Pet owners love their fur-babies, which makes it all the sadder if they poison them unintentionally, either by leaving toxic items in reach of their pet or by innocently feeding them a “treat.” Luckily, these are things you can learn to avoid! So take note – here are the top 10 causes of poisoning reported by veterinarians as of 2011:

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

10. Antifreeze

Unfortunately, antifreeze has a sweet taste that dogs find irresistible. Ethylene glycol is the active ingredient in the product (and the ingredient that’ll kill your pet). If you catch your animal drinking antifreeze, rush them to the vet – if isn’t treated in time, antifreeze consumption can cause kidney failure and death. Backyard mechanics should take particular care to clean up any fluids that spill (cats are also at risk since they’ll lick their paws after walking through a puddle of antifreeze).

Dog owners who use their RVs during the winter and who routinely pour antifreeze in their toilets to prevent freezing should keep the lid closed to prevent Rover drinking from his favorite punch bowl.

9. Household Plants

There are some plants that are non-toxic to dogs, but when Fido is craving a salad he doesn’t discriminate between good greenery and bad. Luckily the ASPCA has published an exhaustive list of both dangerous and safe plants to keep indoors and outside in your garden.

8. Grapes and Raisins

Veterinarians have not yet determined what exactly is the component in grapes and raisins that can lead to renal failure in dogs, but they do know that the seemingly harmless fruit can be deadly for certain dogs (danger factors include breed and weight), cats and ferrets. For the pets who are susceptible to grape poisoning, there is no safe dose, so be aware of feeding them treats like fruitcake or raisin cookies.

7. Onions

Every part of the onion is toxic to dogs (and cats). The innocent-looking vegetable contains an ingredient called thiosulphate, which can actually cause your pet’s red blood cells to burst. Onion powder is even more potent than the raw vegetable, so read the label before you offer your dog some jarred baby food, leftover Chinese food or spaghetti sauce.

6. Moldy Food

Most of us wouldn’t purposely offer Fido an ancient pork chop we found in the back of the fridge wrapped in foil, but that doesn’t mean he won’t dig it up himself out of the trash bin. Fungal neurotoxins can be life-threatening if not treated in time, so thorough wrap and double-wrap those fuzzy discards and make sure to dispose of them in a dog-proof garbage container.

Photo Credit: Instagram, @sflsy

5. Alcohol

Hopefully most pet owners know enough not to let Spike lap up some beer just for chuckles. Nevertheless, alcohol poisoning is an all-too-common problem encountered by emergency veterinarians. Pet owners have to keep in mind that their dog’s digestive system can find alcohol in the most unlikely places – rum-soaked fruitcake, mouthwash, aftershave, even in raw dough.

Photo Credit: Instagram, @petwinery

4. Caffeine

Caffeine is particularly dangerous to smaller dogs, and you don’t have to pour Maxwell House in your dog’s water bowl for him to suffer the effects. Again, keeping a tight lid on your wastebaskets and garbage bins is the best preventative – dogs have been known to munch on discarded tea bags and coffee grounds when nosing through the garbage.

3. Rodent Poison

Even if your dog doesn’t chow down on the traps you set for your household mouse/rat problem, he might ingest a rodent who has eaten the poisonous bait. The same ingredients that cause vermin to die via internal bleeding can harm your pet.

2. Chocolate

Chocolate not only contains caffeine, it also contains theobromine, a substance that is easily digested by humans with no ill effects but which metabolizes in dogs at a much slower rate. Theobromine is a stimulant and a diuretic, which means it can possibly cause congestive heart failure in a dog. Dark and semi-sweet chocolates contain more of the toxic ingredient, and, again, the dog’s tolerance depends upon its weight and body fat.

1. Human Medications

Common anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil and Aleve are often encased in a coating to help the user swallow them with ease. Unfortunately, some of these protective coatings are enticing to dogs, so they’ll eat them if they find them. If you drop one, make sure you find it, and if you’re one of those people who leaves pills by their bedside or on kitchen counters, take extra care. If you suspect your dog has ingested pills, bring the original container with you to the vet.


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