Household Hazards That Can Harm Your Dog

Having a dog is a little like having a small child. They get into mischief and eat
things they shouldn't. Unfortunately, some of these things can make them seriously
ill. Here are some common household hazards that can affect your dog.

Organophosphates (OP's)

These chemicals used to be incorporated in some of the older flea and tick rinses
but fortunately newer and safer alternatives are available these days. However some
of your garden insecticides still contain organophosphates. They are very effective at
controlling insects but are extremely toxic to your dog.

OP poisoning causes diarrhea and vomiting, with lethargy and trembling. You'll also notice your dog has very small pupils. Symptoms worsen and he can then develop seizures, paralysis, coma and death. It sounds horrific but treatment is possible and if you start it early enough, your dog should make a good recovery.


If you have rats and mice around your home, you may have put out baits to get rid of them. There are two types of rat baits, one contains an ingredient that stops your dog's blood coagulating, or clotting, and the other causes an increase in blood calcium which will affect the rhythm of his heart.

If your dog has eaten some of the anticoagulant baits, you may notice bruising on his skin, or blood in his urine or feces. He may also have very pale gums. Treatment is possible but if the bleeding is severe enough, he may need a blood transfusion.

The bait that affects your dog's blood calcium levels usually causes vomiting and bloody diarrhea. If he has eaten this type of bait, there is an antidote but the outcome isn't usually good.


You'll notice straight away if your dog has been eating mothballs, because you'll be able to smell them on his breath. The symptoms of poisoning are vague and not very specific - vomiting and depression - so your vet will need to run some blood tests to diagnose it. There is also no specific antidote, so your dog will just need to be supported by good veterinary care until he recovers.

Moldy Food

Dogs don't mind food that's a little stale but don't be tempted to give him moldy food. The most common species of mold that grows on food is called Aspergillus and it produces aflatoxin. This toxin causes liver damage, and your dog will vomit and have diarrhea and be very depressed. Some dogs have actually died from eating moldy food, so put it in the trash instead of into your dog's dinner bowl.


In colder parts of the country, antifreeze is essential in keeping your car working smoothly. However, if any leaks onto your driveway or garage floor, your dog will lap it up quick smart. Antifreeze is very sweet and tastes great to animals, but it causes kidney failure. Symptoms don't usually appear until there is severe damage to the kidneys, and recovery is unlikely.

It's important that you make sure your dog doesn't have access to any of these common household items. If he does, you may be faced with veterinary bills but even worse, the loss of your best friend.