Nothing is more important to most of us as dog parents than our pets’ safety. Many of us have discovered chewed-up shoes or pillows from bored dogs, but what if our pups got into something actually dangerous? March is Poison Prevention Awareness Month. Here at Kono’s Kitchen, we are passionate about making sure your dogs eat healthy (that’s why our treats are single-ingredient and raw!), but we are dog moms ourselves and we know accidents happen. We wanted to round up some of the most common household items that can be dangerous to dogs and what to do if your dog is exposed to them. Of course, this article is just for your own knowledge; if your dog has eaten something you are worried is toxic, please reach out to your vet or call the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Line (there may be a consulting fee).
Here are eleven common household items that can be toxic to dogs, and how to keep your dog safe!
Essential oils, oils made from plant concentrates, have become all the craze for human health over the past few years. People diffuse oils to help with everything from anxiety to allergies. It might be tempting to use essential oils to soothe a hurting or stressed pup, but be cautious: essential oils can cause a whole slew of issues for dogs. When applied topically to the skin, they can cause rashes and allergic reactions. Because dogs’ noses are so sensitive, they can also be overwhelming even to smell. Lastly, some oils are actually poisonous to dogs, including citrus, pennyroyal, peppermint, tea tree, and pine. If you want to diffuse essential oils in your home, check with your vet about how to do it safely and which oils to avoid. If you think your dog has ingested essential oils, particularly toxic ones, contact your vet immediately.
Fabric Softeners or Dryer Sheets
Fabric softeners and dryer sheets make our clothes smell wonderful out of the dryer, but they can also be tempting to dogs. Eating a dryer sheet could cause a gastrointestinal obstruction, and the chemicals that many dryer sheets and fabric softeners are made of, called cationic surfactants, can irritate your dog’s gut. If your dog eats a dryer sheet, don’t try to induce vomiting, which could cause damage to their throat. Give your vet a call and stay calm; most dogs won’t get too sick, and surgery to remove the dryer sheet is only rarely necessary.
Many human medications aren’t great for dogs, and Adderall, a common treatment for ADHD, is one of them. Adderall is a stimulant, which can cause your dog to become hyperactive, raise their heart rate and raise their temperature. Most dogs who ingest stimulants are fine within a day or two, but your vet may want to monitor them or give them medication to calm them down and lower their temperature depending on how much of the stimulant they ate.
Even just a single cigarette butt can be dangerous to dogs, so keep an eye out on your walks, especially if your dog likes to scavenge on the street. The good news is that nicotine tastes terrible, so most dogs won’t swallow it. If they do, many will vomit it up on their own. If your dog eats nicotine and hasn’t thrown it up on their own after an hour, you can take them to the vet to have vomiting induced or to get some fluids while their body recovers.
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (often sold as Motrin) and naproxen (often sold as Aleve) are a lifesaver for humans with headaches or joint pain, but they’re not good for dogs. Even 200 milligrams of ibuprofen, which is half of the average adult human dose, can be toxic to a small dog. It can cause kidney issues or gastrointestinal pain. If you think your dog may have ingested ibuprofen, you should take them to the vet as they may need to have their stomach pumped.
Mosquito repellent containing DEET
Nobody likes being bitten by mosquitoes, dogs included! There are pet-friendly mosquito repellents, but repellents containing DEET should never be used on your dog (or cat). DEET isn’t great for people either, but dogs are very sensitive to it and it can actually cause neurological issues like seizures. Get in touch with your vet if you think your dog has been exposed to a repellent containing DEET.
Many dog parents are plant parents too. After all, we need something besides dog toys in our living rooms, right? Unfortunately, not all plants are safe for dogs, and if they eat them they could become very sick, including rhododendrons, tulips and cyclomens. You can read a complete guide to plants poisonous to dogs here. If you have plants that aren’t safe for dogs, you may want to consider getting rid of them or putting them out of reach, or at least crating your pup when you’re not able to supervise them.
Glue or Superglue
Glue isn’t actually poisonous to dogs, but it’s still very dangerous for them to eat it. Superglue is especially worrisome. That’s because Superglue is made of a resin that can actually expand in your dog’s stomach, causing a gastrointestinal blockage. Superglue can also irritate your dog’s skin and gums. If your dog gets into Superglue, don’t try to pull it off their paws or face, because you could cause more damage. Take them into the vet and let the professionals handle it!
Dogs love to dig in dirt, and of course sometimes to eat it too. Watch your dog in the garden though! Fertilizers that you might use to help your plants grow can be very dangerous to dogs because they contain chemical pesticides and nitrogen, which can irritate your dog if eaten in large amounts. Seaweed or compost are great, natural alternatives to commercial fertilizers that are safe for pets.
Antifreeze, the coolant you use in your car, is extremely toxic to dogs. It’s made of ethylene glycol, which can cause kidney failure in dogs. Most dogs need to be treated for antifreeze poisoning within 12 hours to survive, so if your dog has eaten antifreeze it’s important to get your dog to an emergency vet immediately.
During the age of coronavirus, we all have quite a few disinfectants around, such as hand sanitizer, Clorox wipes, and household cleaners. While constant sanitizing keeps us safer, it’s actually a risk for our dogs: most hand sanitizers (and many cleaners) contain alcohol, as well as other chemicals, which are toxic to animals, especially in high amounts. If your dog gets into your COVID supplies, give your vet a call and make sure they are seen. You can also consider investing in nontoxic cleaning supplies both for yourself and your dog.
Keep Your Dog Safe From Toxins With Natural Alternatives
It can be scary to realize how many everyday items can be dangerous for our dogs. However, the good news is that while we can’t protect our dogs from everything, we can protect them from household toxins by using more natural alternatives. Dryer balls are a great sustainable and natural alternative to dryer sheets (check out these beautiful ones from Black-owned company LooHoo), and natural cleaners can be just as effective without the chemicals (like Black-owned Honeydipped). You can even make your own cleaners with grocery items like vinegar and lemon. Of course, we hope you’ll decide to go natural with your dog’s treats too!
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