Top 10 Things That Can Poison Your Dog

Many things can poison your dog. Some of these things may be surprising. It's important to know the regular signs of poisoning, and some of the most common poisons to your dog:


This is the number one cause of pet poisonings, whether a bottle of medication was knocked on the floor and eaten, or a concerned owner trying to help only to overdose. It is crucial to keep all medication away and out of accessibility. Never give your dog human mediation without consulting your vet first. Symptoms may vary, but typically include dilated eyes, vomiting/diarrhea, confusion, and irregular breathing/heartbeat, seizures, coma, and death.


Sweet smelling rat poisons that are meant to attract rodents also attract your dog. Insecticides can also be easily accessed by your dog nosing around in the garden, and his flea/tick collar can make him sick if he chews on it. It is crucial you keep rat bait in inaccessible places to your dog, and monitor him if he wears a flea/tick collar or is in the garden. Pesticide poisoning symptoms include: Fatigue, pale gums, internal bleeding, nosebleeds, blood in urine/stool, excessive drooling, breathing difficulty, muscle tremors, and death.

Antifreeze & Other Chemicals

These contain sweet-tasting ethylene glycol, among other dangerous chemicals, highly fatal to pets even in the smallest amounts. Keep all chemicals out of canine reach. Symptoms of ingestion include vomiting/diarrhea, dilated eyes, depression, increased thirst, kidney failure, seizures, irregular heartbeat/breathing, coma, and death.

Household & Garden Plants

Most plants in large amounts can be potentially toxic. These common flowers are particularly dangerous: amaryllis, aconite, azalea, belladonna, buckeye, foxgloves, hyacinth, hydrangea, ivy, all species of lily, night shade, rhododendron, tulip, and yew. Symptoms of ingestion include: dilated eyes, vomiting/diarrhea, irritation around mouth, swelling of the mouth and throat, excessive drooling, excessive thirst, irregular heartbeat/breathing, muscle tremors, seizures, coma, and death.


Theobromine, a chemical similar to caffeine, cannot be easily metabolized by animals. Depending on the type of chocolate and your pet's size reveals how much can be deadly. Just one square of baker's chocolate is fatal to a 10 lb dog, and 2 squares are deadly to a 20 lb dog. Signs include vomiting/diarrhea, irregular heartbeat, hyperactivity, muscle tremors, seizures, cardiac arrest, and death.


Even so much as a drop of beer can cause intoxication. However, alcohol poisoning doesn't come from just alcoholic beverages, but also vanilla extract, and raw bread dough. The fermented yeast of swallowed dough can cause not only alcohol poisoning, but also bloat or intestinal rupture. Symptoms include: disorientation, vomiting/diarrhea, seizure, coma, swollen stomach, seizures, coma, and death.

Onions & Garlic

Ingested in large amounts can be fatal. A chemical found in these foods, thiosulphate, causes the red blood cells in the blood stream to rupture, resulting in anemia. Baby food containing onion powder has killed puppies. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, vomiting, weakness, irregular heartbeat, and jaundice.


This artificial sweetener is found in sugarless candy and gum and can be potentially deadly to your dog as his blood sugar rapidly drops. Symptoms include fatigue, staggering, irregular heartbeat/breathing, seizures, coma, and death.

Grapes and Raisins

Just a handful of either can be fatal to some dogs. Symptoms include vomiting/diarrhea, foamy/bloody urine, irregular heartbeat/breathing, restlessness, kidney failure, and death.


All products of the avocado plant are poisonous to canines, including avocado fruit and guacamole dip made from it. It destroys the heart muscle and other tissues, including the lungs. Signs of poisoning include difficulty breathing, irregular heartbeat, swollen abdomen, fluid build up around the heart, seizures, coma, and death.

Typical dog reactions to poison:

  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Dilated pupils
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pale gums
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Muscle tremors
  • Bloody/painful urination or defecation
  • Bleeding from any orifice

If your dog has any of these symptoms, it is crucial you get your pet to the vet immediately or contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435. If you suspect your pet has eaten something toxic, never wait for the symptoms to develop.