Poisons & Toxins

Due to their natural curiosity and their tendency to consume anything they come across, dogs are at a high risk for accidental poisoning. 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 poison, call your veterinarian at once. The longer the poison is in the dog’s system, the more extensive the damage. These are some common poisons and their effects:

Insecticides and paraise medication. Flea and tick sprays, shampoos, and collars, and worm medications must be used according to directions. Signs of overuse of these chemicals are trembling and weakness, drooling, vomiting, and loss of bowel control.

Rodent poisons. Most rat poisons thin the blood so it is unable to clot. Making the dog vomit (ask your vet how to do this) before 30 minutes have elapsed will usually get rid of most 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. You can give antacids – approximately two teaspoons per five pounds of body weight – to temporarily counteract acids. For alkali ingestion, use one part vinegar to four parts water, and administer as you would antacids.

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 the veterinarian immediately. To prevent accidental ingestion, use an animal-safe antifreeze in your vehicles.

Common Household Poisons

  • Acetaminophen
  • Antifreeze and other car fluids
  • Bleach
  • Boric acid
  • Cleaning fluid
  • Deodorants
  • Deodorizers
  • Detergents
  • Disinfectants
  • Drain cleaners
  • Furniture polish
  • Gasoline
  • Hair colorings
  • Weed killers
  • Insecticides
  • Kerosene
  • Matches
  • Mothballs
  • Nail polish and remover
  • Paint
  • Prescription medicine
  • Rat poison
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Shoe polish
  • Sleeping pills
  • Snail or slug bait
  • Turpentine
  • Windshield-wiper fluid


Poisonous Plants

May cause vomiting and diarrhea:

  • Castor bean
  • Soap berry
  • Ground Cherry
  • Skunk Cabbage
  • Daffodil
  • Delphinium
  • Foxglove
  • Larkspur
  • Indian Tobacco
  • Indian Turnip
  • Poke weed
  • Bittersweet woody
  • Wisteria

May cause vomiting, abdominal pain and/or diarrhea:

  • Almond
  • Apricot
  • Wild Cherry
  • Balsam Pear
  • Japanese Plum
  • Bird of Paradise bush
  • Horse Chestnut (Buckeye)
  • English Holly
  • Black Locust
  • Mock Orange
  • Privet
  • Rain Tree (Monkey Pod)
  • American Yew
  • English Yew
  • Western Yew

May cause varied reactions:

  • Mescal bean
  • Mushrooms (if also toxic to humans)
  • Sunburned potatoes
  • Rhubarb
  • Spinach
  • Tomato vine
  • Buttercup
  • Dologeton
  • Poison Hemlock
  • Water Hemlock
  • Jasmine
  • Loco weed
  • Lupine
  • Matrimony Vine
  • May Apple
  • Moonseed
  • Nightshade
  • Angel’s Trumpet

May act as hallucinogens:

  • Marijuana

May cause convulsions:

  • China berry
  • Coriaria
  • Moonweed
  • Nux vomica
  • Water Hemlock

© 2014 American Kennel Club


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