Guest Blog by Derek Chambers, The Finchley Dog Walker.

Pet-proofing your home is one of the most important aspects of keeping your dog safe and healthy. Here we have listed some everyday, household items that could be poisonous if they come into contact with your pet, either through eating or drinking, inhaling or skin contamination.

Whilst adults are usually aware of any potentially lethal products in their homes, when it comes to pets, they are sometimes unaware of what is good or bad for them. Remember that some products that are harmless to humans can actually be poisonous to animals; think medicines, chocolate, xylitol, alcohol and various fruits and plants amongst other things too. It’s crucial that you are always alert and attentive if you have a pet around the home.

Dangerous products in the home

It’s without doubt that many homes contain items that may cause pet poisoning, but this doesn’t mean you have to go straight away and dispose of them all. Always follow the directions of use and make sure they are stored well out of the reach of children and pets.


Household cleaners – disinfectants, bleach, toilet cleaner and toilet blocks are all very dangerous to pets if ingested.

Medicines – both over the counter and prescription medicines are commonly picked up and swallowed by pets if they are dropped on the floor or left on worktops. These may result in kidney or liver failure in pets. Ibuprofen or paracetamol, even in small quantities can lead to swelling of the face, anaemia and severe ulcers. Psoriasis creams are extremely toxic due to the high levels of vitamin D which prove toxic to pets. Your dog may lick their owner’s skin with recently applied cream, or even chew the tube, which could result in hypercalcaemia, kidney and heart failure.

Cosmetic products – Hair dye, shampoo and conditioner, bath oil, perfumes and aftershave could all create an allergic reaction for your dog.


Most cleaning products will be distasteful and repulsive if your dog takes a lick, but any interestingly shaped bottle or bright coloured packaging may attract their attention as a play thing. Keep all your cleaning products well out of the reach of your pets.

Laundry detergents and soaps – most contain chemicals that will cause stomach upsets or salivation difficulties if eaten by your pet. Liquid laundry capsules are particularly appealing yet they contain concentrated chemicals.

Cleaning products – oven cleaners, dishwasher tablets and salt, metal polish and kettle descalers may cause untold medical problems if ingested. Follow the directions for use, and for disinfectants ensure areas as dried before pets have access.

Around the home

Other household items – Take  a careful look around your home and consider the effects if any of these items were to be swallowed by your dog. Batteries are particularly problematic if they are punctured or chewed, resulting in heavy metal poisoning, blockages if swallowed whole, chemical burns or choking.  If your dog chews or eats houseplants or flowers, seek veterinary help immediately as many are poisonous.

Pot Pourri and household fresheners – usually comprising dried leaves, bark and pine cones, which are easily picked up and chewed by an inquisitive dog. Be aware that they may cause a choking hazard or obstruction in the throat or stomach. Plug-in air-fresheners contain chemicals that could burn your dog’s throat if swallowed.

Cigarettes, E-cigarettes and Nicotine gums and patches – Easily eaten by your dog, but will result in vomiting, increased blood pressure and heart rate, and toxicity in the gut. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener found in most Nicotine gums (and peanut butter), toxic for dogs.

Puppies and dogs of all ages, discover and investigate with their mouths and we certainly don’t realise how strong-minded our pets are to eat the very things they shouldn’t. No matter how safety-aware you may be, your dog may become poisoned in your home, despite your greatest efforts to prevent it.

If you suspect that your pet has been poisoned, please seek veterinary advice immediately.

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