11 Common Household Items That Are Toxic to Dogs

A beagle or hound dog looking sick and under the weather.

Dogs will eat the darnedest things, and many of these things can cause them serious harm. This article is dedicated to some common household items that are toxic to dogs that you may not even know you have around your home. In fact, some common household items are so toxic to dogs — and so attractive to dogs — that I recommend that they never be present in homes with dogs.

If you own a dog, I recommend that you don’t keep these six things that are toxic to dogs in your house — at all:

A beagle about to eat some chocolate croissants.
Chocolate is highly toxic to dogs, so make sure you dog does not have access to it. Photography by Katie_Martynova/Thinkstock.

1. Sugar-free gum and candy

Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is purported to have actual health benefits in humans. For instance, it supposedly reduces cavities in people that use it in place of sugar. Dogs, however, reap no health benefits from xylitol whatsoever. In fact, xylitol can cause fatal hypoglycemia and liver failure in dogs. Dogs exposed to the stuff might require several days in the hospital for dextrose supplementation — and then might still suffer from fatal liver failure. I therefore recommend that dog owners keep their houses free of sugarless gums and candies containing xylitol.

2. Grapes and raisins

Although I’m a bit skeptical of xylitol’s human health benefits, I will concede that grapes and raisins are healthy and nutritious for us. Sadly, the same is not exactly true for canines. These fruits have been associated with lethal kidney failure in dogs. It is not clear whether the unidentified toxin is in the fruit itself, or whether it is produced by a mold that grows on the fruit, or something else altogether. What is clear is that some dogs will be in big trouble if they eat grapes or raisins. I recommend that your house be free of them, including the especially attractive (to dogs, and to me) raisin bread.

3. Pest-control products

Household pests certainly are nuisances. Gophers dig up the yard, snails and slugs destroy gardens, and mice and rats cause damage and contamination wherever they go. But the poisons designed to kill these pests also can kill dogs. Gopher bait liberates phosphide gas into dogs’ intestines, causing intestinal necrosis. A painful death can follow. Snail and slug bait causes tremors and seizures — again, a painful death can occur. Rat and mouse bait either contains products that prevent coagulation — leading to life-threatening hemorrhage — or a product that causes brain swelling and death due to neurological complications. An antidote exists for the hemorrhage-causing products, but they are being phased out in favor of the product that…

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