Tips for preventing accidental poisoning in the home

Posted by Laura Greenland on

As devoted pet owners, we cherish our canine companions as part of the family – we couldn’t be without them! As responsible pet parents, it's important to be aware of some of the everyday items we keep in our homes that could pose a threat to our dearest furry friends. With tempting chocolates, beautiful plants and cleaning products, our homes can hold potential dangers for our dogs. 

It can be easy to overlook some of our more common household items, but for our furry friends, some of these can pose serious threats. Awareness is the key to keeping our dogs safe from accidental poisoning. By familiarising ourselves with these hazards and taking proactive steps to mitigate risks, we can ensure that our homes remain a haven of health and happiness.

In this blog, we're going to look into the importance of pet poison prevention, so that our home is a safe space for all members of our family. We'll explore common household items that can harm dogs and provide practical tips for preventing accidental poisoning. 

Below are a few common household items to be mindful of:

Chocolate and other sweets

While chocolate may be a delightful treat for humans, it contains theobromine, an ingredient which is toxic to dogs, leading to symptoms like vomiting, diarrhoea, and sometimes even seizures. Similarly, sweets containing xylitol, which is a common sugar substitute, can cause a rapid drop in blood sugar levels and result in liver failure in dogs. But that doesn’t mean treats are off limits, instead stick to dog-friendly choices such as these dog-friendly bakery options or some meaty treats and chews.

Household plants

Despite being a beautiful part of our home, many common household plants such as lilies, daffodils and ivy can be toxic to dogs if ingested, causing symptoms ranging from gastrointestinal upset to organ damage or failure. When it comes to buying new indoor plants or bouquets of flowers, opt for non-toxic varieties. Check the labels before you buy, or you can look them up online to be sure they are pet-safe. Finally, be sure to keep any toxic plants already in the home well out of reach.


Both over the counter and prescription medicines can pose significant risks to dogs if consumed, with symptoms varying depending on the type and dosage ingested. These can include lethargy, seizures, and in worst cases, a coma. Keep all medications, even food supplements such as vitamins or protein powders, stored safely away from curious paws. It’s also really important to never self-medicate your dog at home - always seek the advice of a veterinary professional. 

Cleaning products

We know that many household cleaners often contain harsh chemicals like bleach, ammonia, and phenols. Although mostly safe for use by us, these can cause irritation to a dog's skin, eyes, and respiratory tract if airborne particles are particularly irritant. Accidental ingestion can also lead to severe gastrointestinal distress or poisoning. Again, keep these locked away, and be mindful of what chemicals you are choosing to use in your home. There are now more pet-friendly products and options available, to keep our spaces clean and healthy for all who live there. Consider switching to natural cleaning solutions to keep your home clean without exposing your dog to harmful chemicals.

Miscellaneous hazards

Other common household items like antifreeze, insecticides, and certain human foods such as grapes, raisins, and onions can also be extremely toxic to dogs. Be mindful when preparing food and taking snacks on walks and be sure to clean up any dropped food to avoid any opportunistic munching.

Taking the time to pet-proof your home by minimising potential hazards will help create a safe environment where your dog can live healthy and happily. 

These include:  

  • Store hazardous items securely. Keep medications, cleaning products, and other toxic substances out of reach and stored away. 
  • Be mindful of food access. Avoid leaving common snacks such as chocolates, sweets, nuts, and other harmful foods accessible to your dog. 
  • Pick up any dropped food to avoid tempting nosey noses.
  • Check the labels. Read labels carefully to identify potential toxins in household products and plants. 
  • Explore more natural, safe cleaning solutions and recipes.
  • Safe disposal of hazardous items. Be aware to dispose of these properly to prevent accidental ingestion, make sure the item is placed securely out of paws reach. 
  • Educate yourself. Know the signs of poisoning and what to do in case of emergency. Dogs have a very keen sense of smell and could easily find that lost sweet under the sofa. 
  • Seek veterinary help. Keep your vet details up to date, so you can act quickly if you suspect your dog has ingested something harmful. 

We are a nation of dog-lovers, and along with our love, we have a responsibility to protect our pups from harm, especially in our shared home environment. By keeping ourselves informed about ingredients and household hazards, and by implementing simple yet effective precautions, we can reduce the risk of accidental poisoning. Keeping a safe and healthy home goes hand-in-paw with prioritising our dog’s wellbeing, ensuring they can live their happiest, healthiest lives alongside us. 

Here's to many more hazard-free tail wags and cuddles!


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