Mar 10

Poison Prevention Awareness Month: Protecting Your Pets from Household Hazards

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We want to keep our homes safe for every family member, including our furry friends! Many common household items, from the hidden dangers of antifreeze to the tempting toxins in chocolate, can pose serious risks to our dogs. 

In this blog post we shine a light on these potential dangers and offer tips to ensure your pets stay safe and sound.


One of the most well-known dangers to our canine companions is chocolate. Theobromine, a compound found in chocolate, is perfectly fine for humans but can be harmful, and sometimes fatal, to dogs.

Even small amounts can cause issues, such as vomiting, diarrhoea, and more severe symptoms like seizures. It's found in larger amounts in dark chocolate, however it's crucial to keep all forms of chocolate out of your dog's reach to ensure they stay safe and healthy.


Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol, a substance that can be deadly to dogs even in tiny amounts.

Its sweet taste can be tempting to curious pups, leading to rapid kidney failure if ingested. Always clean up spills immediately and store antifreeze containers securely to prevent any accidental poisonings.

Cooked Bones

While it might seem natural to give your dog a bone, cooked bones pose a significant risk. They can easily splinter and cause choking or severe damage to your dog's digestive tract.

It's best to stick to raw bones under supervision or specially designed chew toys to satisfy their gnawing needs.

Air Fresheners/Oil Diffusers

Many of us love a fresh-smelling home, but certain air fresheners and oil diffusers can contain ingredients that are toxic to dogs.

Exposure to some of these substances can lead to respiratory issues, skin irritation, and more serious health problems.

Always opt for pet-friendly alternatives and ensure your dog has a way to leave the room if desired, as their noses are much more sensitive than ours.

Cocoa Chips in the Garden

Cocoa mulch, a popular garden bedding, smells delightful but is hazardous to dogs. It contains the same harmful theobromine as chocolate.

If ingested, it can cause a range of symptoms including vomiting, diarrhoea, increased thirst, restlessness, excessive urination, and a racing heart rate.

Consider using a different mulch material that's safe for pets who like to explore the garden.


(AKA wood sugar, birch sugar and birch bark extract)

This sugar substitute found in many sugar-free chewing gums, sweets, and even some peanut butters, is highly toxic to dogs.

Xylitol can cause a rapid release of insulin in dogs, leading to hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure, or even death.

Always check the ingredients of your snacks and keep them away from your curious companions.

Spring Bulbs

With spring comes the bloom of many beautiful flowers, but did you know that some common spring bulbs are toxic to dogs?

Plants like tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths contain compounds that, if ingested by dogs, can cause severe gastrointestinal upset, heart issues, and even convulsions. 

Symptoms of poisoning from these plants may include vomiting, diarrhoea, and lethargy.

While we all love adding a splash of colour to our gardens, it's vital to plant these bulbs in areas your dog can't access or opt for pet-friendly alternatives.
Your dog's safety is paramount. While this list covers some common household items that are poisonous to dogs, it's always best to err on the side of caution. Keep potentially dangerous items out of reach and always monitor your pet's environment.

If you suspect your dog has ingested something toxic, contact your vet or the Animal Poison Line immediately.
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