How to Prevent Accidental Dog Poisoning

By PetcoBlogger on Mar. 25, 2017


Accidental poisoning in dogs is not as uncommon as you think. Most of our homes contain dozens of chemicals, many of which could cause a dangerous reaction in your dog. Chemical poisoning most commonly occurs when dogs:

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

Tip: As a general rule of thumb, any substance you would keep away from a child should also be kept away from your dog.

The Worst Offenders: Petroleum products, acids and alkalis (caustics). Caustic chemicals are the most dangerous substances to your dog. Caustic chemicals can burn your dog's mouth and throat. DO NOT induce vomiting, which can cause even further damage. 


What To Do If You Suspect Your Dog Has Been Poisoned
First, try to determine what substance is responsible. Read the product's label for the list of ingredients and for any instructions on accidental ingestion. Immediately call your veterinarian, the nearest animal-emergency clinic, or the National Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435. (Note that there will be a consultation fee).

Observe your dog's symptoms carefully. If he's vomiting or has diarrhea, you may want to take samples to your veterinarian to help with diagnosis. Treatment will vary according to the poison, and whether it has been ingested, inhaled or absorbed through the skin. In addition to having emergency numbers on hand, stock your medicine cabinet or pantry with these items:

  • Liquid antacid
  • Vegetable oil (to coat the intestines or remove substances on fur)
  • Hydrogen peroxide (to induce vomiting, if indicated)
  • Diluted vinegar or lemon juice (to help neutralize an alkali)

Also know how much your dog weighs, as  treatments are often measured out in proportion to the animal's weight.


Safeguarding Your Pet from Chemical Poisoning

  1. Remove any harmful products from cupboards, closets or storage areas. Alternatively, lock products in cabinets or behind child-proof locks.
  2. Read the labels on all cleaners and household products. If you wouldn’t want a child to play with it, keep it away from your dog.

When cleaning, especially in your bathroom, close the door if you must leave any cleaners standing in your sink or toilet. Otherwise, your pet may drink it, or he may walk in cleaners spilled on the floor. Your pet might lick foreign substances from his paws, thus ingesting the toxic chemicals.


When painting or varnishing, or spraying herbicides or insecticides, keep your dog out of the area for at least 24 hours or until long after the substance dries. Dogs are very susceptible to fumes, and can even absorb some toxins through the skin.

Watch your kitchen, too. Xylitol, which is commonly found in sugar-free desserts, candies and gum, is extremely dangerous for dogs. Keep these items out of reach.

Dog-proof your garage or shed for any chemical products you might have stored. Make sure the lids of all chemical products are tightly closed. Dogs are not careful of the objects they brush up against and the areas they walk into. Chemical poisoning usually happens if a dog drinks a tainted substance (water on top of a paint can, for example.) Put gasoline, kerosene and turpentine in a locked cabinet or storeroom. Stash antifreeze out of reach; with a sweet taste from ethylene glycol, it's one of the most common agents of animal poisoning. Clean any leaking fluid from the garage floor or driveway.

Also, dog-proof your garden. Snail bait and other ground chemicals can be deadly to dogs. Rodent poison (and poisoned rodents) is another potential source of trouble. And watch what you spray on your plants; your dog can become very sick from nibbling on a leaf sprayed with pesticides. Check your local nursery for non-toxic, organic alternatives.

During winter months pay careful attention to your dog to ensure that they are not alking on rock salt, which is commonly used ot melt snow and ice. If you regularly walk your dog on treated sidewalks, consider purchasing booties.

Check out these top holiday pet hazards:


Did you know that secondhand smoke is deadly for dogs? 

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Need to leave your dog alone for a bit? Check out these great kennels and crates.

Home monitoring devices enable you to keep an eye on your dog while you're away. 

New toys help keep your dog happy and distracted while you're gone.

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