A PETCO Companion Animal Care Sheet developed with and approved by a Qualified Veterinarian

Your dog is a trusting animal by nature. It does cross her mind that something could be dangerous. As her owner it is your responsibility to make sure her environment in the house is free from harm.

How to Recognize Danger

When you look around your house you may think that everything looks perfectly safe. But you and your dog may have very different views on what could be a toy or a tasty snack. When you dog proof your house, try to see it in your dog’s perspective. Hunker down to the height of your dog’s line of sight and take a look at what your dog sees. Look around for any hidden dangers that your dog may get herself into. Simply use common sense and take the same precautions as you would with a child.

Common Chemical Dangers

Most of us have homes with many different types of toxic chemicals used for cleaning. Chemical poisoning most commonly occurs when dogs:

  • Drink a tainted substance
  • Clean a toxic substance from their fur
  • Eat a poisoned pest

Some items to watch out for include:

  • Antifreeze that contains ethylene glycol has a sweet taste that attracts animals but is deadly if consumed.
  • Chemicals used on lawns and gardens, such as fertilizer and plant food.
  • Rodent poisons and insecticides are one of the most common sources of poisoning.
  • De-icing salts used to melt snow and ice are paw irritants that can be poisonous if licked off.
Common Food Dangers

A dog’s body is quite different from humans. Food items that are beneficial to a human can be toxic to dogs. It is best to not feed your dog table scraps. A few items of note to keep in mind include:

  • Chocolate, grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs.
  • Human medication such as painkillers, cold medicines, vitamins, diet pills and other medication can all be toxic to animals.
  • Leftovers such as chicken bones easily shatter and can stab or choke a dog.
  • Rawhide doggie chews may have larger pieces that break off and be swallowed. Always purchase chews that are sized appropriately for your pet and supervise while in use.
Common Household Item Dangers

Objects that seem harmless can become a danger to your dog if used improperly, or accidentally ingested. Some common items that can be hazardous include:

  • String, yarn, rubber bands, coins and even dental floss are easy to swallow and can cause intestinal blockages or strangulations.
  • Toys with removable parts (squeaky toys, or stuffed animals with plastic eyes, and ribbons) can pose a choking hazard to your dog. As a rule, always use toys no smaller than a ping-pong ball as a dog toy to avoid choking.
  • Balls can be deadly if they are too small for the dog that is playing them. Balls with slippery outer coatings (racquet balls, golf balls) can be an especially potent choking hazard.
  • Stuffed toys, if ripped apart can be dangerous.
  • Tug toys are fine if your dog is gentle, but if your dog is more aggressive, tug games can make your dog more aggressive and cause problems.
  • Ornamental plants that are poisonous to animals.
Household Safety Checklist

Inside the home, make sure:

  1. All doors, including patio entrances, are closed
  2. Any pet door is the right size and closes properly
  3. To keep any dangerous food, such as chocolate, out of range of your dog
  4. To keep medication, dietary supplements and antibiotics high and safe
  5. All the garbage in the house is secure and inaccessible
  6. All cleaning supplies are out of reach
  7. All dangerous objects off the floor and out of reach
  8. To close the lid on the toilet bowl and stop using any sanitizing flush products
  9. To put away all sharp objects that might cut your dog's paws or mouth
  10. To put childproof latches on all cabinets containing hazardous substances so your dog can't 'slip' the latch
  11. To dog-proof any poisonous plants or place them where your dog can't get at them
  12. To pick up any toys, such as string, that could be dangerous if swallowed
  13. Any pesticides are out of reach or replaced with nontoxic substances
  14. To keep your dog away from litter boxes used by other pets
  15. Your dog has some toys to chew on so she doesn't try to chew electric wiring or other dangerous objects
What to Do if Your Dog is Poisoned

Keep a good dog emergency handbook and a first-aid kit in your home. Know how much your dog weighs, since treatments are often measured in proportion to the animal’s weight.

If you think your dog has consumed any dangerous products, the first thing you must do is determine what substance is responsible. Read the product’s label for the list of ingredients and for any instructions on accidental ingestion. Call your vet immediately. If your pet needs to make a trip to the vet, remember to take the product container in question with you to give your vet a better idea of what your pet may have ingested. You can also call the National Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 (fees may apply).

Observe your dog’s symptoms carefully. If she is vomiting or has diarrhea, you may want to take samples to the vet to help with diagnosis. The treatment will vary according to the poison, and whether it has been ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin.

Download a PDF of this PETCO Companion Animal Care Sheet

Note: The information in this Care Sheet is not a substitute for veterinary care. If you need additional information, please refer to the above sources or contact your veterinarian as appropriate.