Common Household Dangers
By Melissa Magnuson, DVM
Question: My dog, Luigi, loves to eat things he is not supposed to. He is a professional at stealing food and I am not even sure how he does it! He has eaten brownies, Tostito’s (party bag!), tortillas and loaves of bread to name a few. Most of these things cause stomach upset but there are many “poisons” lurking in your house that you may not even be aware of! Here are a few to keep far away from your pets:
Gum, diabetic foods and toothpaste…these all contain xylitol that is extremely toxic to our pets. One stick of sugar free gum can kill a 75 pound dog! Anything that contains xylitol, including almost all sugar free gum, bakery foods for diabetics, toothpaste and some children’s medicines should be kept away from all pets. Be sure to read labels that have “sugar free” on them and make sure they do not contain xylitol and if they do, keep them far away from your pet. If your pet does ingest these, it is an emergency, seek medical attention right away.
Rat and mouse baits….one block and your pet may die. These are extremely dangerous and toxic. Keep them away from all your pets. If you are using them and mice die in your house, make sure your pets do not eat the dead mouse as they ingest the poison in the mouse. It is better to not use them at all. There are many alternative traps for mice issues.
Tylenol and Motrin…these cause liver and kidney failure in our pets. Never give your pet these and keep them far away so they cannot eat them. If you drop one on the floor, find it, even one can cause severe illness.
Chocolate…bakers chocolate is the most dangerous. It causes the heart to beat too fast and your pet can die. Milk chocolate is not as dangerous but depending on the volume your pet eats, it certainly could be.
Grapes and raisins…a few are fine but handfuls can be dangerous. Be careful not to use these as treats or allow access to your pets. Approximately 3 cups of grapes can cause the kidneys to fail in a large breed dog.
Silica packets….you know the little packets that come in shoe boxes and other merchandise that says “do not eat”, dogs love them! And if they eat them, they swell in the stomach and cause stomach obstructions.
Diapers and feminine products…for some reason, dog’s enjoy digging these out of the trash. They are extremely dangerous because like the silica packets, they swell and cause stomach obstructions.
If you are concerned something may be toxic to your pet be sure to always ask your veterinarian. Something very simple can end up causing your pet much distress and illness. Be sure to always ask and make sure your pet will be safe if they ingest something besides their food or treats.
About Melissa Magnuson, DVM
Dr. Melissa Magnuson is a native of southern Minnesota, where she grew up on a small pig and cattle farm. Ever since she can remember, she’s wanted to be a veterinarian and fulfill her lifelong passion of helping animals. With a degree in biology and philosophy from Hamline University in St. Paul, MN, she went on to work on a master’s degree at Southern Mississippi University. From there, she completed her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine at the University of Minnesota in 1998.
Her internship in small animal medicine, surgery, and emergency medicine brought her to the east coast. She has a special interest in surgery, emergency medicine, and avian and exotic animal care. Because she absolutely LOVES veterinary medicine, she never feels like she’s at work. She feels very lucky to have found her passion.
Dr. Magnuson is married to her best friend, Andy, with whom she has three beautiful daughters. Her pets include four dogs, three cats, a bird, a bearded dragon, and a guinea pig. In her spare time, she enjoys being with her family outdoors, biking, hiking, swimming, and reading.