10 Household Items to Keep Away From Your Dog at All Costs


May 16 2023, Published 5:28 p.m. ET

A Basset Hound at the vet's office.
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Dogs are more than man’s best friend. They are part of your family and a never-ending source of unconditional love. You make sure to feed them right and do whatever you can to protect them and keep them healthy. However, you may not know that some everyday household items in your home could prove fatal to your precious pooch.

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What household items can kill a dog instantly?

Several household items are extremely toxic to dogs and could kill them if they were to ingest them. Here are 10 things you should ensure your dog doesn’t get into, or it could have deadly consequences. If you suspect your dog consumes any of the items on this list — or anything else you are concerned about — don't hesitate, and bring them into the vet immediately.

A little dog looks into a girl's bowl of food.
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1. Antifreeze

Dogs may be drawn to antifreeze because of its sweet taste, but even a lick of the chemical can be fatal. Ethylene glycol, the key ingredient in anti-freeze, can damage your dog's kidneys and even cause kidney failure. There is an antidote for antifreeze poisoning, but it must be administered within 8 to 12 hours after your dog ingests it.

2. Rat poison

You may have rat poison at home to help take care of a rodent problem. But if your dog gets into that poison or chews on a mouse that died, it can also kill them. Rodent poisons have different toxic ingredients, so if you suspect your dog got into the poison, take the poison container with you to the vet so they know how to treat your dog.

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3. Slug bait

If you live in an area with slugs, you should keep the slug bait away from your pup. Slug bait contains metaldehyde which can be fatal to your dog. Symptoms of metaldehyde poisoning may include panting, vomiting, seizures, and tremors.

A garden snail.
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4. Cleaning products

Cleaning products that contain ammonia, chlorine, glycol ethers, or formaldehyde can be toxic for your dog. There are several non-toxic, pet-safe cleaning products available that you can use that don’t have these ingredients in them.

5. Xylitol

Xylitol is a sugar substitute often used in gum, mints, and even toothpaste. While it isn’t harmful to humans, Xylitol can be highly toxic to dogs. It can cause dangerously low blood sugar or liver failure in your dog.

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6. Certain medicines

Tylenol, or acetaminophen, may be a great pain reliever for you if you have a headache or other pain, but you should never give it to your dog. Acetaminophen is toxic to dogs and can cause liver damage.

Dog in the kitchen waiting for scraps.
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7. Onions and garlic

When the dog is at your feet in the kitchen, waiting for scraps to fall on the floor while you are making dinner, make sure they don’t get any onions or garlic. Those items contain thiosulphate, a chemical that can severely damage your dog’s red blood cells and causes life-threatening anemia. Even onion and garlic powders can affect your dog’s blood cells.

8. Avocados

Everything about the avocado – the fruit, seed, and leaves – is poisonous to your dog. Avocados contain the toxin persin, which can cause fluid to accumulate in the dog's lungs and chest, leading to breathing difficulties.

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Dog eating a cupcake.
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9. Chocolate

Chocolate is dangerous for your dog, and some types can be fatal if your dog ingests it. The worst chocolate for your dog is dark chocolate or baking chocolate because, they have higher levels of theobromine, which is toxic for dogs.

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10. Grapes and raisins

Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs if ingested. It’s unknown what substance in grapes and raisins is so toxic to dogs, but the effects they have on a dog’s renal system are documented in several studies.

Again, make sure to keep all these items safely away from where your dog can get to them — and if your dog does accidentally consume anything concerning, consult your vet ASAP.

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