dog_eatingThere are many things in our households that can be toxic to our pets and we must be diligent to keep certain things out of reach. Here is a brief discussion on several toxic substances that may be in your house that perhaps you were not aware could cause your pet to end up in hospital.

Some dogs get into garbage which can cause vomiting and diarrhea problems right off the bat but lingering in the garbage can be coffee grounds that contain enough caffeine to cause increased heart rate, hyperactivity, shaking and seizures. Keep the garbage out of reach!

Xylitol sweetener is fine for us but not for dogs. When dogs ingest this it causes the pancreas to secrete insulin to the extent that the dog can suffer severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) which can cause stumbling, seizures and even death. It can also cause clotting problems and liver failure. This sweetener can be found in some brands of sugar-free gum and ingestion of as few as 2 pieces of gum by a 45lb dog can cause severe hypoglycemia. Products with xylitol must be stored away from your pet and don’t share your low-calorie human foods with your dog. Use only a dog approved toothpaste as some human toothpaste also contain xylitol.

Keep painkillers and medications safely out of reach. Some of these common medications which we can take without problem can be deadly to our pets. Never give your pet medication of any kind unless directed by your veterinarian.

Soaps, detergents and cleansers can cause upset stomach, drooling, vomiting or diarrhea. Bleaches can cause severe oral burns and irritation to the respiratory tract. These products must be stored safely out of reach to protect your pet.

The garage can be a place where many toxic substances are found as well. Things to keep out of reach include antifreeze, gasoline, insecticides, herbicides and glues. A recent problem has been expanding glues which when swallowed by a pet require surgery to remove the obstruction and prevent death.

These are just some of the toxic substances found around the home. If you think your pet may have ingested something toxic or you are not sure if the substance was toxic, please call our clinic. Also available is an Animal Poison Control Center phone line at 1-888-426-4435. A consultation fee may apply when calling this hotline. To help us help your pet, please have the details of the exposure, the product container information, the breed and weight of your pet and the symptoms your pet is experiencing when you call.


  • Fresh bottle of hydrogen peroxide 3%
  • Can of soft dog or cat food
  • Saline eye solution to flush eye contaminants
  • Mild grease cutting dishwashing liquid to wash off skin contamination
  • Rubber gloves
  • Tweezers to remove stingers or ticks
  • Muzzle (an excited pet may harm you)