Leave It! Common Household Items Poisonous to Dogs Every Owner Should Know About

Posted by Joey DiFrancesco on

small brown black and white dog getting a check up at the vet

Many pet owners do not realize that many household items are poisonous to dogs. Things that are toxic to dogs may be in your kitchen, your garage, and even your yard. This guide is designed to help you make sure that the poisonous items for dogs in your home are kept up and out of reach!

While our list is not comprehensive, we did try to cover the most common items that are poisonous to dogs that many people may have in their homes. 

ASPCA Pet Poison Helpline

If you think your dog may have ingested a household item that is poisonous to dogs:

Before we dive into what is toxic to dogs, we want to be sure you have the number for the ASPCA Pet Poison Helpline. If you are not sure if your dog or puppy has eaten something poisonous, please immediately call your veterinarian. If it is after hours, use this number to reach the pet poison helpline: 

Potentially Deadly Foods for Dogs

Raw Dough

Raw bread dough, or yeast dough, contains yeast that is alive and active. Of course, the purpose of yeast in baking is to create carbon dioxide, one of the waste products of yeast, which can continue to be active in your dog’s warm stomach. 

If a dog ingests too much raw dough it can create excess gas in the stomach which can not only be painful, but it can sometimes cause the life threatening emergency known as Bloat in dogs

Yeast is also known to create another waste by-product that is potentially toxic to dogs: Alcohol. If allowed to ferment in the stomach, even small amounts of raw dough could produce a dangerous amount of alcohol which could threaten your dog’s health. 

Alcohol and Other Drugs 

Alcohol and recreational or medicinal drugs are among the more common causes for dog deaths by poisoning each year. Do not assume that if a drug is safe for humans that it is safe for dogs! 

Recreational and pharmaceutical drugs need to be kept out of your dog’s reach. And, over the counter medications, while perfectly safe for people, can be toxic to dogs due to their different digestive systems. Always consult with your vet before giving your pet over the counter medications designed for humans.

chocolate bar with a big red X over it on a white background

Coffee, Soda, Caffeine, and Chocolate

Theobromine and caffeine are two compounds found in chocolate that affect the central nervous system and circulatory system in dogs. More sensitive than people to these compounds, even small amounts of chocolate and other foods high in caffeine can create stomach problems and even liver and kidney failure and death in our canine companions. 

A related dangerous product is nicotine, which is found in high doses in cigarettes and chewing tobacco. E-juices, which often have enticing flavors, are also extremely dangerous when it comes to potentially poisoning your dog. Be sure to keep these products out of the reach of your furry friend. 

Onions, Garlic, and Leeks

Plants in the Allium genus contain organosulfides, a family of compounds that can be dangerous to our pets, even in small doses. These compounds can cause changes in red blood cells that can result in anemia. 

Symptoms can appear days after ingestion and can include weakness and lethargy, rapid breathing or panting, high heart rate, pale color of soft mouth tissues, and reddish or brown urine.

Grapes, Currants, and Raisins

Not all dogs are reactive to grapes and raisins. However, for a small minority of dogs grapes and raisins can be extremely toxic, even fatal, in even small doses. Researchers don’t really understand why this reaction happens, only that a small number of dogs seem to have it. 

Even if you have fed a dog grapes safely in the past, don’t assume they are safe. And, since raisins are used in many baked goods, be sure to avoid keeping baked goods in reach of your pooch. 

Macadamia Nuts

Not fully understood by scientists, macadamia nuts can cause a deadly reaction for some dogs. Please avoid giving your dog macadamia nuts. 

Just like people, dogs can develop deadly nut allergies. Many people err on the safe side and avoid giving nuts of any kind (with the exception of peanut butter) to their dogs to avoid the chance of a deadly allergic reaction. 

cashews with a big red X over it

Artificial Sweeteners - Especially Xylitol

Avoiding giving your dog any foods with artificial sweeteners is a good idea. Sugar free products in particular are dangerous. However, pay particular attention to products that contain Xylitol, which has now been shown to be fatally toxic for dogs. It can cause acute hypoglycemia and/or liver failure even in very small doses. 

Rich Fatty Foods

While it might be okay to give your pooch a small portion of fatty foods such as chicken skin in a very small amount, please be aware that fed in large amounts (proportionate to the size of your dog) can result in a serious and potentially life threatening disease known as pancreatitis. 

Poisonous Household Products Toxic to Dogs

Cleaning Products

Common cleaning products such as bleach, detergents, antibacterial cleaners and more are potentially toxic to your dog. 

In fact, many detergents use Borax as the basis for their cleaning power. Sweet in taste, many pets can be tricked into eating this powder with fatal consequences. Despite the fact that it is a natural substance, Borax is none-the-less deadly to dogs. 

Heavy Metals

There are many sources for deadly heavy metals in the average household. Paints, solvents, plumbing materials, golf balls, and linoleum tiles are just some of the common household items that can contain dangerous amounts of heavy metals. 

yellow and blue paint bottles

Automotive Oils, Liquids, and Other Chemicals

The garage is another great place to be pet-proofing if you are concerned about toxic items that your canine could get into. Many of the liquids (gas, oil, anti-freeze, etc) used in car care are potentially toxic to your pooch.

Keep your garage area picked up and store chemicals out of reach to keep Fido safe. 

Toxic Plants and Other Hazards for Dogs in Your Yard

Plants to Protect Your Dog From

There are many plants that are common to both garden landscapes and in some cases inside houseplants that could poison your dog.  Note that not all of the plants listed below are likely to cause death, however, they may cause gastrointestinal upset, drooling, lethargy or other symptoms. And, some can also be fatally toxic. 

Be sure to restrict your pet’s access if you have any of these plants:


Apple Tree

Apricot Tree

Asparagus Fern

Autumn Crocus

Bead Tree


Bleeding Heart

Burning Bush


Castor Bean


Cherry Tree



















Lily of the Valley



Morning Glory


Onions & Shallots

Peach Tree


Plum Tree



Star of Bethlehem

Sweet Pea

Tomato Plants


Winterberry Holly




Rotten Fruits

Do you have a fruit tree in your yard? While many fruits are safe for our pets, many pet owners don’t realize that when fruit falls from the trees and is allowed to rot, dangerous levels of alcohol can be present. 

You may have noticed that some animals, such as deer, will seek out these rotten fruits and may even get “drunk” from them. However, don’t allow your dog to get at overripe fallen fruit because overdosing on the alcohol present could cause a fatal overdose. 

rotten fruit


Are you a home-brewer? While it might be nice to make your own custom beers, please be sure that you keep your hops out of reach of your pets, whether you buy them or grow them. Hops contain vital compounds that can cause serious and even deadly complications when metabolized by dogs, even in small doses. 


Keep an eye out for fungus growing in your yard. Although many mushrooms are non-toxic to pets, some very common mushrooms found in our yards are extremely deadly to both people and pets.

If you find that your pet has ingested mushrooms in your yard or while out on the trail, be sure to try to collect some samples before taking your furry friend to the veterinarian for care. This can make a big difference in terms of the success of treatment options available to your pet. 

Pesticides, Herbicides, and Other Lawn Chemicals

Many of the products used in lawn and garden care include toxins designed to kill pests, weeds, or other living organisms such as fungus. Fertilizers can also be dangerous. 

Dog owners should consider all of these products as potentially toxic to their pets and restrict access during and after treatment of specific areas. Keep in mind that your canine can pick up residues on their fur that they will later ingest when they lick their paws. Poisoning from such behavior after a recently treated lawn is, sadly, not uncommon. 

Cocoa Mulch

Although this mulch can be a beautiful addition to your landscape, it is best to avoid it if you have a dog who has access to your gardens and flower beds. Made from by-products of the cocoa industry, like chocolate, the mulch contains dangerous compounds that are toxic to dogs.







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