Blog Post

Common Dog Poisons and What to be Aware of

Unfortunately there are many things around the home, in the garden and on walks that can harm your dog and which are potentially poisonous to them.  

Because we cannot tell our canine companions to avoid these things, it is down to us to do what we can to prevent them from getting their paws on them!

This list does not represent a complete list of all poisonous plants and household items and is only intended as a guide. Please contact your veterinary surgeon for advice or treatment immediately if you think your pet has eaten any of the following plants or objects and is showing any worrying symptoms or any symptoms listed below. 

Just like people; animals can also have an allergy or sensitivity to specific item, it may have no connection with its general toxicity, so always be vigilant and seek help from a veterinarian if you are worried about your pet’s health.

Here is a list of common potentially poisonous household and common human foods, followed by a list of plants and garden substances commonly found in and around the home 

Household items

  • Batteries – can cause mouth and stomach ulcers
  • Aspirin – can cause vomiting and diarrhoea, dehydration and abdominal pain 
  • Ibroprofen and Nurofen – can cause vomiting and diarrhoea possibly with blood in, weight loss and stomach ulcers 
  • Bleach – can cause gastrointestinal ulcers 
  • White spirit/barbeque lighter fluid – can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea and lethargy  
  • Antifreeze – nausea, vomiting, excessive urination, delirium, lethargy and depression 
  • Wallpaper paste (low toxicity) – if ingested in large quantities can cause gastrointestinal ulcers and stomach pain 
  • Human oral contraceptives (low toxicity) if consumed in large quantities can cause stomach upset

Human foods

  • Chocolate – can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, restlessness and seizures
  • Onions and garlic – can cause stomach upset and red blood cell damage if eaten in large quantities
  • Alcohol – can cause vomiting and diarrhoea, tremors, difficulty breathing, decreased coordination and coma
  • Grapes and raisins – can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and kidney failure 
  • Avocados – can cause vomiting and diarrhoea, difficulty breathing and fluid accumulation around the heart 

Plants and substances commonly found in the garden 

  • Daffodil bulbs – drooling, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and increased heart rate 
  • Elderberry – upset stomach nausea and vomiting
  • Hibiscus – upset stomach , drooling and dehydration
  • Holly berry- inappetance, vomiting and diarrhoea 
  • Bracken – can cause blood in faeces, bruising and anaemia 
  • Lilies – can cause stomach upset, tremors and anorexia
  • Tulips – nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and increased respiratory rate 

What you can do 

Many people carry medications around in bags that they use on a daily basis - when at home; don't forget to keep these out of reach of your pet and keep your bag zipped up or out of reach, as an inquisitive dog who discovers a box of tablets, foil packaging or a bottle of medication may be inclined to play with it and eat it. Keep medication stored away in high/out of reach cupboards and never leave opened packages on the side. 

With regards to foods, be aware of scraps falling on the floor or what food is left on the side. Always try to store your food in cupboards and refrigerators and be aware what surfaces your dog can potentially jump up onto. 

With regards to dangerous plants – be aware of the areas you are walking in – and what plants grow there. Always keep an eye on what your dog is sniffing by and potentially ingesting on his walks. 

How to use this information

The information is intended to be used to prevent poisoning by raising awareness of certain poisons, rather than as a document to be used in an emergency. If you suspect that your dog has been poisoned, or has come into contact with potentially poisonous substances, contact your local veterinary practice immediately. For further advice on what to do in a poisoning emergency – please see my other blog: How to deal with a pet emergency

The lists of poisons in this information guide are not complete. If an item is not mentioned in this guide it should not be assumed that it is not poisonous. Further advice on substances that could harm your dog could be sought from your local veterinary practice.


Student Veterinary Nurse