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Toxic Household Hazards for Dogs

Are you aware of all of the toxic household hazards for dogs?

March 15th rings in the National Poison Prevention Week which was established by U.S. Congress on September 16, 1961.

Ever since, the event has reoccurred every year during the third week in March.

In honor of this event, I have attempted to compile a list of toxic household hazards for dogs.

It is by no means complete ~ so please feel free to add additional information in the comment section below this blog post!

Toxic Household Hazards for Dogs: Meds & Foods

For starters, meds and many human foods are a big no-no for dogs.

So keep them out of reach of your four-legged family members.

The same applies to human dietary supplements.

Dog head and paws with medications

Disclaimer: This blog post was originally published in 2015 and has been updated in 2024. It contains affiliate links I may earn compensation through at no additional cost to you. 

Toxic Foods For Dogs

  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Onions & Garlic

Update on the garlic:

Fed in moderation, minced garlic IS actually very healthy for most dogs. Please read more in my Myth Buster article mentioned below:

Myth Buster: Garlic IS good for dogs, after all!

  • Some nuts
  • Avocados
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus Fruits
  • Some mushrooms
  • Anything with sugar
  • Bread & cookie dough
  • Cooked bones (can splinter)
  • Spoiled food (make sure your dog doesn’t have access to the trash)

Toxic Household Hazards for Dogs – How Do You Dog Proof A Trash Can?

On that note, here are some ideas of how you can keep your dog from getting into the trash:

  • Keep your large trash can behind closed doors (walk-in pantry, laundry room, garage)
  • Keep your smaller kitchen and bathroom trash cans under the sink
  • Use a trash can with a lid that securely seals, preferably one with a magnetic or clip-on feature
  • Use a bungee cord to secure the trash can lid
  • Opt for a heavy or stable trash can with a wide base or a weighted bottom that’s difficult for your dog to tip over
  • Buy a dog proof trash can

Pro tip: If you have an extra smart dog, don’t get a trash can with a foot pedal!

Smart breeds like your Border Collies, Aussies and GSPs (others too, of course) can figure out that stepping onto the pedal opens the “treasure trove”.

Dog sniffing a trash can with a lid

Chocolate Toxicity Meter For Dogs

The toxicity of chocolate for dogs depends on several factors, including the type of chocolate, your dog’s size, and the amount ingested.

The substances in chocolate that are harmful to dogs are theobromine and caffeine. Theobromine is the primary concern, as dogs metabolize it more slowly than humans.

Here’s a general guide to the chocolate toxicity levels for dogs based on theobromine content:

  1. White Chocolate: White chocolate contains the least amount of theobromine and caffeine, making it the least toxic. While it’s not completely safe, it’s unlikely to cause severe poisoning.
  2. Milk Chocolate: Milk chocolate has a moderate level of theobromine. Ingesting a significant amount can lead to toxicity in dogs, especially in smaller breeds.
  3. Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate has higher theobromine levels than milk chocolate and is much more toxic to dogs. Baker’s chocolate, cocoa powder, and high-quality dark chocolates pose the greatest risk.

Here is a rough guide to the potential toxicity based on theobromine content:

  • Mild Toxicity Range:
    • 20 to 40 mg of theobromine per pound of body weight.
  • Moderate Toxicity Range:
    • 40 to 50 mg of theobromine per pound of body weight.
  • Severe Toxicity Range:
    • Over 50 mg of theobromine per pound of body weight.

Symptoms of chocolate toxicity are:

  • Tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • Restlessness
  • Increased heart rate

Check out the Chocolate Toxicity Meter here to find out how a certain amount of chocolate affects your dog!

Toxic Drinks For Dogs

  • Alcohol
  • Hot chocolate
  • Sweetened beverages
  • Coffee and tea (anything with caffeine)

Even small amounts of alcohol can lead to intoxication, vomiting, diarrhea and difficulty breathing in your dog. In severe cases, your pup can even end up in a coma or die, so DEFINITELY never give them alcohol.

Symptoms of caffeine toxicity in dogs include restlessness, increased heart rate, tremors, and in severe cases, seizures.

While some dogs do OK with cow milk, many dogs are lactose-intolerant and end up with an upset tummy when they drink milk or eat yogurt, even the plain kind.

So if you suspect that your pup doesn’t do well with cow dairy but you’d still like them to benefit from a natural dog probiotic, try raw goat’s milk!

That kind is also known as universal milk and is also great to raise orphaned puppies with.

For more information, check out my blog post on raw goat’s milk dog treats here.

Sweetened beverages, especially those than contain artificial sweeteners like xylitol, are also toxic and cause rapid insulin release, which results in hypoglycemia and potentially liver failure.

Toxic Plants For Dogs

Keep your dogs away from the following plants (spp = species):

  • Azalea (Rhododendron spp.)
  • Oleander (Nerium oleander)
  • Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta)
  • Castor Bean Plant (Ricinus communis)
  • Autumn Crocus (Colchicum autumnale)
  • Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
  • Hydrangea (Hydrangea spp.)
  • Lily (Lilium spp. and Hemerocallis spp.)
  • Philodendron (Philodendron spp.)
  • Dieffenbachia (Dieffenbachia spp.)
  • Tulip and Hyacinth Bulbs
  • Yew (Taxus spp.)

Here are some tips to help you create a pet-friendly environment, both indoors and outdoors:


  1. Choose Pet-Safe Plants: Opt for non-toxic plants when you decorate your home. Many common houseplants are safe for pets, for example spider plants, Boston ferns, and pet-safe varieties of palms.
  2. Place Plants Out of Reach: Position plants in areas that are inaccessible to your dog, for example on high shelves or hanging planters.
  3. Create Physical Barriers: Use decorative fencing or barriers to enclose plants and create designated pet-free zones. This is particularly useful for larger plants that can’t be moved easily.


  1. Research Garden Plants: Before you plant anything in your garden, research whether the plants are toxic to dogs. Choose dog-friendly plants like marigolds, sunflowers, roses and petunias for landscaping to minimize potential risks.
  2. Fence Off Toxic Plants: If you have toxic plants in your garden, consider installing a fence or barrier to keep your dog away from those specific areas. This is especially important for plants like azaleas, oleander, or lilies.
  3. Train Your Dog: Invest time in training your dog to understand boundaries. Teach commands like “leave it” and “stay” to discourage them from approaching or digging around plants.
  4. Supervise Outdoor Time: Keep a close eye on your dog while they’re in the yard. That way, you can intervene quickly.
  5. Create a Dog-Friendly Play Area: Designate a specific area of your yard as a safe space for your dog to play. Fill this area with dog-friendly toys and plants to encourage positive interactions.

Toxic Household Hazards For Dogs: Everyday Items

  • Candles
  • Tobacco
  • Essential oils
  • Automotive fluids
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Holiday decorations
  • Small tempting objects (toys, craft supplies, etc)
  • Insecticides, lawn treatments, and chemicals in general
  • Electrical cords ~ should be well secured, especially around young dogs

Tip: Make sure to get down on the floor before you bring a new pup(py) home with you! I bet you’ll find all sorts of loose items that the pup could be tempted by.

For example, hair ties, craft supplies, etc.

Toxic Household Hazards for Dogs: Pet Poison Helpline

Call the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661 to help you deal with toxic household hazards for dogs.

They’re a team of certified veterinarians & toxicology experts and are available 24/7, 365 days every year to pet owners throughout the U.S., Canada, & the Carribean.

Side note: The Pet Poison Helpline also assists in the treatment of avian, small mammals, large animal and exotic species.

Due to a lack of public funding, an $85 incident fee applies, and covers the initial consultation as well as all follow-up calls (payable by credit card).

ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center

You can also reach out to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center: (888) 426-4435.

Their toxicology hotline offers advice & treatment options 24/7, 365 days.

There is a charge of $70 per case which is charged to your credit card (you MUST have a credit card in order to be “seen”).

Human Foods OK To Share With Dogs

Heads up: As a long-time raw feeder, I add raw meat, raw meaty bones as well as raw fish to this list:

  • Carrots
  • Bananas
  • Zucchini
  • Pineapple
  • Raw meat
  • Bell peppers
  • Green beans
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Shiitake mushrooms
  • Eggs (raw or cooked)
  • Apples (without the core)
  • Olive oil (rich in Omega-3 fatty acids)
  • Air-popped popcorn with no salt or butter
  • Winter squash (rich in Omega-3 fatty acids)
  • Raw meaty bones (but NEVER cooked bones!)
  • Cranberries & blueberries (great antioxidants)
  • Pumpkin puree (helps with constipation & diarrhea)
  • Melons (Watermelon without seeds, Cantaloupe, honeydew)
  • Peanut butter w/o artificial sweeteners (high-protein treat)
  • Cottage cheese and plain yogurt in small quantities (some dogs don’t do well on cow dairy, so you could try raw goats milk instead)
  • Unseasoned oily fish (high in Omega-3 fatty acids, great for healthy skin & coat)

Veggies like zucchini, broccoli, bell peppers, shiitake mushrooms and carrots need to be fed a specific way because dogs don’t have the enzyme that breaks down plant cell walls.

Read more on how to feed veggies for dogs here.

Exceptions To The Rule

Also, keep in mind that there is always that one exception to the rule ~ not every dog tolerates any and all of the above mentioned human treats.

Some of my pups didn’t do well with lamb meat, and others can’t have chicken, salmon or cow dairy products.

It’s a matter of trial and error ~ just try out tiny bits of whatever goody you’re trying to introduce, and see how your pup does on it.

If you’re unsure about a specific ingredient, you can always do a dog allergy test with your pup.

Another less expensive, but more time-consuming, approach is a dog elimination diet.

Toxic Household Hazards for Dogs: Bottom Line

Remember that prevention is key in keeping your pups out of trouble: Don’t leave anything hazardous within your dog’s reach.

That includes making sure they can’t get into the trash.

Especially teething puppies should be provided with safe chewing options such as antlers, bully sticks and Kong toys, but many older dogs also enjoy chewing.

After all, chewing is a normal dog behavior. 

Please remember that I’d love to hear about any additional unsafe and/or safe foods for dogs in the comment section below this blog post!

Related Reading

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Barbara launched her blog K9sOverCoffee in 2014 and has been feeding her dogs raw dog food since 2015. As a former professional dog walker, she’s passionate about balancing species-appropriate exercise with healthy dog nutrition. Barbara is raw dog food nutrition certified from “Dogs Naturally Magazine” and the author of several e-books about minimally processed, balanced raw dog food.






18 responses to “Toxic Household Hazards for Dogs”

  1. Golden Daily Scoop Avatar

    Great reminders! Thanks for sharing!

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Thanks! It was a good reminder for myself while brainstorming for the post.

  2. Flea Avatar

    Wow! Comprehensive lists! Thank you!

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Thank you, Flea, glad you found them helpful!

  3. Talent Hounds Avatar
    Talent Hounds

    Great lists. It’s crazy how dangerous our houses can be.

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Thank you ~ there really are a ton of lurking dangers.

  4. Tenacious Little Terrier Avatar
    Tenacious Little Terrier

    I went to a first aid workshop for pets and they told us that in the Pacific Northwest, compost is a big danger as well. Because mold grows on it and then the dogs eat it.

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      That’s an excellent point!! Thank you for sharing it!

  5. Chelsea Price Avatar
    Chelsea Price

    I didn’t realize there were so many dangerous plants – yikes! Super helpful post; thank you!

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Thanks so much, Chelsea! I love the idea of asking for a pet-safe bouquet when sending a pet owner flowers!

  6. Jackie Bouchard Avatar
    Jackie Bouchard

    Great post. I’m sure lots of folks don’t realize so many things around the house can be dangerous! Luckily Rita barely eats most foods – she’s SO picky, so I’m not too worried about her eating anything weird. Sometimes it’s good to have a super picky dog!

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Thank you ~ your Rita girl sounds like one smart pup 😉

  7. Jennifer Costello Avatar
    Jennifer Costello

    What a great and important list! Xylitol is one that we found a lot of people aren’t aware of and one of the reasons why my kids were never allowed to have gum that contained it.

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Thank you, Jennifer! Yes, great point & reminder about Xylitol!! Thank you!

  8. Kate Obrien Avatar
    Kate Obrien

    Thanks for the comprehensive list…I hate that there are so many things that are so harmful.

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Thank you, Kate, there really seems to be something in every area of the house/garage. I thought of something else that I hadn’t considered before: make-up!

  9. Cathy C Bennett Avatar
    Cathy C Bennett

    Incredible list. Will definitely share this post,most informative, and since there are so many things to be aware of – everyone should know. Thanks for putting this together!

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Thank you so much for your positive feedback, Cathy, and for sharing the post 🙂

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