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Accidents – Are You Prepared?

Canines are curious creatures by nature. Because of their tendency to consume what they see in front of them, dogs are accidentally poisoned each year — sometimes with fatal results. Even veterinary prescriptions and topical treatments can potentially poison a dog if they are not used properly. Common foods, such as chocolate, onions, coffee grounds and bread dough can be fatal to dogs when ingested. Our homes, garages and gardens contain many chemical items, common household plants and landscaping items that can also be toxic to our pets. The American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Health Foundation offers a free Poisonous Plant Guide to Barking Bulletin readers that may be used as a guide to help prevent pet exposure to poisonous plants (see ordering details below).

It’s important to carefully follow the directions for chemical products intended for pets and those intended for your home and yard. Plan ahead and store all poisonous substances in your home, garage, and yard out of reach of your curious canine. If you suspect your dog has ingested a poisonous substance, call your veterinarian immediately. The longer the poison is in the dog’s system, the more serious the damage can be.

According to the AKC ( these are some common poisons and their effects:

Common Household Poisons

Poisonous Plants

May cause vomiting/ diarrhea:

May cause varied reactions:

Acetaminophen Castor bean Mescal bean
Bleach Soap berry Mushrooms (if also toxic to humans)
Boric acid Ground Cherry Sunburned potatoes
Cleaning fluid Skunk Cabbage Rhubarb
Deodorants Daffodil Spinach
Deodorizers Delphinium Tomato vine
Detergents Foxglove Buttercup
Disinfectants Larkspur Dologeton
Drain cleaners Indian Tobacco Poison Hemlock
Furniture polish Indian Turnip Water Hemlock
Gasoline Poke weed Jasmine
Hair colorings Bittersweet woody Loco weed
Ibuprophen Wisteria Lupine
Weed killers Matrimony Vine
Insecticides May cause vomiting, abdominal pain and/or diarrhea: May Apple
Prescription medications
Matches Almond Moonseed
Mothballs Apricot Nightshade
Nail polish and remover Wild Cherry Angel’s Trumpet
Paint Balsam Pear
Prescription medicine Japanese Plum May act as a hallucinogen:
Rubbing alcohol Bird of Paradise bush Marijuana
Shoe polish Horse Chestnut (Buckeye)
Sleeping pills English Holly May cause convulsions:
Turpentine Black Locust China berry
Windshield-wiper fluid Mock Orange Coriana
Privet Moonweed
Rain Tree (Monkey Pod) Nux vomica
American Yew Water hemlock
English Yew
Western Yew

Other Poisons:

  • Parasite medications. Flea and tick sprays, shampoos, collars, and worm medications must be used according to directions. Some signs of over-absorption of these chemicals are trembling and weakness, drooling, vomiting and loss of bowel control.
  • Rodent and snail poisons. Most rat poisons thin the blood so it is unable to clot. Immediately contact your veterinarian, who might instruct you to have your dog vomit to get rid of the poison. Poisons containing strychnine, such as those used for gophers, can cause rapid death.
  • Acids, alkalis, and petroleum products. Vomiting should not be induced if these products have been swallowed. Check with your veterinarian to see if antacids or other household remedies would be useful.
  • Antifreeze. This sweet-tasting substance can leak out of parked cars, leaving an inviting puddle for wandering dogs. It is extremely toxic to dogs, even in small amounts. Call your veterinarian immediately. To prevent accidental ingestion, consider using non-toxic antifreeze alternatives in your vehicles. Remember that dogs love to chew, so a spray bottle, can or other container may be viewed as a toy by a curious dog — even when the container is punctured and its contents leak out.

The best way to avoid canine poisoning is prevention. Keep all potential poisons safely and securely stored away. ‘Dogproof’ and supervise your home and yard before allowing your dog to roam. When outside use a leash or a fenced-in area to help prevent exposure to toxic substances.

To reach the Animal Poison Control Center call 1-888-426-4435, a charge applies to every call. For more information on the AKC Canine Health Foundation, visit To order their free Poisonous Plant Guide, call their toll free number 888-682-9696 or e-mail them at

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