house and garden. Some of the most dangerous dog poisons are foods and medications that we ourselves use on a daily basis. Additionally, pesticides and garden plants can be toxic and extremely dangerous for dogs.

Food for people

It may be different saying no to those big puppy eyes begging for food, but by doing it you could actually save your dog’s life. Animals have different metabolisms than people. Some foods, such as chocolate and onions, as well as beverages that are perfectly safe for people can be dangerous, and sometimes fatal, for dogs. Here’s a list of some of the most dangerous food poisons:

  • Chocolate. Though not harmful to people, chocolate contains Theobromines that can cause vomiting in small doses, and death if ingested in larger quantities. The amount of chocolate that could result in death depends on the type of chocolate and the size of the dog. For smaller breeds, just a small piece of chocolate can be fatal, while a larger dog might survive eating 100-200 gram, though 200 grams would be extremely dangerous. Always keep all chocolate out of the reach of your dog, including chocolate decorations for Easter, Christmas or other holidays.
  • Alcohol. Symptoms of alcohol poisoning in animals are similar to those in people, including vomiting, breathing problems and, in severe cases, death.
  • Avocado. You might think of them as healthy, but avocados have a substance called persin that can act as a dog poison, causing vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Grapes and raisins. Grapes, raisins, currants and sultanas are all toxic to dogs and it is believed the dried forms of these fruits are more toxic. As well as causing stomach problems, these fruits can cause kidney failure. Even just a small amount may cause problems in some dogs.
  • Xylitol. This sweetener is found in many products, including sugar-free gum and candy. Xylitol can cause a dog’s blood sugar level to quickly drop to dangerous levels and larger amounts can also cause liver failure.

Read more: What Can Dogs Not Eat? 15 Foods Poisonous To Dogs



Medications that might be beneficial or even lifesaving for people can have the opposite effect in pets. Medications that can be toxic at certain doses include: Aspirin, Paracetamol and Ibuprofen. Other drugs that should not be near your dog as they can be dangerous, even in small doses, include:

  • Antidepressants can cause extreme vomiting.
  • ADHD medications can cause changes in heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature.
  • Anti-diabetics can cause a major drop in blood sugar levels causing disorientation, lack of coordination and seizures.
  • Cold medicines act as a stimulant causing elevated heart rates, blood pressure, body temperature and seizures.
  • Vitamin D derivatives can cause kidney failure.
  • Muscle relaxants can impair the central nervous system and lead to death.

Plants poisonous to dogs

They may be pretty, but plants aren’t necessarily pet friendly. There are many different plants commonly found in gardens that could make your dog ill. Some of these are highly poisonous, while others may only cause a bit stomach problems. Some of the most poisonous plants to dogs are:

  • Azaleas and rhododendrons. These pretty flowering plants may cause vomiting, diarrhea, coma and, worst case scenario, death.
  • Tulips and daffodils. The bulbs of these plants may cause serious stomach problems and and increased heart rate. In more serious cases, changes in heart rate, body temperature and blood pressure can occur.
  • Sago palms. Eating just a few seeds may be enough to cause vomiting, seizures, and liver failure.


You may think you’re doing your dog a favor when you apply pesticides produced to fight fleas and ticks, but thousands of animals are unintentionally poisoned by these products every year. Problems can occur if dogs accidentally ingest these products. The types and toxicity of chemicals used to kill insects, fungus or other unwanted living things vary dramatically.  The symptoms of pesticide poisoning are vomiting, dehydration, blood in the vomit, ulcers in the mouth, breathing problems, heart problems, kidney and liver failure.

How can a dog come into contact with a poison?

Dogs can be exposed to poisonous substances in a number of different ways, such as through skin contact, substances in the eye, or inhalation. However, the most common way for them to be poisoned is to eat, or chew, a poison.

What should I do if my dog is poisoned?

Rapid response is of course very important, but don’t panic! Panicking can interfere with the process of helping your dog. If you witness your dog consuming material that might be toxic, do not hesitate to contact your vet – even if your dog seems fine. Sometimes, even if poisoned, an animal may appear normal for several hours or even days. 

Before bringing your dog to the vet, take the time to safely collect any material involved. This may be of great help to your vet to determine what poison or poisons are involved. It’s a good idea to collect any material your pet may have vomited or chewed in a plastic bag.

And last but not least, do not try to make your dog vomit unless instructed to do so by your vet.