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Household Items that Could Harm Your Dog

Rutuja Ghanekar
So your house is baby-proof, but is it pet-proof too? Read on to know the possible dangers in your home that may prove harmful to your dog.
It is definitely hard to believe that our household items, which we use every day, can affect our pet's health to a large extent. As much as it is important for you to protect your child from the injury-prone stuff in your house, keeping the same in mind when it comes to your pet is equally important and necessary.
The time during which your pet is most vulnerable to the harmful hazards that your house poses is during the holidays. Decorative items (such as tinsels) used during Christmas, Halloween, 4th of July, and Easter are often swallowed by dogs, leading to choking.
We often fail to notice that some of the major causes for our dog falling sick often, or acting out of the ordinary are right in front of us -- in our living room, bedroom, garden, and even on our nightstands. Most of us are not even aware of the potential threats present in our house.
So, what exactly should you protect your dog against? Here is a list of things that are best kept out of reach of your dog.
Caffeine and Chocolate
It may come as a surprise, but the last thing you want to do is feed your dog something that contains methylxanthines.
After consumption, the signs are usually observed after 6-12 hours, which include vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, trembling, and in extreme cases, death. While dark chocolate, or baking chocolate has the maximum content of methylxanthines (theobromine), white chocolate comprises minimum amount of theobromine.
Milk and Dairy Products
Dogs lack the presence of lactase (an enzyme) that helps in breaking down the lactose content in milk. Thus, lactose is left undigested which results in excess amount of water content in stool, causing diarrhea.
Onions and Garlic
While the harmful effects of consumption of garlic remain debatable, the fact remains that both onion and garlic can affect the red blood cells.
Onions especially, even in small amounts, can lead to unnatural breakage of red blood cells in dogs. In medical terms, this condition is called hemolytic anemia, which can either be inherited, or developed by excess consumption of these two food items.
Macadamia Nuts
Macadamia nuts will usually affect a dog when consumed in excess. The symptoms include weakness, vomiting, difficulty in walking, trembling, stomach pain, and joint and muscle pain.
Alcohol affects dogs in the same way as humans; however, the tolerance level of dogs is far less than humans.
A small amount of alcohol affects the liver and brain of dogs in a short span of time, causing vomiting, difficulty in coordinating movements, and problems of central nervous system.
It is unwise to feed any food containing salt to your dog.
Salt in more-than-normal amount causes excessive thirst, frequent urination, and at times, sodium ion poisoning. The symptoms of surplus salt intake are vomiting, diarrhea, fever, seizures, and in worst cases, death.
Avocados contain a fungicidal toxin, called persin. Persin can be safely consumed by humans, but it can prove to be harmful for dogs. In excess amounts, it causes difficulty in breathing, vomiting, heart and pancreatic problems.
Grapes and Raisins
While they seem harmless, both grapes and raisins, even in small amounts, affect dogs gravely. The signs and symptoms are usually observed within 24 hours. They include loss of appetite, stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and overall weakness.
Candy and Gum
These are the items where Xylitol is used as a sweetener.
It triggers the insulin-releasing activity of pancreas, which increases the content of insulin in the bloodstream of a dog, causing hypoglycemia and liver failure. Initial signs of toxicity are vomiting, problem in coordination of movements/various actions, and seizures.
Raw Meat, Fish, and Eggs
All the three items contain Salmonella and E. coli bacteria that can cause food poisoning in dogs.
Eggs contain avidin (an enzyme) that affects the vitamin absorption capacity of dogs, especially of vitamin B. Salmon poisoning disease due to the parasites present in certain fish has also been reported. The major signs include fever and vomiting, along with swollen lymph nodes.
Nutmeg affects the central nervous system of a dog, causing muscle spasms and seizures. The severity of the signs and symptoms vary according to its consumption relative to the dog's size. Too much could prove to be fatal.
Baking Soda and Baking Powder
When ingested in large amounts, they react with the moisture present inside a dog's stomach, resulting in low levels of calcium, potassium, and sodium. This can lead to muscle cramps and/or congestive heart failure.
Yeast Dough
It is essential for yeast dough to rise before it is baked. If dogs consume it, the dough rises inside their body, and in extreme cases, it can lead to rupturing of the stomach, or intestines.
Medicines Intended for Humans
This category includes all the prescription and over-the-counter medications that may prove to be toxic for your pet.
Always keep your medicines out of reach from your dog, and make sure you consult a vet before giving a seemingly-harmless pill to your pet. Given list comprises the most commonly prescribed medications that should not be left unguarded.


Painkillers, such as ibuprofen poses a threat to dogs even in small amounts. Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is often administered to dogs and is the most common cause of poisoning in canines. They affect the stomach and cause digestion and even ulcers. Other side effects include vomiting, loss of appetite, and dehydration.


Excess antidepressants can cause serotonin syndrome in dogs. This syndrome shows symptoms, such as fever, increased heart rate, extreme unrest, vomiting, diarrhea, and sluggishness.


Even a small dose of vitamins, or vitamin supplements affects dogs in a grave manner. Frequent urination, vomiting, and in worst cases, kidney failure is observed.


Medication prescribed for diabetes can cause hypoglycemia, i.e., a sudden drop in sugar levels in dogs. Loss of appetite, nausea, and seizures have also been reported.

Cold and Flu Medications

Commonly prescribed decongestants have been reported to be accidentally ingested by various canines. On consumption, these drugs trigger a stimulating action in dogs, also causing increase in heart rates, fever, and fluctuating blood pressure.


Houseplants are also responsible for numerous medical complications that dogs suffer from. While lilies are reported to result in kidney failure in dogs, English ivy contains triterpenoid saponins that cause stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Plants, such as tulips result in loss of appetite, hypersalivation, heart, and gastrointestinal problems.
The entire Sago Palm proves to be poisonous for them. Consumption of any part of this plant, especially its seeds, causes diarrhea, depression, and other stomach-related problems. Similar signs and symptoms are observed on ingestion of any part of the Chrysanthemum plant.
Apart from these, there are other obvious things, like coins, buttons, sharp objects (knives, razors, etc.), and all other items that can be swallowed by your dog. So, the next time you're having your meal and your pet comes with those innocent little eyes begging for some share, think a million times before you fall for that.