6 Things You May Not Have Realized are Poisonous to Your Dog

6 Things You May Not Have Realized are Poisonous to Your Dog

As dog owners, there’s nothing we care about more than keeping our pets healthy and safe. March 17th-24th is National Poison Prevention Week, and we’re highlighting some of the common things in your household that you may not have realized are poisonous to your dog. From foods to houseplants to common household items, there are probably many things around your house that are potentially toxic to your pup. 

Onions and Garlic

Onions and garlic are some of the most delicious and widely used flavors in everyday dishes. How many times have you fed your dog a scrap of steak or chicken that may have been seasoned with these? Probably too many times to count. Unfortunately, onions and garlic contain a substance called N-propyl disulfide, something that dog’s bodies are unable to process. This substance damages your dog’s hemoglobin, which is responsible for carrying oxygen in their bloodstream. While the effects may not be evident right away, long term exposure to this toxin can cause your dog to develop anemia and organ damage/failure. It’s best to not feed your dog anything containing onions or garlic.

Grapes and Raisins

Grapes and raisins, regardless of the variety, can cause kidney failure in dogs. This includes things like currants and grape juice, no matter how small the quantity. While the exact reason these are so toxic to dogs is currently unknown, avoid feeding your dog any of these fruits at all costs. Signs and symptoms of grape toxicity include loss of appetite, lethargy, weakness, vomiting/diarrhea (often within a few hours), dehydration, increased thirst, and kidney failure. If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms after consuming grapes or raisins, contact your vet immediately. Getting treatment quickly can be the difference between life and death for your pup.

Aloe Vera

The common plant used to relieve sunburn for humans after a day at the beach is toxic for dogs! Aloe contains anthraquinone glycosides, a naturally occurring medicine that encourages bowel movements. When eaten, it forms compounds that increase mucus production and water in the colon, resulting in vomiting and diarrhea. But don’t fret, it’s not life-threatening if your dog consumes it and it is only mildly to moderately toxic. If your dog does consume aloe vera, look for signs like vomiting/diarrhea, changes in urine and lethargy. Take them to the vet as soon as you notice these symptoms.


Yup, the one that you decorate the house with around the holidays. It includes a wide variety of chemicals and compounds that are toxic to dogs, including caffeine and theobromine. Although the plant is only mildly toxic to dogs, it can still cause things like vomiting and diarrhea, pain and swelling in the mouth, excessive drooling, and loss of appetite. Contact your vet for guidance on how to treat your dog if they ingest holly and exhibit these signs or symptoms. Treatment typically involves inducing vomiting, flushing the dog’s mouth of any leftover plant material, and providing plenty of freshwater.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are becoming more and more popular for both aromatherapy and homeopathic remedies for common ailments. While they may seem to work well for humans, they don’t work so well for dogs. Diffusing essential oils in the air can be overwhelming for an animal’s hyperactive systems, and can cause abnormal behavior in dogs. At the same time, applying essential oils directly to their skin can also have an adverse effect. The chemicals in essential oils are rapidly absorbed into your dog’s system and metabolized by the liver. This can lead to health issues for puppies and young dogs, dogs with liver disease, and elderly dogs. Some of the most toxic essential oils to your dog include clove, juniper, garlic, rosemary, tea tree, thyme, and wintergreen.


Acetaminophen is a common pain reliever found in over-the-counter medications like Tylenol. When ingested, acetaminophen can cause irreparable liver damage to your dog. Signs of acetaminophen toxicity can develop within 1 to 4 hours after ingestion, and include brown or gray colored gums, difficulty or labored breathing, swollen face, neck or limbs, reduced body temperature, vomiting, jaundice and coma. If you believe your dog is suffering from acetaminophen toxicity, treat it as an emergency situation. Contact your vet immediately, they’ll do blood work to determine the level of toxicity and work with you to provide the necessary treatment.

Hopefully, we have made you aware of some very common household items that could be poisonous to your dog so that it will be top of mind to watch your pup when using these items.

As always if you need pet sitting or dog walking in the Elk Grove area, Karla’s Pet Care is ready to help!




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