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21 Dog Health Hazards Lurking in Your Home and Garden

Any loving dog owner will know that having an open trashcan accessible to your pup is a recipe for disaster, as both your poor doggo’s health and the integrity of your kitchen will suffer in the aftermath. At the same time, many dog owners have no idea that sugar-free chewing gum, scented candles, and portable heaters are equally, if not more toxic to their beloved pet. Do you have anything in your home or garden that could be poisonous to your canine friend? Look through this list of 21 common household items toxic to dogs to find out, and if so, get rid of it asap or keep it as far from your pet’s reach as you possibly can.

1. Coffee

Dog Health Hazards in Home and Garden dog sniffing biscuits
Caffeine may make you more energized and ready to greet the day in the morning, but it doesn't have the same effect on your dog. In fact, both cats and dogs are more sensitive to caffeine than people, and it is toxic to them. Keep all caffeinated drinks, as well as tea bags and coffee grounds as far away from your pets as possible, as even a small amount of the stuff can make them restless, cause fever and vomiting, or even tremors.

2. Foxtails

Dog Health Hazards in Home and Garden Foxtails
While it's probably impossible to guard your dog against foxtails altogether since they're so common, at least try to get rid of them regularly in your own yard. The problem with these plants is that the seeds that are covered in spiky shells can get stuck in your pet's fur, in their paws, and in various crevices. Once stuck, they're very difficult to find and get out, and so they often cause infections, even severe ones. Both cats and dogs can be affected, and pets were even found to eat the plant, which subsequently doesn't get digested and causes blockages and infections in the digestive system.

3. Scented Candles and Other Home Fragrances

Dog Health Hazards in Home and Garden person holding a candle
Artificial scents, as well as some strong essential oils, can really irritate the nose, eyes, and lungs of your beloved pets. Remember, their sensory organs are a lot more sensitive than yours, so they will be more susceptible to strong scents. Things like scented candles, air fresheners, incense, and liquid potpourri may affect their health, causing mouth sores. When choosing a home fragrance, opt for milder scents and ask if the product is pet-safe before purchasing. 

4. Macadamia Nuts

Dog Health Hazards in Home and Garden Macadamia Nuts
Dogs are the only known species sensitive to macadamia nuts. Vets aren't sure what causes the toxicity, but dogs exhibit symptoms like weakness, vomiting, fever, muscle tremors and depression after ingesting even the smallest quantity of these nuts. Note that many cookies and sweet treats contain macadamia nuts, which is another reason not to share any of your own treats with your pup.

5. Fertilizer

Dog Health Hazards in Home and Garden mulch
When you're gardening, try not to include your dog in the fun, as they might snatch a piece or two of your gardening supplies, thinking it's a delicious treat, which can be really dangerous. Some fertilizers and cocoa mulch are all potential hazards to dogs. Vets advise that it's best to opt-out of using chemical fertilizers altogether, as dogs are often allergic to them and can develop skin rashes when they come in contact with chemically treated grass or other plants.

6. Batteries

Dog Health Hazards in Home and Garden Batteries
Those shiny batteries look so chewable to your dog, which is exactly the main issue since batteries contain corrosive acids that can cause mouth ulcers and throat and stomach issues in dogs.

7. Grapes and Raisins

Dog Health Hazards in Home and Garden Grapes
You get the picture: no cookies allowed for your dog, period. Grapes, too, are incredibly toxic and potentially fatal for dogs, as they can cause renal failure in canines. The same goes for raisins, which are just dried grapes.

8. Electronic Cigarettes

Dog Health Hazards in Home and Garden Electronic Cigarettes
Electronic cigarettes aren't even good for people, but they're ten times as dangerous to your dog than they are to you. There have been several recorded cases of dogs ingesting e-cigarette liquids (no wonder, they all smell so delicious), some of which were fatal.

9. Chocolate

Dog Health Hazards in Home and Garden Chocolate
Chocolate, too, contains caffeine, especially dark chocolate that has a high concentration of cocoa, but it also has theobromine in it, which is also very toxic to dogs. That's why even the tiniest amount of chocolate can put your dog's life at risk.

10. Antifreeze

Dog Health Hazards in Home and Garden Antifreeze
Keep antifreeze as far away from your dog as you can, as they will want to try it. This is because some varieties of the product smell and taste sweet to dogs, and they might be tempted to try it. Needless to say, ingesting this chemical can be very bad for your pet's health, as it may cause kidney failure.

11. Rodenticide

Dog Health Hazards in Home and Garden Rodenticide
Rat poison is made to smell delicious to rats, that's why they eat it. Unfortunately, dogs don't shy away from the tasty smelling poison either, which is why you should never dispense rodent poison in areas accessible to dogs.

12. Certain Adhesives

Dog Health Hazards in Home and Garden Certain Adhesives
Polyurethane adhesives, too, are extremely dangerous if ingested by your dog, as these will expand in the animal's stomach or esophagus and will cause a blockage. That's why you should never leave your pet alone with any chemicals. Better safe than sorry. 

13. Alcohol

Dog Health Hazards in Home and Garden dog and beer
Image Source: Les Chatfield/ Flickr
Alcohol has the same adverse effect on your dog's health it has on yours, but multiplied, as dogs are more sensitive to it than humans. Dogs that ingest alcohol will develop liver and kidney diseases, as well as acidosis or even cardiac arrest.

14. Insecticide

Dog Health Hazards in Home and Garden Insecticide
Like rodenticides, insecticides, too, will make your dog sick. Mothballs, sprays and similar products will all affect your dog's health, so we highly recommend you avoid using those in a home with pets.

15. Detergents and Cleaning Products

Dog Health Hazards in Home and Garden Cleaning Products
Image Source: Marco Verch/ Flickr
Cleaning products, such as bleach, window cleaners, floor cleaning solutions, tide pods, and detergents should be kept behind locked doors in a home with pets. These products can look and smell very pleasant to your pet and they will be tempted to try them, but even a tiny amount is very poisonous to their system.

16. Onions and Garlic

Dog Health Hazards in Home and Garden Onions and Garlic
Allium vegetables, such as garlic and onions, are the last dangerous food item we will discuss in this article. Onions especially are life-threatening to dogs, so don't share any foods that contain those with your canine. Note that there are other foods dogs cannot tolerate as well. To get a full list of foods dangerous to dogs to follow this link: Can My Dog Eat That?

17. Portable Heaters

Dog Health Hazards in Home and Garden Portable Heater
Like many other items on this list, portable heaters are a health hazard for all your pets, not just dogs, as your pets may not be as careful around the hot heater as you are, which can result in injuries and burns.

18. Sugar-Free Chewing Gum or Candy

Dog Health Hazards in Home and Garden Chewing Gum
Many sugar-free gums and candies contain an artificial sweetener called xylitol, which is beneficial for human health, as it was suggested to reduce cavities in humans. However, the same sweetener is very toxic for your dog, as canines develop liver failure and fatal hypoglycemia after ingesting xylitol. The best scenario is that your dog will have to be hospitalized for several days after ingesting xylitol, but it can, unfortunately, also be fatal.

19. Medication

Dog Health Hazards in Home and Garden Medication
Keep all your meds in the medicine cabinet hidden away from your pets and don't leave any medication, both human and intended for animals lying around on the table, couch or counter. Needless to say, overdosing on any medication can have tragic results.

20. Certain Plants

Dog Health Hazards in Home and Garden ivy
Cats and dogs munch on everything, your plants included. That's why you should always curate both your indoor plants or outdoor plants carefully, as some of them may be incredibly toxic for your pets. The ones that are the most dangerous and potentially life-threatening to dogs include:
  • Ivy
  • Sago palm
  • Lilies
  • Aloe
  • Daffodils
  • Jade plant 
  • Dumb cane
  • Tulips
  • Holly
  • Philodendron
  • Devil’s ivy, and others. 

21. Rawhide Chews 

Dog Health Hazards in Home and Garden dog eating a Rawhide Chew
This may surprise you, but the healthy treat you're giving your dog can turn into a health hazard very rapidly. Rawhide chews are the perfect breeding ground for many harmful microorganisms, such as Salmonella, which can be spread to your dog and all over your home if you're not careful. Replace these regularly and store them in a dry cool place to avoid contamination.
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