Did You Know Chocolate Can Kill Your Dog?


Common poisons of domesticated animals (natural and artificial)

Foods – specifically chocolate, xylitol, and grapes/raisins.

Certain types of chocolate are very toxic to dogs. The chemical causing toxicity in chocolate is a relative of caffeine. The darker, more bitter, and more concentrated the chocolate is, the more dangerous it is. Many sugarless gums and candies contain xylitol, a sweetener that is dangerous to dogs. When ingested, even in small amounts, it can result in a life-threatening drop in blood sugar or even liver failure. Raisins and grapes are often overlooked as one of the most toxic foods to dogs, and can result in kidney failure.

Insecticides – including sprays, bait stations, and spot on flea/tick treatments.

Ingestion of insecticides and pesticides, especially those that contain organophosphates often found in rose-care products, can be life-threatening to dogs, even when ingested in small amounts. While spot-on flea and tick treatments work well for dogs, they can be very toxic to cats when not applied appropriately. Cat owners should read labels carefully, as those that contain pyrethrins or pyrethroids (a derivative of the Chrysanthemum flower), are severely toxic if directly applied or ingested.

Mouse and rat poison – rodenticides.

There are many types of chemicals in mouse and rat poisons, all with different active ingredients and types of action, making all of them potentially poisonous to dogs. Depending on what type was ingested, poisoning can result in internal bleeding, brain swelling, kidney failure, or even severe vomiting and bloat. Mouse and rat poisons also pose the potential for relay toxicity, meaning pets – and even wildlife – can be poisoned by eating dead rodents poisoned by rodenticides.

NSAIDS human drugs – such as ibuprofen, naproxen.

Common drugs including NSAIDs (e.g. Advil®, Aleve® and Motrin) can cause serious harm to dogs when ingested, causes stomach and intestinal ulcers as well as potential kidney failure. The use of human NSAIDs in dogs is dangerous and should never be given without consulting Pet Poison Helpline or a veterinarian.

Household cleaners – sprays, detergents, polishes.

Strong acidic or alkaline cleaners pose the highest risk due to their corrosive nature, and include common household products like toilet bowel cleaners, lye, drain cleaners, rust removers, and calcium/lime removers. Remember that “natural” does not necessarily mean safe, as some natural products can cause severe reactions. While general cleaners like glass products, spot removers and most surface cleaners have a wide margin of safety, it is still wise to keep them out of reach.

Antidepressant human drugs – such as Prozac, Paxil, Celexa, and Effexor.

Of all prescription medications, antidepressants account for the highest number of calls to Pet Poison Helpline. When ingested, they can cause neurological problems in dogs like sedation, incoordination, agitation, tremors and seizures.

Fertilizers – including bone meal, blood meal and iron-based products.

While some fertilizers are fairly safe, certain organic products that contain blood meal, bone meal, feather meal and iron may be especially tasty – and dangerous – to dogs. Large ingestions can cause severe pancreatitis or even form a concretion in the stomach, obstructing the gastrointestinal tract.

The main sources of the poisons

  • Food – kitchen
  • Insecticides – garden shed and garage
  • Mouse and rat poison – shed and yard
  • Human drugs – bedrooms, kitchen
  • Household cleaners – bathroom, kitchen
  • Antidepressants – bedroom, bathroom
  • Fertilizers – sheds and barns

The main symptoms that would be exhibited by an animal after exposure to each of the poisons

  • Wrong Foods can cause liver and kidney failure
  • Insecticides – Neurotoxic and fatal
  • Mouse and rat poison – internal bleeding, brain swelling, kidney failure, severe vomiting and bloat.
  • Human drugs can cause ulcers and kidney failure
  • Household cleaners – strong acid can cause corrosion
  • Antidepressants can cause sedation, incoordination, agitation, tremors and seizures
  • Fertilizers can cause obstruction in the gastrointestinal tract.

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