Seven Popular Household Items that are Poisonous to Dogs

Apr 02, 2019

From backyards to basements, there are many household items that could pose a dangerous threat to your pup. Photo credit: RD Gray

It’s National Poison Prevention Month, and the folks at doggie day care Hounds Town USA want to remind you to keep your dogs safe! You might know some of the foods that are a no-no, but there are also some regular, everyday household items that could be dangerous for dogs.

If you suspect that your pup has ingested any of the items below, please contact the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center at (888)426-4435 immediately for assistance.

1. Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen, and other OTC Medications.

We do it all the time. Shake a few Tylenol into our hands to cure a headache, and a few rogue pills scatter onto the floor. After making a half-hearted effort to look for them, we move on to other things. Unfortunately, “people pills” like ones that contain acetaminophen and ibuprofen–think Advil, Tylenol, and Alleve–are poisonous for dogs. Depending on the amount consumed, it could lead to vomiting, diarrhea, liver damage, red blood cell damage, and more. Keep ALL your medications in a secure medicine cabinet. Let’s be honest, our dogs are not beneath sneaking into purses, snatching bottles from nightstands, and lapping up the pills that fell beneath the sofa cushion!

2. Fabric Softener.

What seems like a harmless dryer sheet on your bedroom floor can be a threat for dogs and especially cats. Dryer sheets have chemicals on them which are toxic to animals. Even if it seems unlikely your dog would ever eat one, don’t use a fabric softener sheet to remove fur on anything your dog uses regularly, like a bed or blanket. And never use directly on his coat! When pets groom themselves, they ingest those chemicals by licking them off!  

3. Inhalers.

Albuterol—a drug used to treat asthma—can be consumed by your pup if he successfully punctures the inhaler. Accidental inhalation of albuterol could lead to a range of issues from hypertension and vomiting to tremors or lethargy. Some dogs might seem unaffected after inhalation, but they definitely need to be assessed by a vet as there could be serious side effects not readily visible.

4. Paintballs (wait, what?)

Yup, you read that correctly. An increase in backyard paintball has also led to an increase in paintball toxicity in dogs. Why? One of the ingredients in some paintballs is vegetable oil which first gets pups sniffing and interested. But once ingested, they are exposed to all the other chemicals inside the paintball. Diarrhea, tremors, vomiting are all signs of toxicity, so make sure you get your pet checked out if you suspect they have swallowed any.

5. Rodenticides & Insecticides.

Bugs and critters aren’t the only ones who are attracted to these poisons, particularly if they’ve been slathered in peanut butter. According to the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center, there were over 25,000 cases reported in 2018 alone involving exposure to these dangerous chemicals. It’s a good idea to keep all basement and garage chemicals–antifreeze, insect or rat poison, or detergent pods–far out of reach of children AND dogs.

6.  Slime. 

Chances are if you have kids, you’ve got slime. Homemade slime might be a fun project for families, but keep your dogs away from the sticky substance. Some recipes require laundry detergent, salt, and/or borax all of which are toxic to dogs. If you’re concerned, try to find alternative recipes which call for natural ingredients instead. It might be safer for the whole family!

7. Your Garden.

Fertilizer is popular with pups because many brands are made with bone meal and other irresistible ingredients. Don’t let your dog outside if you’ve just put fertilizer down. And definitely don’t leave a bag of fertilizer–sealed or not–in a place where you pup can access it. Some contain herbicides and insecticides which can be toxic. 2.3% of calls to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center in 2018 were related animal ingestion of gardening and lawn products, so it’s definitely a widespread issue.