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Keep Your Dogs Safe

It's often difficult to understand just how huge is the range of items that are, or may be, toxic to dogs. This includes a large number of garden plants and shrubs such as Azalea, Boxwood, Hydrangea, Laburnum, Philodendron, rhododendrons, and Oleander; the berries of Holly; the flowers of Narcissus, Periwinkle, Primrose, Peony, Foxglove, lilies, Autumn crocus, Amaryllis and many others; bulbs, especially those of Daffodil, Hyacinth, and Tulip; acorns, the leaves and stems of apple and cherry trees. They don't necessarily have to be eaten, just chewing on them can be enough. A full list of plants that are poisonous to dogs can be found here:

Picture of a poisonous mushroom.

And whilst we're in the garden one of the most dangerous things is cocoa mulch that is sold for layering on flower beds to keep down weeds. This is not only highly toxic to dogs and cats but is also very attractive to many of them.

Move indoors and many houseplants are highly toxic. These include Asparagus fern, Caladium, Colocasia, Dieffenbacher, chrysanthemums, and the Christmas favourite, Poinsettia. With cut flowers, lilies can be highly toxic [they are especially dangerous for cats but many dogs can be adversely affected, and they don't have to be eaten - their perfume is enough].

On to food, and chocolate [and all its derivatives, such as cocoa], is highly dangerous. Onions and garlic in anything but small amounts are also dangerous, as are grapes and their dried versions such as raisins and sultanas, which can cause renal failure. Apple pips come under the same heading. The stones of apricots, peaches, plums are also to be avoided, as is any part of the avocado, including the tree. Nuts such as Macadamias and Walnuts are dangerous, and products containing the sweetener Xylitol (used in diet products, chewing gum and confectionery) can cause loss of coordination, seizures and death. Green potatoes are highly toxic. Mushrooms as well as toadstools are dangerous. Yeast dough is also dangerous, so be careful when bread making.

Coffee, cola, and tea should not be given to dogs, as caffeine is toxic to them. Nor should they be given alcoholic drinks.

Drugs, including over-the-counter drugs, vitamin and mineral supplements, and tobacco should all be kept well out of reach of dogs, as should household cleaners, insecticides, garden sprays, paint thinner, nail varnish, fertilisers, battery acid, and, especially, anti-freeze, which is not only fatal to dogs but which they find very attractive. Citrus and pine oils are highly dangerous, as are mothballs, detergents and bleach.

Not all dogs are going to be affected, or severely affected, by some of these things but there's no way of knowing how your dog is going to be, so make sure anything potentially harmful is kept well out of the way.

For the ASPCA page on a poison safe home -

The Cornell University Poisonous Plants Informational Database -

Although it doesn't strictly come under the heading of toxins, plastic bags can kill your dog. Dogs have died from plastic bags they have found as litter when out and from trying at home to sneak crisps, biscuits, etc. from packages containing plastic bags. They push their muzzle into the bag and their breathing holds it firmly in place, preventing their taking any more breaths and they are unable to get the bag off and therefore suffocate. Make sure that ALL PLASTIC BAGS AND BOXES WITH BAG LINERS IN THEM (chips, snack crackers, cookies, cereal, etc.) are WAY out of your pets' reach!

Also a paper shredder can be extremely dangerous for dogs (and other animals and young children). Never, ever leave a paper shredder switched on or even plugged into the electricity supply when you are not actually using it. It only takes a little pressure to start it off and, for example, a lick with a tongue could all too easily end with a seriously injured - and possibly tongue-less or even dead - dog.


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