14 Common Household Hazards

14 Common Household Hazards

We all know how it goes; you adopt an adorable dog, care is taken in purchasing all they need, you puppy-proof the place. But over time, the protective measure of clearing away all that is dangerous for dogs can slip. And there are many dangers you might just be unaware of. Here, we look at 14 common household hazards to help you protect your precious pooch.

1. Batteries

Be sure to store and dispose of used batteries with care. They contain highly toxic alkaline, which can cause burns and internal bleeding. Look out for vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite and signs of abdominal pain.

2. Coolant

Store antifreeze and coolants safely out of the way in a place that your dog, or any of your pets, can’t access. Symptoms include drooling, vomiting, diarrhoea, thirst, unsteadiness, seizures, signs of abdominal pain and collapse.

3. Disinfectant and Detergent

These can cause internal bleeding and mouth and throat ulcers. Be particularly wary of dishwasher tablets —  the bright colours and compact shape make them appealing chews for dogs.

4. Fertiliser

The toxic affect of fertiliser in dogs include vomiting, diarrhoea and elevated heart rate. Some fertilisers contain a pesticide additive, see below.

5. Glue

Though unappealing to us humans, your dog may think otherwise. Some glues may be harmless, but others can make your pooch unwell. An added danger with glues, particularly with quick dry glues like super glue, is that they may harden in airways causing an obstruction to breathing or choking, or on their skin, resulting in the risk of skin tearing and infection. Veterinary advice is highly recommended.

6. Human Foods

There are many foods that dogs should not eat, with reactions that vary to mild tummy upset to lethal poisoning. We still don’t really understand the whys and hows of these foods’ toxicity to dogs, but do try to store the following well out of your doggy’s reach. Foods to watch out for include:

Avocados – Some dogs are more susceptible than others to the persin found in avocados. Not only that, but the seed is a choking hazard. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea or constipation and signs of abdominal pain.

Chocolate contains theobromine, which dogs can not metabolise. Chocolate also contains caffeine. Though not often fatal, a dog that is sensitive to theobromine may suffer from this chemical’s stimulant effects. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, thirst, loss of bladder control, muscle trembling and at worst, heart failure.

Caffeine – Dogs are a lot more sensitive to the stimulating effects of caffeine than we are. Symptoms range from vomiting and restlessness to seizures, coma and even death.

Macadamia nuts are highly toxic for dogs. Signs of poisoning include diarrhoea, vomiting, fever, weakness, muscle trembling and paralysis.

Onions including leeks, shallots, garlic and chives contain an organic sulfur compound which at worst can cause hemolysis — the breakdown of red blood cells in dogs. The signs to watch out for include diarrhoea, vomiting, weakness, pale gums, yellow eyes and collapse.

Grapes, sultanas, raisins and currants can damage a dog’s kidneys, and at worst, cause kidney failure. Look out for vomiting, loss of appetite, weakness and signs of abdominal pain.

Xylitol is becoming increasingly available in foods such as chewing gum and sweets. Xylitol is an alcohol sugar that can be fatal for dogs. Symptoms include vomiting, weakness and muscle trembling.

7. Lead

Watch out for old, peeling paint, which once contained dangerous levels of lead. Signs to watch out for include vomiting, diarrhoea, weakness, seizures, muscle trembling and signs of abdominal pain.

8. Magnets

Magnets can wreak havoc in the intestines, and can cause obstructions and pain if attracted to one another in the wrong places, in the worst case causing tissue damage, loss of blood flow or perforation of the intestine. The ramifications of a perforation are complex and will require surgery, so the sooner you seek help for ingested magnets the better. If the magnet is small, it may pass through, with or without intervention. Look out for signs of abdominal pain.

9. Medications

Both human and dog medication can be seriously toxic to dogs. If you aren’t sure how much your pup has ingested, immediate veterinary help is needed.

10. Mushrooms

Scan your yard periodically for growing mushrooms. Some varieties are highly toxic to dogs. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, weakness, seizures, signs of jaundice, signs of abdominal pain and coma. If you can, take a sample of the mushroom in question to the vet for immediate help.

11. Pesticides and Mothballs

Pesticides harm more than the bugs they are aimed at. Dogs, and other pets, are also susceptible to pesticide poisoning, especially of they have escaped into an area you have treated with pesticides, or have found a stash of old mothballs. Symptoms of pesticide poisoning include drooling, vomiting, diarrhoea, seizures, muscle trembling and an elevated heart rate.

12. Plants

There are a number of garden and house plants found in Australia that are toxic to dogs and other pets, and they need to be removed from their domain. These include the crocus, azaleas, peace lily, tulips, daffodils, sago palm (particularly its seeds), oleander, cyclamen and belladonna. Symptoms include drooling, vomiting, diarrhoea, seizures, low blood pressure and heart failure.

13. Rodent and Slug Bait

Designed to attract the taste buds of rodents, these poisons will also appeal to dogs, and other pets, and must be mindfully placed. Most of them are designed to stop the blood from clotting, leading rodents to bleed to death, but the same can happen to your precious pets.

Slug baits contain metaldehyde and are highly toxic to dogs and other pets. Symptoms to look out for include drooling, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, panting, seizures, elevated heart rate and unusual eye movement or blindness.

14. Animal Faeces

Why dogs eat poo is another story. But they do – it is typical dog behaviour, and what this writer’s veterinarian would call disgusting. But apart from the obvious risk of exposure to bacteria, animal poo can contain intestinal worm eggs, which can survive for months to years. Keep your dog away from animal poo in your garden or on walks, as much as they may love to snack on it. Read Why We Should Worry About Worms for more information.

Consult this list of 14 common household hazards periodically. Remove or lock away anything that can prove harmful or even fatal to your precious pup. With a habit of vigilance, and a discerning eye, we can protect our pooches from potential peril, and ensure a full natural lifespan and quality of life. Read What a Dog Wants for tips on giving your dog a happier life.

Australian Animal Poisons Helpline  1300 869 738